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Comics

Warner Bros. Reboots Snagglepuss As A Gay Playwright Being Hunted By The U.S. Government

Heavens to Murgatroyd! Warner Bros., which owns the entire Hanna-Barbera libary, is rebooting the late-1950s character Snagglepuss as “a gay Southern Gothic playwright.”

The eight-page story will debut this March in the Suicide Squad/Banana Splits Annual #1, before turning into a regular DC series this fall. “I envision him like a tragic Tennessee Williams figure,” writer Marc Russell told HiLoBrow.com. “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.”

The sexual orientation was never affirmed in the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, but Russell, who has also done an updated take on The Flintstones for DC Comics, is making Snagglepuss’ sexuality a key part of the story, in which the pink mountain lion is dragged before the Communist-hunting House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). He’s accused of being a pinko, get it?

“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,” Russell said. “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.”

Here’s a page from the comic, with artwork of Snagglepuss and Augie Doggie by Howard Porter. Steve Buccellato is the colorist and Dave Sharpe does lettering.

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Russell said that he pitched the comic “half as a joke,” and “they kinda called my bluff, and now I’ve gotta write a Snagglepuss comic.” The announcement has not gone without notice, and has already generated fan art:

Drawing critiques:

Criticism:

And commentary:

But the best reaction might be from Snagglepuss himself:
snagglepuss

  • Abdullah Zubair

    I don’t get why they don’t create new characters for such sorts of social equality..I mean, this used to be one of my most favourite hanna Barbera characters and I never pictured him being gay..and I would very much want him to stay as he was..The great thing about the original cartoons were that no matter your origin, your color, your race, your sexuality or your nationality..you all could enjoy these toons equally and that took some really effort and dedication to do..Sadly, some of these new artists don’t have that sort of mindset and think that every art should give out a politically correct message

    • neptune432

      It’s not the sexuality, origin, color, etc. of a character that stops you from enjoying the story though.

      • Abdullah Zubair

        It does when you make it a point that you are changing it..and make the story revolve around the change. If it was just a change, have them say it in one of the comic panels but not on the cover whole story and even the artist’s interviews

        • neptune432

          That’s true, but you made it sound like people couldn’t enjoy a cartoon because of things like a character’s origin.

          • Abdullah Zubair

            I can’t really enjoy a comic about African Americans fighting for their justice because I’m not an African American and I don’t live in America..I can’t really enjoy a comic about gay people fighting for their rights to marriage and social acceptance when I don’t have anything to do with the subject. It’s not about what the character is but more about what they do with it. Even though I haven’t read the comic yet, but I know everytime I would try to enjoy it there will be a panel saying “Hey! Did u know this character is gay now..??” At least 2 on each page

          • neptune432

            You don’t have to be involved with the subject to enjoy a story about it. As long as you can sympathize, that’s all you need. Most of us aren’t like the characters in the stories we read, but that won’t stop us from liking them. If you do relate to them then it’s even better, but it’s not required.

          • Tremors

            If they are going to stray so far from the source material and turn it into a political/sjw screed then just use a new character instead of bastardizing an existing one. By using an existing character and changing it so much, regardless of what the change is you’re sure to alienate part of your audience.

          • neptune432

            I’m not saying that this reboot is a great idea, just that it’s not qualities like sexuality or ethnicity that stop you from enjoying or relating to a character.

          • neptune432

            It’s better if you can relate to a character, but you don’t you can still sympathize with them. Most of us aren’t like the characters we read in stories, especially in comics, but it doesn’t stop us from liking them anyways. And how can you get by in life without sympathizing with people who aren’t like you, anyways?

          • Abdullah Zubair

            You have the news for that my friend.. and serious political comics…why ruin a perfectly good funny comic..??

          • neptune432

            I’m pretty sure this comic is trying to be a funny and political comic, the same way The Flintstones was.

  • white vader

    Man if that’s Augie, how old does Doggie Daddy look?! :D

  • Lazer-Lion

    I am really looking forward to reading this comic, but the art critiques are spot on. I think they should of done a warmer, softer style.

    And considering McCarthy toadie and closted-gay man Roy Cohn’s history, I hope he pops up in the comic with his homophobia intact, maybe as a foil to SP?

    • Barrett

      That’s really my oly problem with the idea. The art just looks horrifying. It’s not like the artist *can’t* draw, more like they chose to do some kind of “uncanny valley in pencils” approach which makes NO sense. The twitter post included above where someone did a draw-over nails it. A semi-realistic “furry” type version of these characters is fine, especially if you are doing some sort of serious social criticism story. But damn, Augie Doggie alone looks like he’s been run through a David Lynch filter – damn horrifying.

  • Inkan1969

    Hmm. I know that there at least was one HB cartoon with Snagglepuss trying to woo a female mountain lion.

  • Tony

    This sounds like a Robot Chicken skit, except not only would it be funnier, but it would also be truer to the original. The dialogue is too straight and doesn’t match Snagglepuss’ distinct speech patterns.

