Mark doesn’t know about Eco-Rap, in spite of his eco-warrior background? Well, neither did I. Apparently, it goes back to the late 1980s and may have started in the Bay Area of California. But there’s no Wikipedia page for it! Eco-rap isn’t so much a music style as it is a message. Much of it, as far as I can tell, is youth-based, which is logical and a natural tie-in with Teen Sparkle Magazine, Mark’s current employer.
There is an actual performer named “Mr. Eco”, dressed in yellow and green, who takes his ecology-inspired raps to public schools and posts YouTube videos. So Eco-Rap is not simply a fictional comic strip plot device Rivera created just to shake up Mark’s reality.
There have been some comments here and there about the sometimes hectic and mannerist drawing style of Rivera, where characters sometimes elongate as if they belonged to a Futurist fantasy. And in the traditional black & white format of most newspapers, the inking sometimes looks heavy, scratchy, and difficult to view. I think there are some good explanations and I’ll go into that at another time. That’s not the case for the past several strips. But faithful readers know that, overall, I like Rivera’s drawing, layouts, and willingness to take chances.
I’ll leave any punch lines about Sherman to you, should you care to contribute!
Thanks for stepping up George. I have always enjoyed your comments and these longer commentaries are great. I share your general outlook on the strip. Jules is taking us a new direction. She is using the old Mark Trail as a launching point for her update, not a rote script for the future. It is like she is a new chef at a restaurant. We go to the same place, but the food is different.