Okay, so Rivera reveals this is going nowhere and spares us poor readers any more of this silly sidebar. I hope. However, I don’t think either Mark or we are going to get off so easily. Based on past experience, Cricket Bro might cook up some revenge.
[CAUTION: THEORIZING AHEAD! READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.]
On a different topic, I wonder why Rivera gave up her original style for Mark Trail, as seen in her early strips, such as this one from October 2020:
Rivera is often criticized for her art, as it either does not conform to the traditional Mark Trail style, or just “looks bad.” But her style is clearly a choice, not a limitation. As you may be able to see, the overall look of the October strip is certainly more fluid, refined, even more naturalistic. The coloring is less saturated (again, not discernable in b&w strips). The overall look has a lighter touch, with a definite feel for volume.
So, why the style shift? It might have been a matter of time and effort. The October panels would have to have taken much longer to produce than today’s. Or it could be that this earlier style didn’t lend itself to the kinds of stories and personalities Rivera decided to continue with. But Rivera continues to use interesting and unusual compositions (October panel 2) not normally seen in Mark Trail strips of yore, though not in today’s panels.