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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

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Snake Plissken Chronicles: Garden State The Snake Plissken Chronicles
"Garden State"
Snake Plissken Chronicles #1 (CrossGen)
Writer: William O'Neill
Pencils: Tone Rodriguez
Inks: Digital Chameleon
Colors: Chris Blythe
Letters: Dreamer Design and Robin Spehar
Cover C: Travis Smith
June 2003

 

Snake travels down the Garden State Parkway to Atlantic City to meet some accomplices for a new heist.

 

Story Summary

 

Snake heads down the Garden State Parkway towards Atlantic City, but is intercepted by a biker gang trying to exact a toll from him. He kills them without too much trouble.

Arriving in Atlantic City, he heads to the Snake Pit bar and meets up with an old accomplice, Marrs, for a prearranged plot to steal the 1961 Lincoln Continental that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in in 1963, on display at the Dead President's Casino. But Marrs double-crosses Snake and puts him, bound, into a crab cage which he drops deep into the ocean.

 

CONTINUED IN SNAKE PLISSKEN CHRONICLES #2

 

Notes from the Snake Plissken Chronology

 

Page 1 of this issue opens with the caption "Early the next day..." implying that it is the day after Snake's escape from New York with the President in Escape from New York. However, the later comic book series called Escape from New York published by BOOM Studios, began with a story that picks up immediately after the events of the film, as Snake is walking away from the President as the Commander-in-Chief plays the wrong audio tape for the Hartford Summit and a hunt for Snake begins. That then leads into a series of storylines that follow immediately one after the other for 12 issues over a course of weeks in the timeline. So, the story presented here could not really be placed the day after Escape from New York in the chronology. I have decided to place it shortly after the events of Escape from New York #12 ("Dead Man's Switch") which ends a 12-issue run of consecutive stories and issue 13 picks up about 14 years later (in 2011), allowing us to fit it in our current storyline (as well as "Up and Running" from The Adventures of Snake Plissken one-shot). So, the "Early the next day..." caption allows us to say that it's the next day after the end of "Dead Man's Switch" (which works out nicely as both previous stories, Escape from New York and "Dead Man's Switch", end with Snake leaving New York, placing him in the correct locale for the adventure that begins in this issue).

 

Didja Know?

 

Snake Plissken Chronicles was a 4-issue comic book mini-series published by CrossGen in 2003. I borrowed the title of the series to use as the overall title of the Snake Plissken stories studied here on PopApostle.

 

The issues of this series do not have published individual titles assigned to them. I assigned the title "Garden State" to this issue because Snake runs into trouble throughout almost immediately after entering New Jersey, the Garden State (New Jersey's official nickname).

 

 

 

Characters appearing in this issue

 

Snake Plissken

Jersey Boy (nickname given to biker punk by Snake)

Marrs

Phobos

Deimos

 

Didja Notice?

 

Cover C of this issue, by Travis Smith, a sort of collage of images, shows Snake's face in the middle, framed by the same oval design that normally frames the face of George Washington on the U.S. one dollar bill. Below Snake's portrait are the words:  ...wrap him up in taffy-like dreams, was the Duke’s voice echoing from another world somewhere. "I heard you were dead." The words are from the novelization of Escape from New York by Mike McQuay.

 

The issue opens on the Garden State Parkway, near a highway sign stating "Sayreville 3.5 miles, Atlantic City 92 miles". The Garden State Parkway is Route 444, a toll way running the length of the state of New Jersey, north-south; Sayreville and Atlantic City are both along its route.

 

Page 1 reveals that the national government has long ago stopped looking after its interstate highways and local citizens must maintain the infrastructure.

 

Snake is depicted with a blue eye; actor Kurt Russell's eyes are, in fact, blue.

 

The punk Snake encounters on the parkway on page 3 has a partial logo visible on his t-shirt; it appears to be the logo of rock band Bon Jovi. The band originated in Sayreville.

 

In this issue, Snake drives what appears to be a military Humvee. Most likely it's stolen; he did not have such a vehicle in any previous adventure.

