What, is that your special “I live in and understand Africa” hat??

As we continue to plumb the depths of the trophy hunter’s psyche, we are given a glimpse of the cross that this particular hunter has to bear…  And I see that it’s America we are talking about, (but by her appearance we could be talking Australia, Germany, England, The Netherlands,) where animals are killed (slaughtered) 24-7 to keep the grocery meat cases filled…  and this is after these animals are paraded through 4-H clubs and state fairs where they are judged on “beauty…”What we don’t understand, Ms. Hunter, is where you would derive satisfaction over killing for what appears to be killing’s sake, simply to demonstrate you ability to do so?  Not because you need to keep you family fed?  As man spreads his boundaries and encroaches on habitat, we assume that the animals either need to be killed or relocated…  boy… listen to me, a regular eco-activist.

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So if your living involves guiding and portering rich folk who feel entitled to kill because they have dominion over animals, you will of course value humans over animals…  especially the rich white ones with guns!

Well, that just about sums it up…

Not much left to tell on this story…

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The age-old conflict between the developed and the developing world…  and the need for hard currency.  Whether it’s big game, diamonds, rare earth minerals or anything else that the rich want, they come to Africa to get it… exploitation?  That’s in the eye of the beholder I suppose…  But I wonder what Ms. Hunter’s story is… what draws her to the rifle and not the camera…  I guess we’ll have to see this one play out…

I have been waiting to name this “category” until it was allowed to unfold a bit.  Now is the time… I shall call it, “The Lion Queen.”

What, are you a dentist from Minnesota?

And is the lion named “Cecil?”

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Should I repeat myself?  You take away the females, and the hunting party is gone!  Males lay about, waiting to get challenged by other males for the right (privilege) to mate with the females, thereby keeping the gene pool strong.  And it wasn’t just males killing cattle and villagers!  There was an intact pride going after the herd in previous days… has the “storytelling” already begun?  How much has Ms. Hunter (Ha!  Get it?  She’s a hunter…) paid to be guided out to where the lions are to take her one shot and be able to brag about the kill!?  How soon before she is vilified in the press about her taking of big game?  People back home are already squeamish about her decor- the elephant feet that serve as end-table bases in her drawing room…

Pleased to meet you, Ms. Hunter…

But wait, as usual, something seems a bit off here…  a couple of things, actually…

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First off, this kind gentleman, who is waiting for her to arrive, knows her itinerary, doesn’t know her name?  “Hunter… Ms. Lee Hunter!”  And second, when someone asks you how your flight was, how your day is going, how your weekend was, how you are feeling on a Monday morning back in the office, the last thing they want is an honest, protracted answer.  So to deflect the negative energy being thrown out in the third panel, our porter quickly references the car that is “waiting.”  Clever enough.

One could speculate about who this Ms. Hunter is, but I’ll bet dollars to donuts that she and Mark are about to cross paths and it will only be a matter of time that he announces, awkwardly and without solicitation, that he is a happily married man…

Ooooh… Blood!

Good thing we get to see this published in color every day, otherwise we wouldn’t have the benefit of seeing the pool of blood in panel one… But c’mon, guys… this can’t be your first rodeo, as they say… How do you go running out into the tall grass with nothing more than a torch and your nerve?

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It’s probably against the law to kill a lion, even one that is ravaging your “herd,”  so it certainly puts one at a disadvantage…

Perhaps these villagers/ tribesmen could learn a thing or two from The Mundari

Do I stutter?

Yes, the cattle… all two of them… are… are…. are….. GONE!

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OK, we’ll look over there…  and wait patiently to see what you are seeing, good sir.  The torch bearer, channeling the Statue of Liberty in the first panel, is left in the dust.  There is apparently enough “dusk” remaining to provide a view across the field.

It’s unlikely though that this Pride of Lions could have killed and dragged off the cattle in the time that it took the villagers to make it from their huts to the pasture… But then rules of time-space don’t seem to matter in this latest incarnation of Mark Trail…

I feel a plane trip coming on…

…otherwise why get to know these people or their struggles?

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I feel for the guy in panel one… it would appear that he has tripped over the sleeping dog (who should, by the way, be up and guarding cattle…) and the three in the second panel look like they are embracing the zombie apocalypse…  Only the guy with the fire stick (call it a torch, I guess) has any business rushing the lion pride…  The guy in the foreground looks like he’s ready to plead and negotiate, the middle guy has that look of “Again?  Really??” on his face.  As was pointed out n the comments, tribes/ villages usually take great pains to circle their precious livestock at night to protect them… perhaps we’ll learn more as we go…

Well, this is particularly cruel…

The look on the cow’s face, though, suggests that this is nothing new- something to be expected… In this world, you are either preying or being preyed upon…  is preying even a word?  Oh I don’t know… it’s early.

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So as the other lions look onto the scene with rabid delight, only a miracle, or a villager with a gun, can save Bessie now… particularly sad, as this cow would have continued to live symbiotically with man, providing nourishment and security… which makes me wonder why man isn’t in the picture… I mean, either secure the animals at night, or at least stand a watch…

Well, we’ll see how much of this I have right.   Could be just random animal kingdom stuff, with no bearing at all on a building plot line… but we shall see…

Is that Bessie?

I notice lions on the hunt… and a small village in the background.  And last I checked, it’s only the females that do the hunting… It’s the males that sit back waiting to be fed… very domesticated scene- the “herd” of bovine creatures (all two of them) seem out of place.  The herd only has strength if it’s large enough to affect the “edge of the herd” dynamic.

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But with only two in the herd, then, well, the effect is lost…

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Looks like a spotted cow… from Wisconsin… could be that our next “adventure” will be taking us into the Heart of Darkness where Mark will help villagers figure out how to keep their livestock from becoming prey…

Stalling for time…

Again, who talks like this?

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Does this mean that Cherry is going to go on every trip that Mark takes?  Well, that’s not fair to Rusty or Doc, now is it?

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OK , didn’t I say enough is enough?!  A solid week of nature followed by a solid week of honey-ka-fuddling and bad, syrupy dialogue… can we just get on with a new story, please?  I know in the old days Mark wouldn’t even be home for a day or two, or even make time for a pickle tickle, and he’d be gone again, with Cherry and Rusty’s sad eyes in his rear view mirror.  I kind of miss that…