Exit, Stage Left!: The Snagglepuss Chronicles

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Exit, Stage Left!: The Snagglepuss Chronicles
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
ScheduleMonthly
FormatOngoing series
Publication date3, January 2018 - 6, June 2018
No. of issues6
Main character(s)Snagglepuss
Huckleberry Hound
Quick Draw McGraw
Creative team
Written byMark Russell [1]
Artist(s)Mike Feehan [1]

Exit, Stage Left!: The Snagglepuss Chronicles is a satirical comic book, published by DC Comics, reimagining the Hanna-Barbera cartoon character Snagglepuss as a gay playwright in the 1950s, victimized by the McCarthyism witch-hunts against Communist infiltration in the United States.[2][3][4]

Plot[edit]

Snagglepuss is a flamboyant gay playwright (based on Tennessee Williams), famous in-universe for his Broadway play "The Kennel is a Heart of Thieves." With the story taking place during the red-scare of the early 50's, it starts off with Snagglepuss being questioned by the House Un-American Activities Committee (CAA). Snagglepuss' work is criticized as being subversive to American ideals and he is accused of being communist and/or consorting with communists. His clever evasions and responses get him freed from their questioning. Snagglepuss is met outside the hearing by Augie Doggie, an aspiring writer. When Augie states that he wants to change the world with his writing, Snagglepuss tells him an anecdote about when he himself was a young and worked as a clown in theater. The theater caught fire, and when he tried to warn the audience, they assumed he was a part of the show and just laughed. Snagglepuss tells Augie that the world is on fire and that writers must do their part to warn people, even if it doesn't seem to have an effect. --- The next part begins with a couple at a diner running late for something. The audience is made to assume they're late for a viewing of SnagglePuss' play. The next pages show Snagglepuss and his wife (leading lady of the play) Lila Lion entering to the last showing of Snagglepuss' play, to much fanfare. After the show, Lila and Snaggle get into a limousine, with Lila being dropped off at their apartment and Snaggle requesting to be dropped off at the village. One there, he meets with his boyfriend Pablo at Stonewall, a gay bar that pays off the police to avoid being raided. While watching the news on CAA with Pablo, Snaggglepuss wants the TV turned off, but Pablo insists he should watch. Because Snagglepuss is a public figure, he might be targeted by this committee next. Pablo recounts when he lived in Cuba and it was taken over by Batista, which left many of his gay friends beaten or dead. Snaggle later meets with his friend Dorothy Parker, a fellow writer who was famous back in her hey-day, but has since been blacklisted by CAA. The couple from the beginning of the chapter is still late to see something. Huckleberry Hound (a novelist and childhood friend of Snagglepuss') arrives at Snagglepuss' house, and along with Lila, they go to a Guggenheim party, for New York socialites. There, Snaggle meets with Lillian Hellman who was recently harshly questioned by CAA and black-listed. The scene skips to CAA's introduction at a department meeting of their newest member Gigi Allen (loosely based on lawyer Roy Cohn). She claims that the organization must seek to control culture to neutralize the communist threat, and that starts with eliminating deviants and degenerates in Show business. We cut back to the late couple whose tickets are revealed to be to view the execution of Mrs. Rosenberg, one of the two Rosenberg's suspected of communist collusion. Cutting back to CAA, we learn that they intend to go after Snagglepuss to make the rest of those in show business fall into line. The next chapter starts with Gigi lecturing on why show business must be controlled to ensure the loyalty and safety of the american people. Meanwhile, Snagglepuss takes Augie to the theater to get him a job as a script boy. The stage manager agrees, but demands that Snaggle talk to an actor having an existential crisis about the motivations behind his role. Snagglepuss promises to introduce the actor to someone that will help him understand the character's motivation. Before this, however, Snaggle volunteers at a nursing home and talks with an old judge who hates theater. In the evening, he introduces the actor to Huckleberry Hound, and has Huckleberry recount his past. Huckleberry explains how he was kicked out of his home by his wife and a group of private investigators because he was caught having an affair with a man. Huckleberry is never allowed to come home again and now can't raise his son, Huckleberry Hound Jr. but he hopes to find a fresh start and love in the city, despite his misery. Lilian Hellman tells Snagglepuss that she's leaving for Paris since she's been blacklisted from the entertainment industry by CAA and can no longer work in America. Snagglepuss attends a meeting with Gigi and she wants him to write great plays for the CAA's cause and ideals; Snaggle refuses. We see the rehearsal of Snaggle's new play, "A Dog's Life," where the lead actor (now inspired by Huckleberry Hound's story) gives a rousing monologue on the miseries of life. Snaggle receives a note summoning him to another CAA hearing in the future.


