The mind behind ‘The Flintstones’ returns to Hanna-Barbera’s characters with a look at our favorite funny animal.  Of course, things have gotten a bit more serious…  Your Major Spoilers review of Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 awaits!


Writer: Mark Russell
Penciler: Mike Feehan
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Editor: Marie Javins
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles: “It’s 1953.  While the United States is locked in a nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union, the gay Southern playwright known as Snagglepuss is the toast of Broadway.  But success has made him a target.  As he plans for his next hit play, Snagglepuss becomes the focus of the House Committee on Un-American Activities.  And when powerful forces align to purge show business of its most subversive voices, no one is safe!”


The time is June, 1953.  Snagglepuss is the toast of Broadway, his latest play closing while still a hit, and unlike most witnesses called before the House Unamerican Activities Commission, his career is still afloat.  I have to say, though, this is a really strange reading experience for me.  Using real-world characters (Dorothy Parker appears as an old friend/idol of Snag’s, blacklisted playwright Lillian Hellman appears both as a HUAC witness and as a friend who warns Snagglepuss about complacency while refusing to name him as a past associate) and situations, this issue is presented as a straightforward drama.  Snag’s boyfriend Pablo tells him a brutal tale about escaping from Batista’s Cuba, and we seven see the climactic scene of his much-lauded Broadway outing and it’s… something.  All the characters, human and otherwise are drawn in a strangely true-to-life but stiff way, reminding me of woodcuts in a way, while the tendency of the cartoon animals to not wear pants is maintained to almost terrifying effect…


As this issue ends, the spectre of HUAC is once again about to fall across our hero playwright’s life, and it’s truly disturbing to contemplate.  Huckleberry Hound appears as a supporting character, but neither he nor Snag truly have their characteristic speech patterns in these pages, instead of speaking like the proverbial regular folks, which I’m not sure I love.  This isn’t the campy mess that some seemed to hope it would be, instead, it feels like a documentary that, were some of the characters not drawn as pink lions, might be shown on cable.  Mike Feehan’s art is a mixed bag for me, featuring super-detailed faces and expressions but stiff figures throughout, leading to some dissonance for me as a reader.  Moreover, as someone who remembers who good Russell’s ‘Flintstones’ was and how timely it felt, I had hoped for more of that kind of drama in these pages, but didn’t quite find this single issues as engaging…


In short, I’m not disappointed by this issue, but Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 has a lot of heavy lifting to do to get the time, the place and the unique makeup of the characters across, causing some dissonance unintentionally and some by design, but is still interesting enough to earn 3 out of 5 stars overall.  There’s a lot that can be mined from the Cold War setting and the HUAC themes, though, and I have enough faith in Russell to stick it out for at least another couple of issues before giving up the cartoon ghost…



The story has potential, but lacks focus as yet, and the art is (intentionally?) unnerving, but I'm still interested in seeing where this goes...

User Rating: 3.43 ( 2 votes)

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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