Pablo is an expat Cuban living in New York City when first seen in the Stonewall Inn awaiting the arrival of his secret lover Snagglepuss to celebrate the close of a successful run of the latter’s Broadway play “My Heart Is A Kennel Of Thieves”. Pablo, whose last name is unknown, fled Cuba after Fulgencio Batista seized power (a historical event which was backed by the United States in 1952). At first considered by Cubans to be a clown, Batista proved soon enough to be an authoritarian ruler and gay men became targets for harassment or murder by the government. Finding his lover Alberto murdered is the impetus for leaving Cuba. The choice to run creates underlying feelings of anger and guilt that begin to surface as the investigations of the House Un-American Activities Committee, or HUAC, intensify.
Snagglepuss’ maintenance of a public facade including a sham marriage to Lila Lion in order to retain his social standing and financial assets creates frustration for Pablo which leads to an argument between the two lovers at Pablo’s apartment after they’ve had sex. The tiny studio with cracked plaster walls and minimal furnishings is a stark contrast to the apartments of Snagglepuss and Lila. One might assume Pablo’s pride would prevent him from accepting money from Snagglepuss for a nicer studio. In any case, Pablo’s words weigh on Snagglepuss’ conscience to draw him into more of the playwright’s life outside of the Stonewall Inn and the apartment.
Matters for Snagglepuss dramatically change for the worse after his defiant speech during an appearance before HUAC in 1953. Flash forward to 1959. Snagglepuss sits at the Stonewall’s counter pouring his heart out to the bartender. A news program on the small television behind the bartender catches Snagglepuss’ attention. The announcer proclaims that Cuban dictator Batista has fled the country to avoid being captured by Fidel Castro’s army. To Snagglepuss’ dismay the camera pans to a close up of a soldier to reveal a proud and smiling Pablo.
Pablo’s idealism would have been crushed in the real world. Castro’s regime was responsible for all manner of horrific abuse of its LGBT citizens, including sentencing them to prison work camps.
Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles #1 is Pablo’s first appearance and the issue in which readers learn he’s gay.
Pablo created by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan. Art by Mike Feehan and Mark Morales
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