Sure… follow the bird…

…that makes all kinds of sense…

I am so glad that we learned of “Abbey’s” identity.  I’d still be scratching my head.

I will say, though, that Mr. Allen’s propensity toward drawing the female figure continues to delight, I’m sure.  Recall, dear readers, an unpublished strip, back from the Great Dismal Swamp Adventure, showing Cherry and and a very flummoxed Mark

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And in time honored Mark Trail fashion, Abbey talks aloud, alone, to no one in particular in the second panel.  Has sort of a Ferris Bueller quality to it, as if looking into the camera and speaking to her public…

I can see now that Mark Trail is adding some new, recurring characters…  nice touch.

The clouds part and the answers are revealed…

Thanks to Michael Leddy who set me straight with a comment yesterday!  Great Sleuthing!  Mark would be proud!!  Turns out James Allen is active on the Social Media and helping us navigate his story lines, since they certainly can’t navigate themselves!

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So now that we know that this Abbey is our Abbey, we can stop scratching our heads for a moment or two…  but seriously- who could have known that a bikini-hard body lay beneath her government-issued khakis…  Well, this is the James Allen Era, so why not?

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Oh take us, little bird, to our prize- a couple of skeletons locked in mortal embrace, with wedding bands still around their left ring fingers…  Why is it I assume that H&D are dead?  I don’t know, wishful thinking?  The fact that we found a skeleton in the old bi-plane (for what turned out to be absolutely no reason) that appeared and disappeared over the course of the weeks…  Sorry to take you all back to the cave-venture, everyone…

As to why Abbey and Honey have the same color bikinis and hats, my only guess is that the colorizing happens off-shore with little supervision, and the team was just as confused as we were concerning who was on the beach, alone, with towel and flask…  and figured it still had to be Honey… who knows…

I don’t mean to be fussy…

…OK, maybe I do, but really?  In a medium that relies largely on visual recognition cues, it’s really important to maintain some semblance of consistency with how the characters are drawn…

Here we have three pictures of (I assume) Abbey (formerly known as Honey) and aside from the hat (with the changeable hat-band, apparently) we’d hardly know it was her…

Honey

 

I know, way too much time on my hands… I could be solving for world hunger and yet I am (mostly) content to drink coffee and criticize this comic strip… Does it ever get old? Surprisingly no, but I must say that I was more than likely to be “in” on the joke and laughing “with” the author in the old days… Now I am prone to actually criticize…

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But back to the story…and more research- the Nihoa Finch.  Looking at the picture, it would seem that this particular Nihoa Finch flew through a bleach bath, with none of its typical color palette showing… It does appear to be critically endangered, though, so maybe that’s the angle- looking for new habitat… And what makes you think you aren’t on Nihoa Island??  Perhaps in judging by the pictures, in real life it looks quite rocky and formidable- not sandy, lush and inviting…

So we are still left to wonder what became of “Darling…” Maybe Abbey is like the Black Widow Spider- kills her mate after making love…

And we know that this is the same person…

…because of the green bikini, not because the rendering is familiar.  We ran into this during our cave “adventure…” If you are not Mark or Cherry Trail, you might find yourself drawn any number of ways, many of which can be unrecognizable.

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So now we know that Honey’s name is ‘Abbey,’ with an ‘ey,’ which we also experienced during the “Wally and The Beavers” story line… the USDA Agent Abbey Powell, who introduced us all to the concept of parasitoids…  could this be the same person?  Well, she would have had to shed her khakis and glasses and grown and dyed her hair, so probably not…

But really, campers, can’t you just feel the impending doom here?  no way this goes well for (who we know now is) Abbey and her love (whom we have not seen since she ravaged him on the beach…)  but fear not, we shall know all certainly by the end of this month.  I mean, that’s only a couple of weeks away…

All right… what did you do with him??

With no sign of Darling, we have to wonder what happened to him!!  It’s just odd that Honey would be there alone, resplendent in her string bikini, remarking on the geography of the area and crabbing about birds chirping…

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A deserted island, in the “normal” sense of the word means that it is devoid of human life, not nature itself…  and anyone who has just been to the conservation congress would know that, unless Darling is the wealthy eco-warrior and Honey has merely tagged along for the “ride…”

Meanwhile, back on the tiny island…

Honey is exposing her alabaster skin to the tropical sun… good thing she has sunscreen.  At least I assume that’s what’s in the bottle next to her.  Might be flask of whiskey…    And it looks like she did bring a blanket with her- white as the sand.

