DC Comics has done some amazing things with some unlikely properties in the past year. Their teamup with Hanna-Barbera has produced some surprisingly awesome stories, from Elmer Fudd meeting Batman to Martian Manhunter going toe to toe with Marvin the Martian.
But it was Mark Russell’s The Flintstones that shocked comic readers with just how poignant, deep and complex it was. Russell took a universally known, goofy cartoon family and turned them into a platform for some of the most biting social commentary found anywhere in the past year. Flintstones tackled everything from gay marriage to consumerism to religion, all rendered in a beautiful style by Steve Pugh you’d never associate with Bedrock.
Today, in an interview with Hollywood Reporter, Russell revealed his next project: a six-issue miniseries titled Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles. The eccentric Snagglepuss, best known for exclaiming things like "Heavens to Murgatroyd!" and "Exit, stage left," will be given a bit more gravitas in Russell’s reboot, as you’d expect after his Flintstones series. In the series, Snagglepuss is a closeted gay playwright from America’s deep south in 1953.
While he is obviously taking the character in new directions, Russell said it’s not his intent to completely ignore the Snagglepuss’s roots — and appreciates it when people trust him with the character. "It’s such a relief when they understand that you’re not trying to assassinate this character, or that they trust you to be respectful yet original and satirical with the character at the same time. It’s a really delicate thing to pull off, and I’m really happy that people, so far, seem to be trusting me with that responsibility."
Russell said putting forth some heavy philosophy in the form of a gay, pink lion in a comic book is not where he thought his life would take him, but he revels in it. "The fact that it’s a pink lion, or a caveman, gives me the license to say all these things and people don’t really take it that personally. It’s hard to get offended at something a big pink lion is saying and not feel silly about yourself."