Home » Zeeba Mussels » A side-bar before today’s strip

A side-bar before today’s strip

Reader, gird thy loins and prepare thyself! I feel the urge to “philosophize” again. Read on or skip down to today’s comic and avoid the blah-blah-blahs!

The daily snarkfest over at King Feature Syndicates’ (“KFS”) ComicsKingdom (“CK”) is getting a lot of mileage out of the recent innuendo-filled Mark Trail dailies. Can’t say that I blame them going after such tasty, low-hanging fruit. And I figure that Rivera knows that and is probably pulling branches down to make it easy. It does bring up the question whether Rivera is writing to troll snarkers at the same time she is working to overhaul this presumed white bread, patristic, patronizing, and out-of-touch adventure strip that was followed by a shrinking number of faithful newspaper readers.

I know Rivera follows the comments over at CK and has also added her own ripostes from time to time. She even looked at this site at least once. Anyway, running across a clever insult or pun is a pleasant way to spend a few minutes. Everybody like a good compliment, but “even bad publicity is still publicity. And that’s good!

Looks like KFS is going to stick with Rivera as she works to make Mark Trail more popular, which will likely mean younger, more diverse people. Still, Rivera has previously pledged to keep this a nature-based adventure strip, and she has done that, albeit in indirect ways:  The first story about “Daddy” Trail was peripherally about land abuse and pollution; the Cricket Bro story was about…uh, well, characters who were named after insects, an air quality app, reptiles, and the weather in Palm Springs. So that counts, right!? And Cherry’s recent story was about invasive plantings, seen from both Cherry’s point of view and the Sunny Soleil housing authority’s view. Never mind that the only people who really got knocked around this time where Cherry and Mark!

Nature and the environment are definitely major concerns of younger generations, so Rivera should not have a hard time attracting more readers if her stories start building on current events and avoid some of the old Mark Trail themes, such as poaching and dog abductions. In closing this opinion piece, a typical writer would usually end with a rhetorical question, such as “But can Rivera attract and hang on to new, younger readers in time?” However, I try to avoid such an over-used cliché. I think a more insightful and provocative exit question could be: “But to really pull in the younger readers, will Rivera go so far as to have Rusty start questioning his gender identity?” While I’m thinking about it, let’s move on to today’s installment and commentary.

Okay, so the magazine is actually called Hot Catch. Got it. Now, zebra mussels, huh? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t Mark already pontificate on these pests last Sunday? These people must be in some kind of causal time loop or Kurt Vonnegut’s chrono-synclastic-infandibulum.  And either Mark is yawning in the last panel or he’s thinking “Dude, I know this, already! Don’t you read the comics?” Well, the assignment is a real conservationist topic; and Rafael seems sincere and engaged. Mark presumably already knows (or remembers) some information on zebra mussels.

However, at last we have a timely, practical assignment for Mark. Seems like a fairly straight-forward project of research, interviews, photos, analyzing and writing. Obviously, things are not going to work out that way.


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