At last, the sleepover is done with! The family—senza Doc and Andy—have packed up the station wagon and are now on their way…to where? Originally, they were going to Portland, Oregon (with visions of seaside specters dancing in Rusty’s head). But they have to get Mark’s dad first, the “reformed” Happy Trail. However, this detour to pick up Grampy Happy (as Rusty calls him) got more complicated.
It belatedly turned out that Mark’s comrade in crime, Reptilionnaire (who is also Rusty’s favorite reptile rapper), is performing nearby on the same day as the Big Family Cookout Grampy is throwing. Oh no! The Family Trail has yet to resolve this conflict, which has Rusty throwing a hissy fit. What to do? Unless they are all set to fly into Portland from Ft. Lauderdale, this two-week vacation may well get spent in Florida. Anyway, while Mark and the family try to not run over alligators along the highway, we’ll turn our attention to today’s nature chat, recorded before the vacation:
This is, indeed, a good project, and Wallis Annenberg is right to be proud of this project, which apparently won’t be completed until late 2023. And it received significant private donations. I’ve read that plans are to allow people to cross, as well. Sounds like a bad idea to me. I’m not sure how that is supposed to work in terms of not scaring off wildlife or endangering the public.
Anyway, Rivera once again integrates the main subject of the day (the planned crossing) into the title panel, showing her inventiveness. And it’s a bold thing to do, as some newspaper editors remove title panels to make more space for more comics.
The other amazing point here is Mark’s changing wardrobe! Contrary to the usual shirt he wears, day in and day out, while we still see a red first-layer, there is now some variety in the outer layer. And where there’s variety, there’s hope. One hope is that Rivera will completely break the long-standing comic strip convention for leading characters to always wear the same clothes. It’s not as if we won’t be able to recognize them. Heck, if Rivera can create unique title panels for each Sunday, it shouldn’t be too difficult for her to change Mark’s shirt color or even the pattern once in a while.