“Cherry, I don’t think I’m in Lost Forest any more.”

Answer to yesterday’s quiz: The clever trick (as I see it) is manipulating the strip’s convention of depicting animals in almost every daily strip. In this case, the insect-people are the animals! So Rivera has given us a new take on this popular Mark Trail convention. Well, just a theory, anyway.

Rivera’s focus on “cricket brotein” is timely. The BBC just featured a story on insects as a great protein food source throughout the world, except where people of European origin tend to live. I reckon we “Euros” have too many negative preconceptions about creepy crawlies and would prefer to have proteïni insecta disguised in whatever form and not told about it. Maybe my parents should not have been too hasty to bypass those insect tins in the grocery store. Wouldn’t you think Mark Trail and family would already be supporters of insect protein?

In today’s installment, Mark is reluctantly dragged farther into the world of Internet Influencers and scientist standup comedy routines. I’m not sure what those “Waaaa!” and “Waaagh!” yells are all about. Are they some kind of agreed-upon acknowledgement code for Prof. Bee Sharp or just the current fashion for showing awareness of a celebrity?

In spite of the fact (observation, if you like) that this story has degenerated into a series of silly actions one would associate with a Reality TV show that has no plot (am I being redundant?), I continue to appreciate Rivera’s art and her irreverent writing. Prof. Bee struts around like huckster Professor Hill in The Music Man, then leans back into the scene with a pointing finger and insincere response (“Sure, friend!”) to suggest he might be something other than an actual scientist. That seems to be Mark’s take. Okay, maybe I’m just getting carried away by obtuse, self-delusional musings, but at least I’m no Marxist Deconstructionist critic!

Final note for today: Some of Rivera’s art reminds me of Japanese Manga (as in the Dragonball illustration to the right). Rusty’s explosive reaction in the last panel is so forceful, it virtually fills the entire space, shutting out everything else around Mark. What do you think?