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But where the heck is Darling??  Did he swell up and die after being bit?  Recovering from their “From Here to Eternity” scene?

And what the heck is the “International Union for Conservation of Nature?”  And why do they need to stage a “World Conservation Congress??” And wouldn’t “World Congress” do just fine?  Wouldn’t we assume that they were going to talk about “Conservation?”   Well, what do you know… it’s a real thing… but those in the know are more apt to call it the IUCN World Conservation Congress…  and looks like it will be held in Hawaii September, 2016.  But here’s a news flash- flying everyone to Hawaii, not mention tooling around in that giant boat aren’t exactly the most sustainable activities one might imagine…

And a bit more about the IUCN and the Congress… it’s held every four years, not two (I know… picky, picky…) but the choice to have it in Hawaii in 2016 was probably not a difficult one, as the selection committee had to also consider a bid from Turkey… hmmm… Hawaii, Turkey, Hawaii, Turkey…  Tropical Paradise vs a growing center of unrest…

Ha! Called it!

Hawaii it is, then… but let’s get something straight here…  Shouldn’t Mark be ‘Darling,’ and Cherry ‘Honey?’  And Mark, you might smile when you announce that you are taking Cherry to Hawaii… Cherry will have to get time off from the Big Lots store, or wherever she spends her days and nights while Mark is away…

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Really, I think the kiss would have said it all.  Unfortunately Cherry is ruining what might be a perfectly wonderful kiss by talking her way through it, but hey, to each their own!

Invest in our relationship?

News for you, Mark- one rarely announces one’s intentions related to relationship investment, one simply does

And again, Mark, what work??  Mark’s idea of “work” still sits wide of the common understanding that most of us carry around with us…  Not suggesting that there aren’t many ways to earn a paycheck, it’s just that the measure of his output (writing) seems rather sparse.  I can’t remember the last article he produced.  His editor stopped calling him once he realized that every assignment would end with mountains of paperwork and  insurance claims… usually tied to exploding boats

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Dollars to donuts, though, they are heading to Hawaii to find the remains of Honey and Darling, who apparently were also “investing in their relationship…”  which will lead to all kinds of adventure, no doubt.  And what of Rusty and Andy?  Oh, not to worry, “Doc” will be there, as always, to pick up where Mark falls down as a parent… or at least let’s hope that Mark’s idea of investing in his relationship with Cherry doesn’t include bringing his adopted son along…  “Hey Mark, want to go fishing?”  Ugh…

Those names!

I can’t even bear to hear those names without flinching…  I won’t even type them, as I feel like I have spent a lifetime with them already…  No, not Mark and Cherry… you know, the other two that inspired loathing from the very first time we met them…  Not sure what makes a character sympathetic, but those two certainly didn’t have it!

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Awww… isn’t that nice.  Mama Puma (or Mountain Lion, Cougar, Panther, Catamount) and her kitten sure are cute!  But where are the others in the litter?  Don’t they usually have more than one?  Careful Mark and Cherry- don’t get between her and her family!  Otherwise you won’t get to go home to yours!

OK, what’s next?  It’s a synch that Mark won’t be writing a piece on “White Nose Syndrome,” so what our next move here??

Blue Highlights?

And Mark, you dog, you cad, you didn’t even notice… that Cherry had changed her hair!  It used to be red!  That has to be the last straw- she goes to the trouble of getting “Mark Trail Blue” highlights and you completely miss it!  Not to mention Rusty- There must’ve bee a two-fer at Wal*Mart on Lady Clairol Ultra Blue, since Rusty seemed to get the same treatment!

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I have a terrible sense of Déjà vu, though- of the clip art variety… all these shots of Lost Forest, Mark and Cherry, right down to the condescending thumb on her chin, have been “drawn” before…  except for that that grin on Mark’s face…  Maybe I’ve never noticed it, but it has a certain wolfish quality to it, the way the the corner of his mouth curls up… Watch out Cherry?  or not… oh, let’s not think about what Mark and Cherry do off camera…