Comic Review - Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles

In 2016, a comic book initiative called Hanna-Barbera Beyond was launched. This was an attempt to have DC Comics take several properties from the animation studio Hanna-Barbera and give them a more mature update. I’ll admit that I’m not an expert on Hanna-Barbera. I’m a fan of a lot of Scooby-Doo content, I’ve seen a little of The Jetsons & The Flintstones, but not much else. I know of a few other characters either due to word of mouth or because they made cameos in something I watched. Otherwise, I’m not super familiar with everything Hanna-Barbera has had a hand in.

That same lack of familiarity extends to this comic book initiative. I have not read most of the titles that were a part of Hanna-Barbera Beyond. However, I did find myself interested in checking out the limited series focused on Snagglepuss. This was one of those characters I never watched myself but I knew of his existence. An anthropomorphic pink-colored Puma, Snagglepuss is shown to enjoy the finer things in life, particularly theater. Many have theorized that the portrayal and mannerisms of Snagglepuss indicate he is a gay character. This idea is the main focus of this limited series, which won a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Comic Book. Now, let’s take a look at the story itself. This is Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles.

Our story takes place in 1950s America, the beginning of the Cold War and at the height of McCarthyism. The United States and the Soviet Union are now locked in a culture war, trying to prove that their way of life is superior. But for every boast they have for themselves, the other points out their flaws.

Within this culture war, the US is having a sort of culture civil war. The House Un-American Activities Committee is trying to find Communists and other subversives as they believe to be fighting for the soul of the country. Or at the very least, that is the belief of Gigi Allen who was recently brought in and is spearheading the charge by targeting Snagglepuss. One of the big themes of this book is the discussion of how the culture of a country defines its people. In the case of the United States, there are many people who criticize and demonize those in the entertainment industry because they have the freedom to create art they perceive to be filth and corrupting others. The argument from the other side is that a country that gives people the freedom to create such art is a country worth fighting for and preserving. But those who are against this kind of art are convinced that these people need to be taken out of the picture. Pay attention to the last quote from this below screenshot.


People like Gigi view subversive art and culture as something that encourages people to destroy those in power. They want to be able to control it and have them stick to specific messages and ideas so that, from their perspective, they can protect their country and the values they believe their country stands for. But to control entertainment in this fashion is to control what people think and believe in, sometimes going against their true selves. This book makes a powerful argument about why entertainment is important to any country.

It’s common for people to believe that something bad going on in one country could never happen in their country. If there is one thing I believe my country, the USA, should have learned from the last few years is that nothing should be taken for granted. It takes diligence to make sure the freedoms and rights of the people are protected because you never know how close you are to losing them until it’s almost too late. If you get that much warning at all.


While a country’s culture is a big theme in the book, it also has direct connections to the LGBT+ community and this kind of persecution can affect their lives. We see that clearly in the life of Snagglepuss. Admittedly, he is as out of the closet as he can get without outright saying it or being public about it. He is publicly married to a woman, but she is well aware that their marriage is a sham. Normally, most stories would have her be bitter and angry at Snagglepuss because of this. But the book makes clear they are still dear friends and she even wants to be a part of the life he hides from the public. Unfortunately, that’s difficult for Snagglepuss to do since he is forced to tip-toe a line between his two lives. This also affects his secret relationship with his lover because he still manages to keep him at a distance emotionally. Despite being involved in two relationships that require intimacy, Snagglepuss feels isolated because he is still holding onto fear of what might happen if he goes too far.

Snagglepuss is living his life half-full. Never satisfied because he must restrain embracing his full self. The consequences for doing so can be dire and severe, even fatal. The lives of these people can be ruined when pulled into the spotlight and they are forced to face the hate that people throw at them. When this happens to Huckleberry Hound in the book, he ends up taking his own life. Already emotionally wrecked because his wife forced him to leave their family when she found out, but being publicly outed in this fashion destroyed him. All as part of a ploy for people like Gigi to advance their own moral agenda. Not too dissimilar from how I see some people in real life talk about certain groups of people with such distaste, even looking forward to seeing those people be killed in certain cases. When you become a fanatic who stops seeing others as people who are equally deserving to be heard as your equals or even people, that’s when you should realize that you are doing way more harm than good.

In the end, this comic is trying to teach us what it means to be human. To be yourself despite what other people are trying to get you to do. Figuring out how to deal with a tough world without losing yourself to Nihilism. Of reaching out and connecting to others. Some like Huckleberry Hound struggled to do that, trying his best but being crushed by a world that he felt didn’t want him around.


Others are able to find some way of marching forward, of trying to find a way to pull themselves up. Snagglepuss has had his fair share of struggles. But it’s when you recognize everything good and bad within yourself that suddenly you dare to live freely.

I’m truly surprised and impressed with this book. It feels complex and nuanced. It can be harsh but also gives you hope for better things down the line. Looking at the current state of the world, especially the United States, this comic feels just as relevant as ever. For better and for worse. It’s a comic about the nature and purposes of stories, about dealing with the complex and harsh nature of life itself, and the clash between the nature of people and those wanting to control the masses. I lack the sophistication to wrap this up myself, so I’ll let Snagglepuss do that for me.


This comic is easily one of my favorite comic books DC has put out. I actually got excited when I saw this thread lol. I think you nailed why this book works so well. I also think the book is a reminder of how much we have progressed as a society at least here in the West, while there are still major issues to deal with (and there are a lot) at least society is becoming more accepting as time goes on and many more can live freely.