As Jules Rivera channels Stephen Pastis (note panel 4), I have to wonder how the logs of that log cabin got to be so flat. Or, is Mark leaning against his house, lying “on” it, or what? But Ralph the Snake looks cool. And Mark looks so, so pink. As an outdoor person, I wonder why he doesn’t have a bit more tone in his skin by now.
Well, dear Readers, we wrap up the week with Mark continuing his dialog with Ralph the Snake over how his new assignment is going to be a really bad thing. Mark is turning out to be an even bigger complainer than I am! Anyway, Rivera has decided to draw out this tease to stoke Mark’s fears and our anticipation. Will he go? Of course! He’s Mark Trail.
It’s interesting how quickly the villain in the California story changed from the immature Cricket Bro (childhood foe Rob Bettancourt) to the more psychotic Professor Bee Sharp and his muscle, Diana Daggers. Like so many others in the history of Mark Trail, we may have seen the last of Cricket Bro, as well as Reptilionnaire. Can’t say that I’ll miss them.
But if Diana and Professor Bee are actual Trail villains, how are they supposed to be on the same team with Mark? Mark may have real cause to wonder. Yet, I predict (my correspondence course in Becoming A Prophet may finally be paying off!) that Professor Bee is just a red herring. Diana will confess to having been coerced into a bad relationship and forced to take on the role of a “heavy”; a role that she now disavows. In short, she has taken a liking to Mark and will become another one of those vulnerable women who can’t help throwing themselves at him. Not that we’ve seen any of those women since Rivera took over.
Will this vision pan out? Truth be told, I only audited that Prophet course. And I dropped out.
Oh yeah, “Mark Visits Mayberry”, a gentle tale of incestuous, dognapping hillbillies even more “woodsy” than Mark!
But Diana, I am a married man.
And she replies “Of course, and that’s how I like them…well done.”
Maybe I am the odd man out here. I just happen to think the artwork and story telling in the Old Mark Trail actually makes sense. The artwork is about 100 % better. And Mark is not having a snake talk to him. He is conversing with people. Granted, it is old school. However, my case is that is and was why we were Trail Heads in the first place! I say again, Jules version is damn near unreadable.
Odd man out? Not at all, Mark. We all have our favorites, our likes, and our comfort zones. I get why the new version of Mark Trail doesn’t click with you (and others). I really like the old Fleischer Brothers “Popeye” animations, but despise the later Popeye cartoons made in the ’50s and ’60s when its style and content changed so radically.
I even like some of the old Mark Trail, having read it off and on growing up. But that “vintage” story being reprinted now is a jaw dropper to me. While the artwork is comfortably familiar and quaint, I don’t think they could get away with publishing it in newspapers today without a strong reaction over the various out-of-fashion and questionable tropes. Still, I’m reading it! Thanks for hanging in here, Mark!