    • Andrew KIeswetter

      Not a single ‘even’ at the end of his voice balloons!

  • Boy, oh boy, wait too you see the others:

    And in the backup feature starring Top Cat, breaking out of prison is challenging enough for an anthropomorphic cat, but what happens when it means stumbling through a cosmic portal to planet Earth, right into the hands of Batman?

    “Harley Quinn”’s Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti put a new twist on an old twist about our future in THE JETSONS! The Jetsons live in a world of robotics and gadgetry. But how does dying change when grandma’s brain can be digitally imprinted onto a housecleaning robot?

    Iconic writer Howard Chaykin puts a modern spin on one of Hanna-Barbera’s earliest animated animal teams! Ruff and Reddy were once the toast of nightclubs, variety shows late night chat fests and Broadway. Learn how they became the comedic duo of yesterday… Before they hit rock bottom today!

    http://www.cbr.com/dcs-heroes-to-crossover-with-hanna-barbera-in-march-annuals/

    The Ruff and Reddy one is my favorite. Plus Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines is coming. It seems Warners is trying to do something with the vast library they own (Scooby-Doo Team Up is pretty cute). I don’t know what’s going to happen when they get their hands on Avery..

    • The problem is Warner Bros. still has no clue or respect to the classic characters of Hanna-Barbera, which irks me. I can understand creating new content to keep the characters relevant, but I’m not feeling these directions they’re doing with the characters. Can’t say Warner Bros. is doin’ a great job with the Looney Tunes either. It’s like they forgot what their brand is or something (and probably why Disney continues to do very well with Mickey and the new content).

    • jhalpernkitcat

      You forgot to mention the one about The Banana Splits joining the Suicide Squad… What the heck?

    • hernandez2014

      I, too, also wonder what plans Warners/DC have in store for the likes of Droopy, Red, the Wolf, and Screwy Squirrel. But first and foremost, Avery’s repertoire needs a Blu-ray release ASAP.

  • They need a furry artist on this comic, stat!

    • Netko

      I’m glad they didn’t hire a furry artist. I really don’t want someone who draws animal characters just to make them look sexy, for a certain subculture at least. I’d much prefer someone who draws them because animals with human characteristics are interesting without dragging furry aesthetics into the mix.

      That said, the unfocused crystal eyes in this style are really what makes it so terrifying.

      • Mouse bites

        I dont know man, I think a furry artist would do this comic more justice. The hyper realistic art style is atrocious!

  • Axolotl

    I want to know more about those pigeons.

    • Netko

      Yes, like why isn’t the pigeon’s fourth finger pointing backwards? It looks so unbalanced. Has the artist really never paid attention to how pigeon feet look? Or is there more to its story?

      • Axolotl

        Space pigeons, hiding in plain sight! That’s the real menace…The whole HUAC thing was just a………..RED HERRING!

  • Rae

    he looks like a badly made fursuit

  • Dino Manalang

    Exit Stage-Left? More like exit, wing left!

    Ok I’ll go now.

  • Too Many Cooks

    The Flinstones is my favorite ongoing comic series, so I’m definitely looking forward to this. I can’t say I’m too keen on the art, but what’re ya gonna do?

  • Capital_7

    As a concept this might work, in the right hands. This artwork is hideous, and the sample pages are without humor or charm of any kind. Another home run by DC with the HB line.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    This whole thing sounds like a joke,an April Fools prank even!

  • jhalpernkitcat

    This feels like a joke–all the Hanna Barbara comic based stories coming out feel like really bad jokes/fanfiction. The Green Lantern/ Space Ghost and Adam Strange/Johnny Quest ones seem pretty cool–but the other ideas are so weird.
    I know a lot of people think Snagglepuss is gay just because of his voice mannerisms, string tie and cuff links and pink fur, but I never did. His voice was actually based off of Bert Lahr. Also, that art style is so weird.

  • Netko

    What is the point of rebooting a cartoony funny animal character into…this? These characters simply don’t fit a realistic style. I looked at the Flintstones reboot as well and it’s just awkward to see the typical Flintstones gags with realistic characters.

  • James

    I am so buying this, it sounds like the funniest thing ever. Snagglepuss as a gay gothic playwright, comic genius. The only thing funnier would be a comic book that combines Suicide Squad and The Banana Splits.

  • BlueBoomPony

    “n which the pink mountain lion is dragged before the Communist-hunting House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC)”

    Never knew Snagglepuss was a Russian hacker.

  • Scott Malkinson

    If you are going to stray THIS far from the source material, why bother using these characters at all? Fans of the original will become totally alienated and most potential buyers will be casual readers not familiar with the old cartoon. So you might as well just create an entirely original series altogether.

  • StephaneDumas

    I wonder if they got that idea from the Simpsons episode “Behind the laughter” where Huckleberry Hound tell he’s gay?
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nyZs3EJgx8Q