Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles (DC Comics)
The latest in their Hannah-Barbera revamps, Exit Stage Left: the Snagglepuss Chronicles has already started kicking up controversy. Taking place in the 1950s, the new series reimagines the pink cartoon cat as a gay southern playwright who must navigate the conservative aspects of the times. As one of the major literary stars of his time, there are a lot of eyes on Snagglepuss, but amazingly his secret remains. Until the government, in full on “Red Scare” mode, starts looking into the entertainment industry and finds pictures of Snagglepuss entering gay bars. Can he keep his secret and his career in tact?
Despite taking place in the 1950’s, Exit Stage Left definitely has a lot of modern themes in its pages. From a worry over Russian involvement in American politics to fear of the government hunting people with alternative lifestyles, writer Mark Russell fills Exit with some really powerful and meaningful themes, much more than I was anticipating if I’m being honest. I had no expectations when I started reading this comic, but I got to admit, this is a pretty ballsy book for DC to be publishing now, and it’s pretty cool of them to do it.
Mike Feehan handles the art on this series, and it’s pretty solid. His pseudo-realistic take on Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound are a little jarring at first, but it works well for the story and Russell are telling. Feehan even has some fun with the art, allowing some pretty hilarious sight gags whenever we see Snagglepuss’ play being acted out.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Exit Stage Left, but I was pretty impressed by this first issue. It’s certainly one of the most unique comics that DC has put out in the past few years, and stands to be one of the better books in their Hannah-Barbera imprint. If you’re looking for a historical fiction comic that stars a gay cat, or even something a little different from your typical superhero fare, then Exit Stage Left is definitely the book for you.