Return of the Butterfly…

I swear, Mark would be lost without Rusty! And of course there’s an App for that…

Monarch v. Viceroy… hmmmm. Didn’t know about that one. Note the cross-hatch in the veins on the Viceroy!

Last year I planted some Milkweed (at least that’s what my neighbor is telling me, since I didn’t save the tag…) It didn’t do much last year, but this year grew tall and flowered profusely, much to the delight of Monarchs and other pollinators. It’s amazing how they find their favorite plants, despite being located so randomly…

With all the drought and fires this summer, I am sure that insects will enjoy any port in this “storm.”

No fair! I get to swoop in and wrap up the story line!!

Faithful (and I mean Über-faithful) contributor George has been following this story for weeks… and well, it looks like I arrive as it’s wrapping up before our very eyes… Violet is on a flapjack bender, soaking her sorrows and troubles in griddle-cakes and highly caffeinated beverages, while Cherry is about to come clean…

Nothing like a dose of conscience to ruin a take-down! And it’s super funny how quickly Cherry is associated, without even a moment’s thought or question, with feral hogs…

Can you just here the “ding” that goes along with Jeanette the waitress/proprietor’s wink? I love the reference to flapjacks and coffee, even as Violet, with her chapeau back on, is going to have the worst gluten hangover of her life!! And where are the rest of the customers? Does ‘Planet Pancake’ survive on only the drive-by patronage of the Trails and (with) whomever they happen to be quarreling (with)? Along with offering to help put the round-about back in order, is Cherry going to pick up the tab?

While Hogs run wild…

As we continue to unravel Cherry’s motivation to look up her Brother…

Give us a break, Cherry, you know exactly how to take a stand… You just playin’ with Dirk…

And wait a gosh-darn minute- is that Salvia in the foreground of the second panel? Would that be a tip-off to a more native species of perennial? Or am I getting ahead of our story line here? Looks like Dirk’s beard has been given a touch more relief in the last frame… we can even distinguish the mustache from the rest of it!

Between Bug Bro and the Bearded Lady…

I think I prefer the Bearded Lady… and the threat of Hogs running wild all over Violet’s Gardens!

The only question I have is Transportation! How do Feral Hogs get penned and toted? I am supposing that Dirk the Hog Whisperer has an answer for that one…

And apparently, Extradition! What do we suppose Dirk went IN for? UP the River, so to speak? Prepositions are funny things… One would be IN Jail, but (if IN a canoe) one is ON the river… But then why does one go UP River to go to jail? Does all the Crime-ing and prosecuting happen DOWN-RIVER?

I will say this much about Dirk- He’s a big fella! Check out the difference in stature in panel 3, while panel 4 reminds us once again of the most unnatural and unholy of all beards- looking like one of the beards worn by Ulysses Everett McGill in Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Is it me, or does Dirk look like a lady himself?

As we make the acquaintance of Cherry <Davis> Trail’s “Big Brother” Dirk, we all have to wonder what on earth did Doc do to create such a large family, only to drive them all (save for the good daughter Cherry) away? How many more of them are there? How is Rusty ever going to draw a family tree when there is a literal Diaspora of Davises?

But I call your attention to the third panel… Dirk really does look like a lady with a fake beard… Maybe that’s just me. Or Maybe what forced “Dirk” to live off the grid is that his only other option was to star in a circus sideshow?

Guessing we will see an exposé on Feral Hogs this Sunday (That is if we already haven’t covered that territory… have we?)

Thanks George for keeping the flame lit, and safe travels back to the hot (and finally steamy) North Country. I swear the only thing that recommends this region is the fact that it will remain arable and livable long after sea levels rise!

Wait a Cotton-Pickin’ Minute…

Oops, can I say that??

