The Weekly Recap and the Sunday Nature Talk

Thanks, Dennis, for once again taking up the reigns while I drive through rain storms and sweltering heat from Virginia, back to Minnesota. Okay, I had the AC on the whole time, but still, three days of driving does wear on. And those thunderstorms dropped rain like it was a heavy fog. No fun when driving through mountainous terrain.

Well, well, well. Is Cherry calling in the bovine cavalry? Seems a bit of a stretch for her to set a sounder of wild hogs loose on some garden patches. So this week’s strips somewhat slowly unroll the character of one Dirk Davis, a hitherto unknown sibling of Cherry’s, whose appearance belies any family resemblance. And let’s face it:  Either Rivera does not have a lot of experience drawing beards, or there is something else going on here. As has been pointed out, this has got to be one of the phoniest looking beards on any cartoon character.

In any event, not much action, nor much in the way of explanation at this point. While we might complain about the slow pace here, I do think there is a valid explanation, and that is there must be something important about Dirk’s backstory and his particular set of skills that makes him vital to Cherry’s success. But there are concerns:

  1. Why doesn’t Cherry tell Dirk the whole story? She is clearly shading the truth here.
  2. How will getting hogs to run wild through flower beds resolve the larger issue here of the clearly arbitrary and negative rules of Sunny Soleil, much less its arrogant staff?
  3. Why did Cherry think she had time on her hands when she took the day off to visit the rose garden that got turned into the butterfly bushes? I suppose that was to set up a reason for getting Dirk.
  4. And what about the palmettos?
  5. And how is any of this going to make the Home Owners Association change its rules?

This seems like the wrong time to switch back to hapless Mark. We need to see more of the story before it goes to the back burner.

So the subject of today did not appear in any of the panels this past week. The Title panel shows one of the ducks grabbing the “K” in the name formed of sea grass. It is another cleverly designed panel and makes sense when you view and read panel 4, explaining the Moscovy Duck’s feeding habits. Why can’t these invasive ducks be legally removed? Rivera does not say why, but they (at least the feral version) are classed as invasive in the US. Rivera lacks space for really detailed discussions, but I learned that this duck has been around for a very long time, especially in Central and South America. Its feathers were used by Aztec rulers for cloaks. According to Wikipedia, they are considered indigenous (not invasive) in a few Texas counties.

I’m wondering if Rivera draws up these Sunday panels in groups, as she assigns herself the time; then arbitrarily selects which ones get published in what order. Somehow, this reminds me of some of her earlier Mark Trail work, but that might just be my imagination at work.