Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #4 – Mike Russell, Brandee Stillwell, Writers; Mike Feehan, Penciller; Sean Parsons, Inker; Gus Vasquez, Backup Artist; Paul Mounts, Ross Campbell, Colorists
Ray – 8/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
As Mark Russell’s reinvention of classic gay-coded Hanna-Barbera character Snagglepuss enters its second half with Snagglepuss Chronicles #4, this is a series with a lot on its mind as it takes on some of the ugliest moments in Twentieth Century history. Picking up in the middle of the Cold War, when nuclear annihilation was a constant possibility and kids were comforted with vague promises that they could survive the bomb by hiding in the right place, the issue opens with villain Gigi Allen engaging in propaganda to get America’s schoolchildren on her side. This character is more interesting than I expected, given that she’s very clearly a pawn of bigger forces spearheading her crusade. And her overbearing approach to proving herself loyal takes on a new light when it’s revealed that she’s gay – shades of Roy Cohn?
However, Snagglepuss is the star of this issue, as his complex relationships with both Huckleberry Hound, his boyfriend, and his “wife” (who is completely in on his secret) come to the fore. This issue does a great job of detailing the complexity of the closet, as his boyfriend pushes Snagglepuss to make him a bigger part of his life. Meanwhile, Huckleberry Hound – burned hard by his past attempt to lead a double life – retreats into the comfort of the Stonewall, having a secret relationship with a policeman. This converges in tragic fashion when the Stonewall enters history, as Snagglepuss makes a fateful decision that spares him – for now, and Huckleberry learns just how short-lived safety can be. It’s surprisingly powerful for a comic about talking animals. The backup, as usual, is the issue’s weak point. I’m still not sure what the point of Sasquatch Detective is, except that her ex-boyfriend is an animal control officer who tries to shoot her, and she’s really bad at her job?
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.