Mark and Cherry walk through a forest of cardboard trees

Ah, tension and drama continue to rise as we see our hero facing down the …no, wait. Sorry, I drifted off and started daydreaming about the old Rip Kirby adventure strip, because now that I’m alert, I realize I’m supposed to be writing about Mark and Cherry talking and talking about Daddy’s fishing trip, wrecked boats, and hidden agendas. Okay, got it.

Well, of course there will be a tiny little hitch, as Happy concedes. After all, this is supposed to be an adventure strip, too.  I’m not sure what this hitch is, but I’m guessing it won’t be an opportunity for Mark to serve another hitch in the army.

Knowing Rivera’s tendency to rely upon a small cast of goons and grifters, I can’t stop from predicting that this trip will involve some of the same people we’ve seen before. And before. We should learn more by Saturday. Until then, enjoy your own daydreaming.


Dithering, it’s the Theme of the Week.

Yeah, time to milk this old cow once again. The “Mark Trail Destroys Another Boat” meme gives a nostalgic chuckle to old Trailheads reading this strip and helps train-in younger readers to carry the torch of appreciation for, and support for, this already unfunny and tired joke, especially when the strip does the jesting. Along with other self-parodic elements that are a mainstay, perhaps Rivera should rename this strip to something more appropriate, such as “Mock Trail”. Has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Speaking of “ring”, who is Mark talking to in panel 4?

I thought Mark hated the nickname “Marky”!

A father-son fishing trip is certainly a fond, traditional bonding rite for parents and children.  Well, sometimes it’s not so fond a thing, as we saw earlier with Mark and Rusty. However, in this particular situation, it’s “the old man” and Mark is the boy now grown up (more or less). Mark could imagine himself being Oppie to Happy Trail’s Andy Taylor.  I mean, how could you not get a bit wistful watching the opening credits to The Andy Griffith Show with Sheriff Andy walking down a country lane with his son, Oppie, to go cane fishing along the creek? Pure nostalgia. But I digress. I wonder how many days Rivera will use up before we discover whether Mark agrees to the trip.

Anyway, the question of the moment is:  Will this trip actually take place or will Mark get a call from Bill Ellis that might upend the fishing trip?

Side Note and Cheap Solicitation: From this blog’s statistics page, it appears we have around 10-20 viewers on any given day. Okay, that’s not very much; certainly not enough to impress anybody, but it’s enough to make me wonder why more people are not commenting, other than the usual cast (for which I am very grateful). Perhaps it’s my haircut. Or maybe it’s my uncanny ability to miss obvious points, such as not being boring. Whatever, I cordially invite other viewers to also participate and leave a comment, be it about the strip, my writing about the strip, or both. No high-level math or a degree in popular culture required. You don’t even have to like the strip, as most of the regular commenters will attest.

More cutesy stuff

Gah! More story-padding! I thought we had enough of this last week. I think the mallard agrees. So, when will the story move on to Florida, already!? And who gets to come along?
Last Friday, I mentioned the police notices and likely warrants for stuff Mark did down there a few years ago. This occurred in Jules Rivera’s first Mark Trail adventure. I bet you long-time sufferers, er, readers, may not remember what the strip looked like back then. It really was different in several ways, and for the better, in my opinion. Rivera clearly put her mind and time into the strip, delivering inventive layouts, impactful action, and some serious storytelling. Check out these two submissions from January 20th and 23rd, 2021:

I’m not going to go into the story, as you can pick it up on your own. Just study this a bit. It is really good storytelling art! And definitely not the pedestrian layouts and silly characters we usually see these days. I mean, “screwball” is fine once in a while, right? In fact, in several ways, this first story was sometimes screwy, but presented in a more creative and dramatic style! This even beats anything her predecessors did. I just don’t understand, from today’s standpoint, why Rivera turned from this approach to what we see today. Wouldn’t you rather see this kind of work? I don’t mean the violence, per se. This stuff just drips of adventure.

The Week in Review and the Sunday Nature Chat

Unless you like romantic double entendres, not much took place this week. In short, Cherry and Mark took one of their post-assignment nature walks in Lost Forest, apparently looking for the place, opportunity, and mood to behave like birds and bees for a little while. Unfortunately for them, Mark’s phone interrupted the mood and he ensured it was doomed by answering it.

