And by “camping out” you mean?…

And by “equipment” you mean?  Such are the loaded words of our intrepid hero.  But I probably overthink this…

Let’s study the profile of one Jessica Canupp (that’s one n and two p’s, please…)  She is right out of the Mark Trail clip art library.  Raven hair, long lashes, the look of a Hollywood matinee idol, but with khakis on and a heart of infinite capacity when it comes to the outdoors and wildlife.  Probably a trust fund baby with virtually unlimited resources…

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So far Marlin hasn’t had much of a speaking part.  He keeps being talked about and referred to as if he wasn’t standing right there…  Yet everyone knows him as “Marlin the Taxidermist.”  Remember, his name is Ethan Fauscett; I wonder if he even remembers that?

The Mark Trail Elevator Speech

No doubt delivered many times over his career, this is the line that gets him into the club every time…  no velvet rope/ bouncer issues for Mark Trail!  I am an outdoor writer and photographer… Really?  Do you have credentials?  Or do I just take your word for it? How do I know you aren’t under-cover something or other, here to violate one of my constitutional rights??

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Check out the expression on Jessica Canupp’s face- it’s not saying “Thank you!” but rather, “Thank you… I think??”  As in, “For real?  What’s this guy’s angle… really…”  Ever notice how each line of dialogue is followed by and exclamation point?  To the point that we really don’t even notice??  What if that was the way life really is…  no pauses, no ellipses, just urgency.  I would think that everyone would be tired all the time…

One Poacher Sent Packing…

Well, I guess the guy with the spear was no more than a plot device allowing Marlin and Jessica to get to know Mark Trail before he properly introduces himself… Which he does straight away- without so much as being asked.  “My name is Mark Trail,” he offers, unsolicited… Almost as if he has a string to pull out of his back with a limited numbers of lines that recycle throughout the day…

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Boyfriend, huh?  Well, Marlin, you are in good company.  Mark knows all about the “boyfriend thing…”  just don’t make the mistake he did and hang around long enough to end up with a ring on your finger and a stray boy in your charge…  Marlin’s brow does seem to be a bit knitted… his hackles are up , not realizing that Mark is no threat to him or his girl…

And Andy, what’s with your tongue??  Better reel that back in before a snapping turtle takes a shine to it…

I think Mark and Marlin were separated at birth… either that or they go to the same barber…

Not so tough without that spear in your hand, are you? Huh? Huh??

And isn’t that cute?  Jessica calls her boyfriend by his nickname…  Marlin.  Better than “Buck” or “Walleye,” I suppose.  Of course these people wouldn’t know of the Wiley Walleye, not in the semi-brackish waters of the Intercoastal Waterway…

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As Mark reels in his catch and gives him a good tongue-lashing, the mystery mounts on the dock at Jessica Canupp’s place…  “Who is that guy,” they wonder out loud.  Who is that guy who can grab a poacher with such force as to make his hat fly right off his head?!?  “A day like any other day,” thinks Buddy the Poacher, “But on this day, the Wrath of the Nature Writer scorned comes raining down upon me…”  Or something like that…

one strip = blink of an eye

I continue to see where the story line is jumping through space time hoops… following the flight of the turtle spear, and Mark’s Neo-like Matrix maneuver, entire sentences are uttered and people allowed to witness agape at what is going down on the water!  And just who is this saucy dish looking on?  Why no doubt it’s Jessica Canupp… and judging by the hulking silhouette on the dock next to her in panel three, we can probably rest easy in the notion that the turtle poacher is NOT boyfriend “Marlin.”  Whew…

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OK, Mark, grab the rope and give it a good tug!  That poacher is no match for your daring-do powered by goodness and light!!  But I repeat, that poacher must have really been on a hair trigger to be going for the jugular on first brush… I mean they barely got three sentences out…