Actors and Stars: Snaggle and Huckleberry are guests on a talkshow at the beginning of this chapter and explain to the host the differences between actors and television stars, namely, that actors are allowed to feel and have depth and be average, while television stars are meant to be two-dimensional heroes. Snaggle later has to deal with firing a young Clint Eastwood from his play because Clint is better suited to stardom, and he has to step in to defend his friend Arthur Miller (a writer) who's having an affair with Marilyn Monroe. Snaggle reluctantly agrees to help lie about the situation to Marilyn's boyfriend Joe Dimaggio, but swears angrily he will never do so again. After leaving, Snaggle meets up with Huckleberry Hound to introduce the man to the Stonewall inn, where Huckleberry regains hope and meets a nice horse police officer. Meanwhile at the bar, Pablo grows more infuriated with the situation in his home country and regrets running from it, and storms out of the bar. The next day, Snaggle visits the old judge in the retirement home, this time bringing Lila to meet him. The old man recounts how he hates theater because his son ran away to join the theater and his leaving ended up breaking his mother's heart. The judge blames his son for her death. At another Guggenheim party, Lila and Snaggle meet up with Huckleberry, who introduces his new boyfriend, the police horse from the night before. Huckleberry explained that being introduced to a place where he could belong and could find love has most likely saved his life. Snaggle then meets with Marilyn Monroe who explains that the star "Marilyn" is a mask she puts on for the public, who use "Marilyn" as an object of lust and contempt. It exhausts her and she's having an affair because Arthur Miller sees her as herself instead of "Marilyn." Snaggle understands and agrees not to tell of the affair. The chapter ends with the same conversation Snaggle and Huckleberry are having with a talkshow host on the differences between stars and actors. Snaggle explains that both are needed by the public, but for different reasons. A star gives the public a two-dimensional hero figure to root for, while an actor gives them someone human and flawed to relate to.


Doom Town: This chapter references a "Doom Town" a site where Hydrogen bombs would be tested. It starts with Gigi Allen planning to get some kind of leverage on Snagglepuss to force him to cooperate, and then going to explain to school children the purpose of her job and its necessity. She then visits a doom town and a government official in Nevada. The official explains pieces of game theory, set theory, and Russel's paradox to explain why America endorses ineffective nuclear bomb shelters. This connects to the theme of theater and its role in politics. At the rehearsal for Snagglepuss' new play "A Dog's Life" it becomes increasingly clear that the play is a thinly veiled retelling of Snagglepuss and Huckleberry's own past in Mississippi. The young gay men were childhood friends, but Snaggle left town so he could be authentically himself in the city, while Huckleberry chose to stay, which is what ultimately ruined his life. After the rehearsal, Snaggle returns home to Lila who explains that despite their marriage being a false one, she wants to be a part of Snaggle's life. He leaves to avoid the conversation. We cut to a scene of Huckleberry hound and his boyfriend, the police horse (Quickdraw McGraw). They have a sweet conversation about life, writing, police work, and their love for one another. Meanwhile, Snaggle fights with Pablo about Pablo being angry about their relationship being confined to a small part of Snaggle's life. And while he understands that their relationship must be kept secret for the sake of their lives, and Snaggle's career and reputation, he's still angry that their relationship has been confined to a box. Meanwhile, Gigi Allen confronts the police department about their oversight in regards to Stonewall. She threatens to expose their underhandedness if they don't conduct a raid. She hopes they find and publicly disgrace Snaggle during the raid. The police station rallies, ordering all officers to raid the bar, forcing Quickdraw to choose between his love and long-time career, reputation, and livelihood. Instead of taking Pablo to Stonewall like he had intended, he takes Pablo to his home to meet Lila. Both Lila and Pablo are overjoyed to be introduced to one another and included in these other parts of Snaggle's life. Meanwhile, the raid on Stonewall is brutal. Many men are captured and Quickdraw is forced to beat and shout slurs at Huckleberry for the sake of his career. Huckleberry is devastated. Gigi Allen goes home late at night after a hard day of work for CAA to, hypocritically, meet with and kiss her girlfriend (previously mentioned as her roommate). The next day, Snaggle gets the news that Huckleberry has been imprisoned and publicly disgraced in the papers for being caught and arrested at Stonewall. Huckleberry monologues about the pain of having his hopes so brutally squandered.

Reception[edit]

The comic book got a mostly positive reception from critics.[5][6][7] The series won a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Comic Book.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "EXIT STAGE LEFT: THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #1". DC. 16 October 2017. Retrieved 9 February 2019.
  2. ^ "The Snagglepuss Chronicles is the first great comic book of 2018". Vox.com. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  3. ^ Sava, Oliver. "Snagglepuss' secret life might destroy him in this Exit Stage Left exclusive". Avclub.com. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  4. ^ "DC's Gay Snagglepuss Is Now Officially Hanna-Barbera Canon". Cbr.com. 10 June 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  5. ^ "Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 Review". Denofgeek.com. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  6. ^ "'The Snagglepuss Chronicles' is the best thing you'll read all year. Seriously". Houstonchronicle.com. 30 August 2018. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  7. ^ "Best Shots Advance Review: EXIT STAGE LEFT - THE SNAGGLEPUSS CHRONICLES #1". Newsarama.com. Retrieved 15 October 2018.
  8. ^ Puc, Samantha (29 March 2019). "Syndicated Comics". Comicsbeat.com. Retrieved 30 March 2019.