Happy Trail called and excitedly told Mark they are going on a fishing trip! Woo-hoo! This sounds to me like some kind of take-off on one of Mark’s favorite old scams promising Rusty he’ll take him fishing, but never delivering. In fact, Rivera already mocked that meme last December (see “Father Knows Least”).  Now what will come of Happy’s phone call? Perhaps it will wind up as yet another interrupted activity when Mark gets yet another phone call from Bill Ellis conning him into taking on yet another outlandish assignment.

A very interesting topic today, and new to me, in spite of the fact that I grew up on the East Coast sometimes battling jellyfish on the beach. I like their nickname, “By-the-wind Sailor.” Their other name, velella, comes from a Latin word for sail (“velum”), because of the small, stiff sail on their top, causing them to float whichever way the wind blows.

But Rivera should have made it clearer that they are not true jellyfish, according to a six-year old who said they didn’t look enough like jelly. Just kidding. Actually, they are only related to jellyfish and are really multi-creatured, colonial organisms (Note: The Man-o-War is also not a true jellyfish, but another “colonial organism”, which all sounds just weird to me). The velella have also been found off the coast of Great Britain.

Will Mark let the Catch of the Day slip away?

OOPS! I forgot to post the strip last night when I wrote this. Guess I was more sleepy than I thought!

Huh? Uh, okay. Is Mark going to throw Cherry under the bus (or back in the cabin) and run for all he’s worth down to Florida, Daddy, and fishing!?

Wait! Is that old Florida warrant for destruction of private property and evading the police that occurred in Rivera’s first Mark Trail story still in effect? It might make Mark wonder about Dad’s motives. Then again, maybe Happy is going to come up to Lost Forest for fishing and checking out the ol’ log house. If none of this makes sense to you, I recommend you check out the story catalogued under the category “Happy Trails”; scroll to the bottom (it might take a while); then start reading, starting on the October 27, 2020 date.

In any event, Mark has plenty of time till Daddy shows up, so I hope Mark doesn’t disappoint Cherry. It won’t be very long before she just isn’t up for long walks in the forest anymore.

The family ties that bind

Okay, I think Rivera is finished with Double Entendre Week.  Not that I haven’t enjoyed participating in it. But Happy Trail again? So soon!? This would be the third adventure with Pappy Happy, if that is where this storyline is heading.  Can we just head in a different direction, please?

How about an adventure involving a completely new cast of supporting characters? I’d settle for game poachers.

You could just turn off the phone, Mark.

Well, just like in nearly every rom-com and sitcom in entertainment history, a moment of passion turns into the moment of passing.  Now we’ll never find out if regular reader Downpuppy’s assertion about the contents of Mark’s and Cherry’s backpacks is correct.

Looks like a cue for the start of another adventure. Any guesses on what it might be about this time?

Let nature take its course?

So, Mark wants a little sunshine, does he? The two squirrels in panel 1 are an obvious lead-in to the meaning of Mark’s coded phrase in panel 4 and its expected outcome. Maybe now we’ll learn what’s in Mark’s and Cherry’s backpacks. Warning: Parents may need to screen tomorrow’s strip before the kids see it.

A summary for readers who don’t get the Sunday Mark Trail strip.

Do I know that there are “millions” of lobster cages (a bit of an exaggeration) lost in the ocean trapping animals?” Yeah! You told us last Sunday, Mark! Don’t you remember? Okay, not every newspaper carries the Sunday strip. Our papers do not.

By the way, that’s a nicely drawn panel 1, in detail and in composition. By “happy fish”, we can accept that fish prefer swimming to getting eaten. Even though fish don’t smile, their actions and behavior have been linked by scientists through experiments to positive and negative feelings. Maybe Mark is indulging in a bit of projecting here, but he also converses with a talking snake. So, I reckon he’s entitled.

Is there anything wrong with having a Mark Trail that openly reflects on his personal beliefs (and doubts)? It certainly exhibits a degree of vulnerability usually lacking in prior Mark Trail presentations.