Hanna-Barbera and DC’s comic book line is done fucking around with subtext, innuendo, and the implications of a lisped Bert Lahr impression: Snagglepuss is gay, and he’s hitting Broadway. That’s the upshot of a new HiLoBrow interview with Mark Russell, the guy who’s also behind DC’s subversive, critically acclaimed Flintstones comic book series. In the interview, Russell—recently off DC’s equally beloved Prez—revealed his next project once he wraps up his 12 issues on Flintstones: A Snagglepuss comic in which the exit-stage-lefting mountain lion is an explicitly gay Tennessee Williams homage.
“I envision him like a tragic Tennessee Williams figure,” Russell said. “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.” Russell also noted that he’s already working on an eight-page special with his take on the character, in which he’s dragged in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee by Senator Joe McCarthy.
“Snagglepuss is gay” is one of those ground-level jokes that people have been making since the character’s creation in 1959. (See the 2008 SNL sketch about marriage equality with Bobby Moynihan above.) But it’s rarely been covered with quite this much nuance; according to Russell, the story he’s working on is about the closeted mountain lion “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.”