The Snagglepuss Chronicles is the first great comic book of 2018

last year, comic koran writer Mark Russell ruined my childhood — and I couldn ’ t have been happier .
Growing up, I watched The Flintstones every morning before going to school. They were an easy sell for me : I loved dinosaurs ( still do ), and wanted to live in Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Pebbles, and Bam Bam ’ mho world, where dinosaurs were part of everyday life. I even altered Fred ’ s “ yabba-dabba-doo ” to incorporate parts of my last mention, and would call it out .
This love kinship changed when Russell and artist Steve Pugh published The Flintstones comedian book in 2016, and gave the modern Stone Age family an experiential crisis .
Fred is now a war veteran and questioning his own worth in a civilization obsessed with consumerism. Wilma ’ s more complex besides, creating artwork ( handprints ) that embodies her tribe, her life, and her experiences. And informing all of it is the deplorable world of how life in Bedrock involves reducing living, breathing things to their purpose, like the sentient “ Bowling Ball ” and “ Vacuum Cleaner, ” who spend most of their lives in a dark closet.

The Flintstones was one of the smartest and best amusing books of 2016, and it maintained that quality through the remainder of its run, which ended in mid-2017. But the end of The Flintstones was not the goal of Russell ’ s committedness to delving into the hide depths of honest-to-god cartoon characters : Russell is back, this clock with artist Mike Feehan, with the amusing book I ’ m most looking forward to in 2018, Exit Stage Left : The Snagglepuss Chronicles .
In Russell and Feehan ’ s hands, Hanna-Barbera ’ s audacious pinko mountain lion is given new, Flintstonian shadow : This Snagglepuss is more fashionable, more fuchsia, more unapologetic than his original cartoon iteration. He ’ s a successful, adore dramatist, smooth and confident tied if the global around him is on fire. He ’ south besides brave, and populate as a closet homosexual batch leo in 1953 is awful .

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Yes, that combination of words might seem silly on the surface, but Russell has an preternatural ability to ground his narratives with a blue kind of dignity. The series, which mixes surrealism and diachronic fabrication, questions our understand of the McCarthy era, and whether we realize just how horrifying it was .
“ People don ’ metric ton consider what they ’ rhenium living in as dystopia because they don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate realize what the reality of other people ’ south lives are, ” Russell told me. “ I think [ Snagglepuss ] is fighting for the correct to create and the right to live an authentic life — and he ’ mho not fair fighting for himself. He ’ south fight for that right for everyone. ”
Snagglepuss lives half of his biography in secret because the House un-american Activities Committee has become drunkard with power, investigating and prosecuting anyone and everyone they deem insurgent. The Snagglepuss Chronicles subtly explores both the effects and causes of the insidious grip it held on our culture .
In one of the foremost issue ’ s memorable sequences, a fictionalized Dorothy Parker muses on nostalgia, and the potential danger it holds.

“ Why do you insist on confluence here, anyhow ? ” she asks Snagglepuss, who ’ mho asked to meet her at the Algonquin Hotel — the spot where all his literary heroes used to meet .
“ Nostalgia, I guess, ” he replies .
“ Look what nostalgia did to Lot ’ second wife, ” Parker snipes .
Parker ’ s biting words invoke our habit of glossing over the miserable of the generations that came before us in the name of nostalgic taste. They besides suggest that the carefree nature of the cartoon Snagglepuss was possibly just a facade, a glossing-over of the suffering that Russell ’ south iteration of the character brings to the surface .
Feehan ’ second brainy art imbues that suggestion with a puff of anxiety. He pays a frightful sum of contingent to emotions, evoking a flimsy menace behind the characters ’ broad eyes and forced smiles. There ’ second a malefic, gnawing humor to The Snagglepuss Chronicles that actively challenges the assumption that that could never happen in our worldly concern. It did. And it could happen again.

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With Snagglepuss, Russell and Feehan portray a bleary, terrific populace — but it ’ s not hopeless. Pulsing beneath the gloominess is a pronounce empathy, a focus on humans ’ capability to be brave enough to fight for what they love and who they are. Underneath his sardonic beat and fashionable words, empathy is what truly defines Snagglepuss — and it ’ s what he ’ ll need to survive .
Snagglepuss ’ randomness digest is equitable beginning. In the coming issues, he ’ ll be faced with an ineluctable choice between having to fight for what he believes in and the earth he loves, or living a liveliness of secrecy and fear. After being provoked and watching the HUAC attack his friends, it ’ s improbable that he ’ ll be able to live softly .
exit phase Left : The Snagglepuss Chronicles will be released on-line and in print on January 18 .

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