Who knew that Mark Trail was a literature junky? Maybe Jules Rivera reads Pearls Before Swine? But Mark, get it together! Quit acting like a…a… stereotypical schoolgirl!?
Well, much has been made here and elsewhere about the ongoing insults to Mark in the strip, backed up by reader indignation and frustration. This ongoing insult and parody shtick reminds me, superficially, of Charlie Brown. But that’s a different mindset, altogether. There was no prior idealized heroic image to break down and rebuild in Peanuts. Charlie Brown always got the football pulled away at the last moment. People found his pathos and futility endearing, the perennial underdog.
Almost every new character who gets introduced to Mark insults him in some way. And it’s overdone. Well, in the right kind of situation, such things could be amusing. For example, if this was the Old Mark (i.e. the big, strong, arrogantly confident, stoic hero), sarcastic jabs at his fame or ability could provide funny counterpoints to prick Mark’s ego.
But the persona of New Mark Trail is already a strong counterpoint to Old Mark Trail. While New Mark retains some of the former looks, he is rarely heroic, not that strong, not so confident, and often too emotional (as today demonstrates). That’s fine. He is a walking rebuke to the dull, former defender of the environment. So, New Mark does not need to be metaphorically kicked in the gonads every other day. Kicking somebody when they’re down just makes you (Rivera) look like a bully.
All we are saying, is give Mark a chance!