Okay, we must allow Jules to have her joke. Where is it? It is the 4th panel, where everybody is having some kind of vocal group hug and the speech balloon points to Mark, though the text seems to be something the other four would be telling Mark! Trailheads sometimes speak of older strips where dialog balloons on occasion seem to point to the wrong person, or thing. I admit that I was too lazy and tired to look through the backlog of strips, so feel free to add some footnotes in a response. In any event, it seems odd that Mark would be welcoming himself to Herp Hacienda, unless this is meant to be some kind of campy commercial where Mark and crew are actually welcoming us readers to come back. Well, thanks anyway.
Like so many other stories, this one ends with a trunkful of dead-ends and unexplained subplots. We all know what they are, so I won’t waste my time or yours going over them, yet again. Just scroll back through these blogs, if you have the desire and patience. As for patience, I can’t say I won’t be glad to be shut of those four Herp Hacienda Hippies. But it would have been nice to at least find out what and who the two creepiest characters were. And why the hell they keep lining up, as if they are suspects in a police lineup?
I think many of us will agree that this is not the strongest ending to a Mark Trail story, though it is not much worse, either. Aside from the dodgy animal air check app, this story seemed to be a series of unresolved, random vignettes. I’ve never been a professional comic strip artist, but I’ve played one in my head, and I know that there can be tremendous pressure to put out a 7-day comic strip. In fact, have we not seen other cartoonists these days going on hiatus every so often, content to rerun older strips in order to get away from the pressure? Or, perhaps to catch up? And perhaps Rivera deliberately constructed this story in a way that would mimic or rip some Mark Trail story memes sure to raise the blood pressure of Trailheads. Or, maybe Rivera is just ripping the old-fashioned notion that a Mark Trail story should follow conventional norms.
Well, my biggest request here is that Mark gets a chance to do a story for one of the other 7 or so magazines that make up part of the holding company that Woods & Wildlife get rolled into. Let’s see how Mark gets along with a different magazine editor for a bit. And let’s get some more conversations with snakes! Too bad he didn’t try to talk with any snakes at the Hacienda. A missed opportunity, if ever there was one.