We knew a new take on the beloved pink lion was coming ever since DC announced a series of Hanna-Barbera/DC superheroes mashup annuals late last year, which included backup stories based on The Jetsons, Snagglepuss, Ruff and Ready and Top Cat — but it seems at least one of the backup stories in those annuals will be getting its own ongoing series.
Speaking in a recent interview with HiLoBrow, writer Mark Russell — who currently pens the excellent Flintstones ongoing for DC — revealed that he will indeed be writing a new Snagglepuss book, one where Snagglepuss has seemingly turned his back on being on the stage, instead choosing to write for it:
RUSSELL: It's Snagglepuss sort of reinvented as a gay Southern Gothic playwright?
HILOBROW: [Laughs] He is, he is!!
RUSSELL: Yeah, it was not much of a stretch at all. I envision him like a tragic Tennessee Williams figure; Huckleberry Hound is sort of a William Faulkner guy, they're in New York in the 1950s, Marlon Brando shows up, Dorothy Parker, these socialites of New York from that era come and go. I'm looking forward to it; that's what I'll do after The Flintstones. [Russell's contract in the gravel pit is for 12 issues.] I'll go right from that into Snagglepuss.
Russell went on to say that the new take is inspired by past critical interpretations of the character as queer. The series — while not as social-critique minded as his work on Flintstones — will explore the gay subtext of working on Broadway in the middle of the 20th century while telling an intimate tale about the creative process:
Yeah, it's never discussed and it's obviously ignored in the cartoons 'cuz they were made at a time when you couldn't even acknowledge the existence of such a thing, but it's still so obvious; so it's natural to present it in a context where everybody knows, but it's still closeted. And dealing with the cultural scene of the 1950s, especially on Broadway, where everybody's gay, or is working with someone who's gay, but nobody can talk about it — and what it's like to have to try to create culture out of silence.
Honestly, it all sounds surprisingly heavy for a Snagglepuss comic — but if you'd told me a post-modern, social-issue-minded take on The Flintstones would be one of the best comics of 2016 when it was first announced, I wouldn't have believed you. If Mark Russell wants to write a gay Snagglepuss series, I'm all in to see where he takes it.