The Setup

What a treat, having Dennis pick up my slack while I was on the road, losing various personal belongings in motels along the way. I enjoyed reading them. Thanks a bunch! Now that I’m down here in VA visiting family, I hope I can keep this going on a reasonable schedule, though I’ll not likely get posts up until late morning. Well, we’ll see….

Say what you will about Rivera, she has a sense of humor. For example, when Mark was waxing prophetic in Wednesday’s strip about working off his debt to Dad, he dramatically threw up his “tea arm”, unknowingly forcing “Rept Man” (standing behind Mark) to jump out of the way of the sloshed tea.

And Mark’s humorous interaction with “the narrator”, as mentioned by Dennis, is a great observation that illustrates how Jules uses narrative blocks quite a lot to help move the story along; certainly more than her predecessors. Still, I didn’t quite get why Mark felt he could not retaliate against Rob for his later insults when growing up. In any event, it appears that Mark has, indeed, finally found his center and is preparing for a battle of wits against his nemesis.

An interesting sequence of bubbles in the first and second panels today, as Mark responds to Cricket Bro’s patronizing response. At first, I missed it: I thought that the third bubble was also Rob speaking, which made no sense. Then I saw that the bubble linked up behind Rob’s bubble to Mark’s greeting. Like it!  Not sure what the purpose of the “smarty” phone in Rob’s hand is for, since it seems he has a Bluetooth headset on. Maybe he was looking for a visual chat? Or maybe Jules did that so that “old fart” readers would understand he is actually using a phone?

Another interesting feature of the rebooted Mark Trail was picked up by contributor Daniel Pellissier, who noted Rivera’s focus on motivations and back-stories for the characters, giving them actual personalities. Certainly, the prior incarnations of Mark, Cherry, et al., were more superficial, simply going through their prescribed actions. One could compare, for example, TV cop shows of the 1950s (e.g. “Naked City”, “M Squad”, “Dragnet”), where the cops simply did their jobs, without much reference to their personalities and issues. Since the 1970s, it has been almost impossible to find a cop show where the police are not conflicted with emotional baggage, to the point where this can become too much of a distraction (so I think). So I hope that this welcome feature doesn’t get too distracting from what is supposed to be an “adventure” comic strip.

Anyway, I can’t wait to see how this scene winds up on Saturday.  And Monday would be a good time to pivot back to Lost Forest to see how Cherry is getting on with her contretemps.