Snagglepuss Rebooted As Gay Southern Playwright in DC Comics

DC Comics is making subtext textual with its upcoming comic book series about Hanna-Barbera's classic cartoon character Snagglepuss.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, written by Mark Russell with art by Mike Feehan, presents Snagglepuss as a gay Southern playwright in the style of Tennessee Williams.

The Snagglepuss reboot was announced in early 2017, shortly after DC Comics announced an entire line of rebooted and re-imagined Hanna-Barbera properties, including titles like Scooby Apocalypse and Russell's own Flintstones series. Like Flintstones and Russell's other DC Comics series Prez, Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles will be a satire of modern society.

"It just kind of happened by accident," Russell recalls in an interview with Heat Vision. "I was just tweeting funny lines I thought Snagglepuss would say if he was Tennessee Williams — some kind of Southern Gothic playwright — and Marie Javins, my editor, thought they were funny and she talked to Dan [Didio, DC co-publisher] about turning that into a comic. That's how it started. It was really just funny tweets, and it just ballooned from there.

"The way I write him, he's kind of an avant-garde figure for the times — people kind of expect him to say things that are edgy, and witty. In a way, he's allowed to breach subjects and say things in 1953 in New York that other people simply could not."

Snagglepuss #1

Setting the story in 1953 allows Russell to use Snagglepuss to explore themes from an interesting perspective that will hopefully still resonate with modern readers.

"Snagglepuss in this story is having to live a double life as a gay playwright living in New York, and he's closeted," Russell explains. "But he has values and integrity as an artist, and he's trying to stand up for people who otherwise would be shoved under the stairs in this time of great national paranoia in the Red Scare mentality. It's very easy in a time of national catastrophe — of perceived national catastrophe — to throw people under the sink and forget about them, and Snagglepuss is unwilling to let them do that to people he knows and loves. He's willing to stand up for people when the rest of the country is not."

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 goes on sale in January 2018.