As Pride month comes to an end I thought it would be the perfect time to review Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles. The comic is a six issue mini-series written by Mark Russell. It is also apart of the Hanna-Barbera line of comics that DC Comics is publishing.
This line takes Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the 1960s and creates new versions of characters to make them relevant for today. Snagglepuss is a great example of how a new version of a character is relevant today.
This mini-series tells the story of Snagglepuss a famous playwright at the height of his prime during the 1950s. He has everything money, a wife, and the entire world loves his plays. But he has a big secret, he’s gay. His marriage is only for the cameras, and he has a boyfriend he meets in secret.
If that isn’t enough he also is smack in the middle of the beginning of the cold war. Where the government is looking for communists, blacklisting celebrities, and try to make everyone in America believe in lies that the world is not in crisis. And if Snagglepuss does not play ball with the government they will out him and ruin his life.
Plot Points In Exit Stage Left
This series touches a lot on the struggles that still face the LGBTQ+ community today. The fears of what will happen when we reveal our true selves, the fake faces that many of us have to put on for the public, and the struggle of having to hide who you love.
This story actually adds a bit of gay history as well with a slight focus on the Stonewall Riots in the 1960s. The story moved this event to the 1950s to fit in with the plot of the story. Creating one of the saddest scenes in the comic. There is so much packed into this series that is relatable to the LGBTQ+ that truly make this series shine.
In this comic as well there are events that occur in-between or in the background of panels. Since this is set at the beginning of the Cold War, there are mentions of major events that occurred in this time period. When re-reading the series, I looked up some of the names mentioned and found out that these were real people and these events actually occurred. Even though the series was based in a reality of Animals and humans living together, Mark Russell was able to make this world feel very real.
There is one problem I have with this comic book. I bought this mini-series issue by issue and with that came an extra story at the end. It was called Sasquatch Detective. I believe it was a terrible idea to add to this comic. Snagglepuss is very mature and this detective comic is so goofy that it feels odd to have at the end of every issue. I’m not sure if DC Comics added this for comic relief or try out a new character, but it was bad.
Snagglepuss In Exit Stage Left
Credit: Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1; DC Comics Publishers
In the end, this series is an interesting and wonderful take on Snagglepuss. It makes this cartoon character more realistic rather than a slightly flamboyant mountain lion. I would like to tell you also that you don’t need to know too much about Snagglepuss and his pals. All you need to know is that they were cartoon characters in the 1960s and that’s it.
The art in this series is done so well and done in a more realistic fashion than the cartoon. This style helped a lot to make this series more mature. Also, the physical copy of this comic was and still is very hard to find after the first issue. Many stores I went to either sold out quickly or did not order enough. I recommend you purchase the book in trade paperback.
Which is coming out in August or you could buy the single issues digitally. Reading the book together rather than month to month makes the story more powerful. Having themes of the LGBTQ+, the government, real-world events, and making it all relevant today makes this comic stand out from the rest.
If you would like to find more LGBTQ+ recommendations try this article.