We return to the scene where Mark has suddenly, and in a positive way, sucked all the air out of the room…

“Mark Trail’d him?”” Could it be that Cricket Bro is Jealous of Mark? Of course, it all makes sense now, at least to the insecure mind, the one that only sees the world through a “Win-Lose” / “Zero-sum-game” lens… Why all these “lens” references, Dennis? Who knows…

I do think that Mark is in denial, though. His feelings do run deep. Although this is in keeping with the “old” Mark- The Mark where feelings ran as deed as a wading pool…

Good thing that Mark rebelled against his early (broad frickin’ daylight) imposed bed time…

Mark not only talks to animals…

… but to narrators as well…

Took me a minute to get my bearings, campers. We all have voices that we hear, voices that tell us things and suggest right from wrong, voices that are planted in us at an early age. Sometimes that’s good, sometimes that’s not. Mark’s head is a roiling cacophony of memories and characters that have created tremendous self-doubt and loathing! Interesting to watch him break loose of such shackles.

Robby B. is nothing but a bully. We’ve all seen his kind. Insecure to the point of needing therapy himself, he finds joy in bringing others down. Crazy how stress caused Mark’s hair to turn prematurely, uh, blue? And is he in fact wearing a scout uniform in panel 3? Or just the latest version of the pink chamois-cloth shirt he’ll sport for years… until he meets Jules and switches to plaid?

The last reference to $5,000 I recall…

…was the cost of the grill on the Rolls Royce Convertible that Anthony Michael Hall (The <nameless> Geek) was encouraged to use by heartthrob Jake Ryan to drive the overserved prom queen Caroline Mulford home

And George, regarding that “Reducing Lens,” were you perhaps looking through the wrong end of a telescope?

And yes, Ants are people, too… but what young man, me included, didn’t delight in the discovery of what happens when concentrating the sun’s rays to a point, capable of burning paper, lighting a rocket fuse (Right, Woody?) or even chasing down a stray insect?? Seems Mark’s oversized sense of virtue was developed early, and certainly not from his father, judging by all the mounts in the background…

And penance was paid by forced child labor? And the future Cricket Bro allowed to smirk over his shoulder as he got the best of everything? Including a father who (for right or wrong) stood by him? Oh, the wounds were inflicted early, went deep, and never healed…

Thanks to George for keeping the fires burning! Safe travels!

Monday Extras!!

Thanks again, George K. Atkins, Contributor in Chief… With a bit of time on my hands, I visited Jules’ site and found some extras!

Mark, You one bad-ass dude…
Not to Mention Cherry Davis Trail…

.

Here’s the main cast…
With a growing list of supporting actors!
Yikes! What’s this one rated?!

Next I found a Sunday feature that I don’t think was/ has been published? How did I miss this one? Was it ever published?

But wait, there’s more!! including this lovely reaction to all the hate being heaped upon Jules for “Ruining Mark Trail…”

Or, not to neglect the fact the Jules is checking in on The Daily Trail… Hats off to (CIC) George K. Atkins for pulling a reference out of his, ahem… impressive trove of experiences… only to make a very solid impression with Mark’s new “Daddy…”

OMG I got compared to Carl Hiaasen I can die now everyone

Carl Hiaasen was the only author I read in high school I actually liked. I appreciated that he understood how totally slanted and sideways the world really is.

Originally tweeted by Jules Rivera (@julesrivera) on April 15, 2021.

Mark (once again) taking himself waaaay too seriously…

Mark apparently picked up a pair of blue-tinted shades at LAX… trying to get into the vibe…

CPP? Cricket Protein Powder? Oh Mark, you could take a page out of Cricket-Bro’s playbook, right? I mean, isn’t imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Haven’t all the world’s songs already been written? It’s all about the A-Range-Ment, right!? Don’t go backward thinking about your scarred childhood (already a tired theme…)

Let’s look ahead, shall we? That’s what’s going to save you and this strip!!

Again with the self-deprecation and low self image… Mark, you are standing in the desert with a flannel shirt on! Make your statement! Build your brand!