Hierarchy of Needs

I think it’s funny that our little feline protagonist has friendship and companionship prioritized over more basic things like air, water, food, shelter…


As Abraham Maslow demonstrates, she is bypassing the Physiological, jumping to the middle of the pyramid where Love and Belonging holds sway, and skipping Safety altogether.


Just wait, little one, until your tummy starts to growl and the sun sets and there isn’t a food bowl in sight.  Whatchu gonna do then?  I predict more strips featuring “Sad Kitty Cat” before Former Orphan Rusty stumbles upon her…


Of all the story lines they could have used…

…from the Syndicate vault, they chose this one?  Not that I remember ever reading this, and I have been reading Mark Trail since the late 70’s… but this has all the promise of one of Allen’s failed plots.


Do cats really smile, look sad?  Ever?  Panel one shows eternal optimism, panel two joy mixed with anticipation, panel three rejection.  Just how sentient is a domestic house cat?  I suppose there are those whose lives revolve around cats.  They would probably reject my notion.  I have shared space with and grown to appreciate the common house cat Felis Catus and detected feline emotion, but nothing like this.

The vote is in…

…and it’s fairly unanimous…  See ya!  Wouldn’t want to be ya!  Poor James Allen.  The mantle of Mark Trail and the daily strip proved to be too much.  We wish him well, though, with whatever direction his life takes.

I have to admit, looking at these Elrod dailies has caused my blood pressure and pulse rate to drop.  The familiar will do that!  To the Story!


One of the games we get to play now is “what year is this, anyway?”  The car, the clothes, the cat give us no clue…  Although the man, by the looks of him, could be a distant relative of Mark’s…  In the middle panel, the cat still thinks it’s a game, but in the end, knows that it’s on its own.


Well Hi!!  I hear the voice over.  OH!  It’s a SHE-cat.  OK that’s good to know… The fawn, still replete with spots, appears nonplussed… Welcome back, Jack.

A clean break?

What th-?


Are we pulling a Peanuts here?  A Doonesbury?  Are we going to start recycling all the old strips?  Note the “Jack Elrod” in the first panel!  Are we going to leave Marnie and Cartwright behind?  So confusing…

And was Jeremy Cartwright James Allen?  Probably.  Let’s hope James got that “Drink he needed…”

Could their Skin BE any More WHITE?

I know that the old Box-o-64 from Crayola had a color “Flesh” in it, and we certainly know that’s wrong by any measure, but the colorists would do well to find one of those and apply it to these characters!  That would be “peachy…”


Good heavens, he’s a malcontent isn’t he?  But by the look on Rusty’s face he sure has it for Marnie!  You can almost see the little hearts popping around his head.  Not since his heart was broken by the lovely Mara in the Ancient Artifact adventure, the girl/woman of indiscernible age, he has been pining ever since…

More Fun at Lost Forest!!

Sorry Campers!  It’s been a wild ride on the Stagecoach the last couple of days!

I see that Cherry entered in to offer words of wisdom- “Mark, don’t ‘F’ this up, OK?”  Oh, and I see the Producer/ Girlfriend has a name!!  Marnie!  That’s nice!


Cut to the dock… Where Cartwright continues to display absolute disdain for his hosts- “Kid”  again with “Kid.”  Never thought I would defend Rusty, but, hey, Jerkwad, he has a name!!  It’s Rusty!  But wait, there’s more!


You need a filter, sir!  On that Pie-hole!!  Do you not realize (or care, I suppose) that Rusty’s biological father was a raging alcoholic that beat him and his mom?  Do you even know ‘thing one’ about the man you are going to play on the big screen?  What a rube!

Moving right along…

We are skipping through the space-time continuum in a way that is almost jarring…  A suggested lunch apparently is served and unappreciated, only to leave the hosts disappointed in the guest’s bad behavior…


I honestly don’t remember Lost Forest being a lake-front property, but hey, why not…  If there’s a lake, why not build right up next to it.  So does this mean that Rusty is taking Cartwright on the “Grand Tour” of the grounds?  I am sure that’s going well…  And where in the name of All That’s Good is Doc?  Has he been slaughtered, hooked and smoked?  At a retired Vet’s convention?  Haven’t seen his craggy face in a long time!

Forced Idle Chatter…

And suddenly we find ourselves out in the Parking lot…


What difference does that make, Cherry?  Boy, you are nosy!


A local hotel?  By the look on his face, Action Boy ain’t buyin’ it!  I guess one can’t be too careful what with the paparazzi and stalkers about!  To bad you are in that ridiculous stretch limousine.  That doesn’t draw attention at all!

Lunch?  Luncheon?  How exceedingly proper… no chance of anyone getting drunk and rowdy or overstaying their welcome!

Rusty show you around?!  Really?  I suppose he spends more time there than anyone except Doc, speaking of whom, where is the old codger?  He seems to have been strategically left out of this story line so far…

White, meet White

Again with the “Mr. Trail…”


“Exciting for the Local People…” what a dick!  Probably something you might think, but oh yea… there are few to no inner monologues in Mark Trail!!

And Enter Rusty… all Gob-smacked and Starry-eyed…


He told you his name, you asshole… but still you go with the always available and condescending “Kid…”  Looking over his shoulder as if already walking away.  Nice work, artist in residence.

Who dat? (Part 2)

… and where are they?  Some random Ballroom at a Downtown Marriott?


Once again (and I sense that we have another Allen-replacement tryout in the making…) Mark doesn’t even look like himself!!


…until he does again.  Clip art?  But, ummm… Mark didn’t write the film…  As we (or Joe Soucheray) would say, “Reporting isn’t what it used to be…”