Well, what do you know…

We do get to see what Gabe and Carina are talking about… and wonder of wonders, they are talking about their own imminent deaths!  C’mon, guys…? Seriously?  You are going go where the Trail goes?  At your own risk of course…  And what is Gabe  doing with his hands in panel one?  is he wringing them?  Or is that his left hand about to unfurl a dramatic gesture? (for which he has become known…)


I really feel for Carina.  She doesn’t get rendered the same way twice. Constantly shape shifting from ‘hot’ to ‘not’… Definitely ‘not’ today.  Her left eye seems to be wandering a bit…

OK Kids, in you go.  Meanwhile, it looks like we’ll all have to hold our collective breath ’til Monday to find out what happened to Mark!!

I’d love to be a fly on the wall…

…to hear what Gabe and Carina are saying…  uncomfortable silence, perhaps?  Gabe declaring his undying affection for Carina?  His hopes and dreams, all shot?  No chance to be the keynote speaker at the next White-nosed Bat symposium?  Carina standing there, hearing Gabe as only Charlie Brown heard his teacher carp at him?


How ironic, though, that the last frame, fraction of a frame, is all dark… which is probably what we should have been seeing for the last 4 months as our crew stumbled through the cave without any lamps or lanterns to guide them… But Mark?  Done for?? Oh say it isn’t so!  There must be a pocket of air somewhere!  Or use your magic fish breathing gill powers!  Or maybe find a fish and do mouth-to-mouth… ok, ewww…  Whatever.  Let’s get this over with, shall we??


While Mark uses up what little oxygen he has left, let’s consider dates…

Today is 6-16-16.  Not quite as momentous as 1-1-01, 2-2-02, 3-3-03… on up to 12-12-12, but it will have to do, since we won’t have another “pure run”  until 1-1-2101, which is 85 years from now… and who knows who will be steering the ship of Trail-state at that point… whether we will still have things like comics… All I know is that I’d be 140 years old, which is highly unlikely.  My kids would be centenarians, which, who knows, may be commonplace for that generation…  We might actually find a fountain of youth and other planets with vast resources over which to claim dominion.

I remember being in New York City on 8-8-88 (that would be in the 20th century, boys and girls… which certainly ages me…) but no clue what I was doing on 9-9-99, although Google tells me that it was a Thursday which probably means I was on an airplane heading home after a week of selling consulting services.


So, however you are spending your days (remaining or otherwise) on earth, please remember that they are limited.  Time is something we don’t get to replace…  it is a non-renewable resource, and the amount which we are given is not known.  Live, Love, and never look back.  Make today and the rest of your days better than all that have gone before.

Yea… if you just go limp…

…you’ll get spat out at some point- lifeless and useless, but you’ll be found.


And, oh, by the way, it was Gabe who mentioned the Current, not Carina, but hey, who’s keeping track anyway??

Prediction:  Mark gets sucked through the aforementioned and anticipated “hole,” pops to the surface, takes a great big breath, looks around and sees that he’s in the middle of a large village…  The villagers all look at him as the second coming of the conquistadors, bearing promises and smallpox, and kill him on the spot…

Still talking, I see…

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the existential Mark… I yam what I yam…  “If I go to my watery grave, well, then, you will no longer have me to look to… or to blame for that matter…” he seems to be saying…


So, as Gabe boards the “faith train” (faith in what exactly?  a good to great outcome??)  he tries to bring Mark back from the cliffs of insanity


No, staying here is CERTAINLY not the answer, nor is staying here looking at your insipid faces an option either!  Especially that Carina… God knows when she’ll flick her tongue at me again!!

So… last we heard, James Allen was going to get us out of this subterranean paradise and on to something a bit more interesting…  I guess we’ll have to wait until Mark drowns himself (or not…)

Oh just get in the water already…

I’m sure that there’s plenty of “natural”light to guide the way, and zero chance of anything going badly… Mark’s brand of “faith,” driven by, among other things, the fact that we is perpetually 33 years old, should provide plenty of cover when it comes to a perilous situation like this…


And Carina, Mark is not going to “Wait” any more than you obeyed his request, the maneuver that sent you down the face of the waterfall…  But what Mark really needs is Batman’s utility belt!  There he would find an underwater breathing apparatus- the “Re-breather” along with a long cable with a hook  on the end that could be used to maroon himself under water…

And we’re back… and talking about a hole…

Sorry Campers,  I was away a couple of days… the suspense of not knowing how little progress was being made was about driving me crazy!


Well, I see now that almost no progress has been made, other than to conjure up a few hackneyed expressions while applying some stilted dialogue…  Yea, Mark, what IF the hole is only a foot in diameter, huh? Huh??


I am nigh on speechless here…  this is where the plot leads us?  To a hole in a wall that can’t be seen but must be there because the flowing, rushing water is not filling up the cave?  Sort of like a Black Hole in Space that cannot be seen but we know is there because of its effect on visible things around it?

Go for it, Mark… you are probably right.  There’s nothing else to be done at this point…


Oh… now there’s an idea!

Carina really has a death wish doesn’t she?  Let’s go underwater, see the hole in the wall where the water is escaping, (how, pray tell, with no light…) swim into it (underwater) and see where it goes, all with the current, which will make it impossible to return from whence we came when it’s clear that this move leads nowhere…


But remember!  Mark, “Full of faith” and “This strip is named for me” and “I’m James Allen’s meal-ticket” Trail hasn’t lost hope here…  and Carina I guess is rising to the bait.  So stay there, Gabe, molder and rot and become cave-food while Mark and Carina fulfill their destiny!

Metaphor, anyone??

Yes, the water has run into a wall- a “dead end” as Gabe would put it…  sort of like this story line.  But remember kids, it’s always darkest right before the dawn… (is it, really?)

“It’s always darkest before the dawn” is like asking “How far can you run into the woods?” The answer is “half way”, because then you are no longer running into the woods (you’re running out). It is always darkest before the dawn, because the first moment it begins to get brighter, is by definition, the beginning of dawn (though it may be several hours before full daylight). Unfortunately, the aphorism doesn’t tell us how dark it will be before things turn around.


So let’s hope (or not) that this is not the literal end of the line… otherwise the water is going to fill up the cave and everyone drowns… or maybe that is the end.  Quick cut to Cherry, “I wonder why Mark hasn’t called… it’s not like him” (at least under the Allen Regime…)

A shout-out to James Allen



And a shout out to faithful reader Terry who just offered, through comments, a link to a letter by Mr. Allen himself, in response to a Letter to the Editor of The Washington Post:

“You may have seen this already (letter to the editor of the Washington Post by James Allen, but if not, then here it is:”

…be sure to follow the link to the original letter that lambastes the current state of the strip, especially the story line…

But bravo, Jim.  I know I spend every morning with coffee in hand looking for ways to “comment” on what I refer to as “The Trailverse,” or “the Verse” for short… And I have, on balance, been fairly negative of late, with the extremely long journey to the center of the earth…  But I think I also understand how difficult it is to keep this kind of thing moving along…  I guess we wouldn’t be shouting out if we didn’t deep down care for Mark Trail and what you bring…  keep swinging- you’ll find your groove…