From one point of view, Mark Trail is the Rodney Dangerfield of the comic strips. I know, I know. On one hand, I’ve recommended that we forget the past and just look ahead; but sometimes the past catches up and drags you back. We’ve been watching Mark get pushed around, insulted, assaulted, and humiliated, especially by females who clearly won’t need or want rescuing. So, has Mark become a punching bag for male misogyny? Is Rivera throwing brickbats at complaining Trailheads who miss the old Big Guy, the meandering stories, and the old-school art? I think the answer to these questions is “You bet!” But I don’t think Jules is malicious. She has a wicked sense of humor that is likely different from many long-time Trailheads. Maybe they are just upset that the old strip isn’t around any longer for them to poke fun at, rather than the cartoonist?
Well, the hits keep coming and Mark gets no sympathy. Interesting that Mark (who looks like he aged 20 years in the first panel) chooses to have a hissy fit in the company of the one person guaranteed to use it against him. And just what is on the card that Cricket Bro holds up in panel three for Mark to take? In spite of being insulted by him once again, Mark humbles himself enough to reach out and take it, while scowling in silent petulance. Rivera seems to indicate that, while Mark might want to bring out his Fists of Justice, he also realizes this is not the place and he is out of his element. “No poachers, no forest fire starters, no ocean polluters, and no animal maltreaters: What the heck am I doing here?” But I’m sure Mark will swallow his pride and ride out the storm of indignities until a proper plot device appears that Mark can work with.
Still, I keep wondering where Reptilionnaire is (and why I keep misspelling his name)!
Thanks, George for all the insights and references! Love the Music Man comparison! Jules is taking us all, kicking a screaming, into the 21st Century. No more clumsy handling of smart phones interlaced with vehicles sans headrests and seatbelts. When will the first driverless car appear?