Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1
Writer: Mark Russell
Pencilist: Mike Feehan
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Paul Mounts
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Publisher: DC Comics
Review by Greg Brothers
Way back in 2017, I was told about this amazing book that Mark Russell was writing called The Flintstones. I was skeptical of what exactly I would be getting from a book about a modern stone-age family. Then I read it and was truly amazed by what Russell had done with the franchise. So, when I heard a few months ago that Snagglepuss would be getting his own series, I knew I had to check it out.
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 introduces us to Snagglepuss as he is at the top of his career. His hit Broadway play is coming to an end. He and his wife Lila Lion are soaking up all the attention the play has received, and everyone wants to know what is coming next. Thing couldn’t be better–except for the fact that his public persona is a lie. The reality is that he has hidden away his private life: his real relationship, with his boyfriend Pablo.
While things are at their peak for Snagglepuss, there is movement behind the scenes that may have an impact on his life. The House of Representatives of the United States is in the middle of their Un-American Activities Committee inquiries. Several people have been brought forward to answer questions about their communist or subversive behaviors. The Rosenbergs have been convicted and are scheduled to be executed.
Russell weaves a story that hooks you from the first panel with the glitz and the glamour of the entertainment industry. And, this has all come about from a Mississippi kit who has made it big. Not only does Russell tell a story about the play that has allowed him to hit it big, but he also tells us of Pablo’s story of escaping the violence and bigotry of his home country. All of it together weaves an intriguing story. While Russell is setting up Snagglepuss’s perfect life, he continues to lay breadcrumbs throughout the issue that allude to more unpleasant times in the future. Those breadcrumbs are where we find much of the commentary about society and politics. There is a lot going on here, and in the hands of a less experienced writer it could have easily gone off the rails at some point. But, in Russell’s hands, nothing feels unnecessary. Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 is put together in a way that makes you want to follow each part to see how they are going to come together at some point.
Feehan does an excellent job building anthropomorphic characters that fit in perfectly with their surroundings. The panels are stacked in a way that lends itself to a traditional style but doesn’t feel dated. While most of the gutters are a standard white, several of the pages include gutters that are filled with backgrounds of the panels that bleed behind. One unique take is how Feehan has the flashback panels outlined with blue. The colors in general are bright and inviting. The details built into the panels add to those breadcrumbs that are laid out in the dialogue.
Buy it! Exit Stage Left: The Chronicles of Snagglepuss #1 continues Russell’s string of hits based on unlikely sources. The book is engaging and entertaining while creating a critique on American society both past and present. By the end you are emotionally invested in Snagglepuss and his story, while also questioning the practices that may lead to his exposure.