 

One of the bikers who goes after Snake on pages 4-6 is wearing a motorcycle helmet with twin rows of red-white-and-blue dots and stripes on it. It appears to be designed similarly to one of the helmets once worn by Evel Knievel (1938-2007), an American stunt performer who wore red, white, and blue costumes and performed spectacular stunts using motorcycles, cars, and even a steam powered rocket; the character of Suicide Gorchnik seen previously in "Escape to New York" appeared to have been loosely based on Knievel.

 

The large pistol Snake uses against the bikers is not one we've seen him use before; it seems likely it must also be stolen.

 

On page 6, "Sayreville" is misspelled as "Sayerville" on the exit sign.

 

As Snake approaches the toll booths on the parkway on page 7, the booth signs have "E-ZPass" crossed out on them so the signs say "Only Cash". E-ZPass is a toll agency that runs electronic toll collection services on toll roads in many U.S. states, including New Jersey.

 

As one of the bikers looks at the approaching Snake from the toll booth, he says, "Snake P...P...Plissken. I heard he was dead."

 

The Garden State Parkway emblem seen on the toll booth on page 8, panel 5, is the official GSP emblem.

 

The explosion of the toll booth on page 11 seems much larger than a simple grenade should create.

 

As Snake drives into Atlantic City, the logo seen on the sign on page 12, panel 3, is the logo of the Atlantic City Expressway, a 45-mile toll road from Turnersville to Atlantic City.

 

Snake meets with Marrs at a bar called the Snake Pit in Atlantic City. This appears to be a fictitious establishment.

 

According to the "Test Your Power of Pop Observation" article in Snake Plissken Chronicles #4, the man in the far right of panel 3 on page 13 is Tone Rodriguez, the book's artist.

 

Electronic signs for Rogue Ale, Moo-Head Beer, Rodriguez, and Dysart Brew are seen inside the Snake Pit. The Rogue Ale sign appears to be based on the logo of the real world Rogue Ales. Moo-Head Beer is likely a play on the real world Moosehead Lager. "Rodriguez" is an entirely fictitious beverage as far as I can tell, possibly named for the book's artist, Tone Rodriguez. According to the "Test Your Power of Pop Observation" article in Snake Plissken Chronicles #4, Dysart Brew was named for Joshua Dysart, a fellow writer at Hurricane Entertainment, owner of CrossGen.

 

When Snake and Marrs are reunited at the Snake Pit, Marrs jokes, "Son of a bitch. If it isn't Cobra McGillicutty. No, Viper O'Reilly? I know, Snake Plissken, that's it!" He also adds, "Where the hell you been? I thought you were, well...dead."

 

When Marrs tells Snake he thought he was dead, Snake responds, "No, just detained." The word "detained" here has a double-meaning in that it can mean both "delayed" and "in custody", both of which apply to Snake in his recent adventures.

 

Marrs' two criminal cohorts are twin brothers called Phobos and Deimos. Phobos and Deimos are also the names of the two moons of the planet Mars. The names Phobos and Deimos come from Greek mythology and were the twin brother gods of horror and terror.

 

Snake and Marrs have developed a plan to steal the 1961 Lincoln Continental that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in in 1963, on display at the Dead President's Casino. The actual car Kennedy was riding in when he was shot was that vehicle year, make, and model. The Dead President's Casino is fictitious. The vehicle has been on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan since 1978. The details about the vehicle itself given by Marrs on page 16 are accurate.

 

On page 17, Marrs tells Snake to stay out of trouble and Snake responds, "Just like in Cleveland?" Probably this was intended by the writer to be a reference to the Cleveland events later whispered about in Escape from L.A., but that story was later told in the BOOM Studios comic book series and took place much later, in 2011 (beginning in "Get the Hell Off My Lawn"). The fact that Snake chooses to go "home" to the Cleveland area in "Get the Hell Off My Lawn" suggests he may have been raised there, so he may have had many adventures there in the past, including one (or more) with Marrs.

 

On page 17, Marrs calls Snake "Asp Gillroy".

 

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