Jessica Likes a big mounted fish…

Especially the sail variety… the look of awe and reverence in the last panel gives away her passions… unless she had a spicy rigatoni last night, she is breathless in the face of such stuffed and mounted natural beauty…

content02182014

But the phrase “work on Injured birds” leaves me a little cold… Minister to, nurse back to health, heal, anything but “work on…” Having your bird hospital share space with the tools of the taxidermy trade seems a little off-putting, unless of course one figures that whatever doesn’t get saved gets stuffed and sold.  I guess that’s what Henry Ford would call “vertical Integration,” like when he purchased rubber plantations on a distant continent so he could ensure the supply of rubber for the tires that went on his Model T…

Oh! so you are THAT Mark Trail…

And apparently you have hands made of asbestos or some other heat shielding material…  as Mark grabs the Ol’ #8 cast iron skillet by the bare handle…

content02172014

Jessica:  Mark Trail, impervious to time and space, has been writing stories since before you were a gleam in your father’s eye…  and will continue to do so as you pass into old age and beyond.  Anyone rooted in the trailverse does not age.  All casual characters come and go like regular folks- even do prison time when appropriate… right, Jeff?  right, Jared?  Have you met anyone interesting in stir??

Just a man and his dog…

Well, Mark, enjoying a cup-o-Joe, head resting in your free hand, talking to your faithful companion Andy, who listens to your every word with heartbreaking loyalty…  “Spoil his little island”  what a funny phrase…  Mark seems almost miffed by the idea…

content02152014

Meanwhile Marlin is putting finishing touches on… Oh My God, what IS that??  Looks like a fish, but it’s not anything that would look good hanging from a nail… We have yet to see anything that might be worth hiding from the outside world… but I need to be patient.  All will be revealed in the fullness of time.  We are barely into this story, I just need to let it unfold…

Andy looks Surprised!!

But what is he surprised about??  The fact that Marling does not like them, or the fact that Mark actually picked up on subtle, non-verbal cues???

content02142014

Nice that Mark’s “equipment included a full size AX…  good lord, where were you hiding that, Trail??  Never mind that you should probably hop on down to the farm and fleet and pick yourself up a propane stove and a canister or two…  that way you won’t be leaving the ugly fire scars everywhere you “camp…”

And shouldn’t you birds be a-roosting by now?  Don’t you normally take your cues from the sunlight, or lack thereof?  Something is certainly amiss on this island…  I could draw upon a LOST reference, but I will resist the temptation…

Do you know who you are talking to???

I mean, Mark Trail WROTE THE BOOK (or at least a number of articles) on respecting and preserving nature… And Marlin, what has given you the impression that Mark wants to HURT anything?  This is so stupid.

content02132014

In the second Panel we see that Mark has a few inches of height on Marlin, and it also appears that he has filled his chest cavity with air so as to appear larger than life.  This is the natural response of any number of species when confronted by a threat- puff up and out and make yourself appear large and scary…

Strangers in the night…

…exchanging glances…  well, Marlin, you might be a great taxidermist (or not?) but you are a lousy spook.  That is unless you wanted to be found out.  While Mark is trying out his infrared / night-vision camera gear, Good Ol’ Andy detects the presence of an interloper and the gig is up!!  And then the two men engage in small talk… “This is a nice spot for it!” Marlin offers nervously/ excitedly…  Anything to drag the story line out…

content02122014

Once more the stilted quality of the dialogue is revealed in the inaccurate bolding of words…  should not it be “What are you DOING, Trail?” as compared to “WHAT are you doing, Trail?”  I swear these guys don’t listen to their own dialogue before it goes into the can and onto the printed page…  by the way, that’s a great look on Mark’s face in panel two.  A neutral treatment of the lip-line gives away- what? Who knows.  I just don’t remember ever seeing Mark with this level of emotional non-commitment.  Or may we have, whenever Rusty and Cherry are around…

Yes, now would be a good time to take pictures…

At Zero-Dark-thirty??  Seriously?  And it looks more like Old Mr. Raccoon is busy adding to his rock collection, not searching for food.  Although it’s safe to say that he’s doing that or maybe looking to hook up with Miss Raccoon…

content02112014

But with Marlin lurking in Rhododendron, what are we to think?  Making sure that Mark is exhibiting all the behaviors of a nature writer/ photographer?  And what are those exactly?  Impeccable grammar?  Go Good?   Go well?  Go big or go home??

Who’s talking?

Does God have a speaking role in the Trailverse?  And does the Heavenly Host play the supporting cast?  The words seem to be coming out of the clouds, and the second balloon has more than one callout…  And PRIVACY… yes, Mark, that’s what they want and now are not getting by virtue of your presence… duh.

content02102014

I am beginning to get seriously concerned about Andy’s tongue…  Is it that he can’t keep it in his head?  And Mark, I certainly hope that you will be cleaning up after yourself, scarring the earth with your campfire, not to mention the giant dog’s potential leave-behinds…  An inauspicious start to the week, that’s for sure.  Would have been better suited to a throwaway Saturday strip…

oh, she’s a baaaaaaad girl…

Forget everything I might have implied about not displaying any outward signs of evil…  Squinty eyes tell lies… every time!!  Better wrap up your conversation, Jessica.  As Mr. Wood Duck (Common Grebe?) looks on in panel two, Mark is heading toward you and might hear…  obtuse, nosy, clueless, trusting, imposing, thy name is Trail…

content02082014

Sure, Mr. Trail, stay awhile, we wouldn’t want you to suspect that there is anything to HIDE here…

Yeah, man, like he could be the FUZZ, man…

We are reminded again that it’s Mark obtuse nature and inability to empathize with his fellow human being that places him in the middle of things…  I mean, if he had picked up the phone and called Jessica Canupp, asked for permission to visit, this story would have been over before it started…  Yet here he is.  Little did Eddie the Dock guy know that Jessica and Marlin are UP TO NO GOOD!!  I mean how else could they afford to keep up the ante bellum mansion in the shadows behind them in panel one?  Trust fund?  Maybe, but my money is on Marlin trafficking heroin inside his stuffed creations…

content02072014

The crazy thing is that Marlin and Jessica don’t fit the profile of bad people- no facial hair, no unprovoked belligerence, they form full sentences and seem to adhere to all manner of social propriety and decorum…  But there’s Mark, picking up his “equipment” and moving right in.  If there was ever a guy who couldn’t pick up on a subtle sign or hint, it’s him!