Still talking, I see…

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the existential Mark… I yam what I yam…  “If I go to my watery grave, well, then, you will no longer have me to look to… or to blame for that matter…” he seems to be saying…


So, as Gabe boards the “faith train” (faith in what exactly?  a good to great outcome??)  he tries to bring Mark back from the cliffs of insanity


No, staying here is CERTAINLY not the answer, nor is staying here looking at your insipid faces an option either!  Especially that Carina… God knows when she’ll flick her tongue at me again!!

So… last we heard, James Allen was going to get us out of this subterranean paradise and on to something a bit more interesting…  I guess we’ll have to wait until Mark drowns himself (or not…)

Oh just get in the water already…

I’m sure that there’s plenty of “natural”light to guide the way, and zero chance of anything going badly… Mark’s brand of “faith,” driven by, among other things, the fact that we is perpetually 33 years old, should provide plenty of cover when it comes to a perilous situation like this…


And Carina, Mark is not going to “Wait” any more than you obeyed his request, the maneuver that sent you down the face of the waterfall…  But what Mark really needs is Batman’s utility belt!  There he would find an underwater breathing apparatus- the “Re-breather” along with a long cable with a hook  on the end that could be used to maroon himself under water…

And we’re back… and talking about a hole…

Sorry Campers,  I was away a couple of days… the suspense of not knowing how little progress was being made was about driving me crazy!


Well, I see now that almost no progress has been made, other than to conjure up a few hackneyed expressions while applying some stilted dialogue…  Yea, Mark, what IF the hole is only a foot in diameter, huh? Huh??


I am nigh on speechless here…  this is where the plot leads us?  To a hole in a wall that can’t be seen but must be there because the flowing, rushing water is not filling up the cave?  Sort of like a Black Hole in Space that cannot be seen but we know is there because of its effect on visible things around it?

Go for it, Mark… you are probably right.  There’s nothing else to be done at this point…


Oh… now there’s an idea!

Carina really has a death wish doesn’t she?  Let’s go underwater, see the hole in the wall where the water is escaping, (how, pray tell, with no light…) swim into it (underwater) and see where it goes, all with the current, which will make it impossible to return from whence we came when it’s clear that this move leads nowhere…


But remember!  Mark, “Full of faith” and “This strip is named for me” and “I’m James Allen’s meal-ticket” Trail hasn’t lost hope here…  and Carina I guess is rising to the bait.  So stay there, Gabe, molder and rot and become cave-food while Mark and Carina fulfill their destiny!

Metaphor, anyone??

Yes, the water has run into a wall- a “dead end” as Gabe would put it…  sort of like this story line.  But remember kids, it’s always darkest right before the dawn… (is it, really?)

“It’s always darkest before the dawn” is like asking “How far can you run into the woods?” The answer is “half way”, because then you are no longer running into the woods (you’re running out). It is always darkest before the dawn, because the first moment it begins to get brighter, is by definition, the beginning of dawn (though it may be several hours before full daylight). Unfortunately, the aphorism doesn’t tell us how dark it will be before things turn around.


So let’s hope (or not) that this is not the literal end of the line… otherwise the water is going to fill up the cave and everyone drowns… or maybe that is the end.  Quick cut to Cherry, “I wonder why Mark hasn’t called… it’s not like him” (at least under the Allen Regime…)

A shout-out to James Allen



And a shout out to faithful reader Terry who just offered, through comments, a link to a letter by Mr. Allen himself, in response to a Letter to the Editor of The Washington Post:

“You may have seen this already (letter to the editor of the Washington Post by James Allen, but if not, then here it is:”

…be sure to follow the link to the original letter that lambastes the current state of the strip, especially the story line…

But bravo, Jim.  I know I spend every morning with coffee in hand looking for ways to “comment” on what I refer to as “The Trailverse,” or “the Verse” for short… And I have, on balance, been fairly negative of late, with the extremely long journey to the center of the earth…  But I think I also understand how difficult it is to keep this kind of thing moving along…  I guess we wouldn’t be shouting out if we didn’t deep down care for Mark Trail and what you bring…  keep swinging- you’ll find your groove…

What Th-?

Last time I checked this was a family strip…  I dare not even comment on today’s rendering of Carina, as Mark looks away in disgust and horror… and reluctantly answers her comment.  Have you no shame, girl?


Hard to tell in the background what Gabe is doing or what direction he is heading… sort of hunched over in simian form, is he leading? Is he bringing up the rear?

A crashing sound you say?  almost like surf?  Maybe they have walked all the way to the Gulf of California and the Baja Peninsula

No it’s not going to be fine!

“My face is melting!!” shouted Carina as Mark lays on two of his best, most tried and true clip-art looks… Mark “has faith…” Ladies and Gentlemen…  Well Hallelujah, Brothers and Sisters, Mark has done found his-self some sal-vation…


Well, they had better get themselves out of that cave system…  we need to find out what’s going on with Jose and Jefe… remember them?  the coyotes?  Making a killing trafficking humans north to Trump-land?  OK, I know that’s a potentially unsettling thought…   but these three need to re-join the World of the Sun in order to find out what is going on !

I gotta tell ya…

I am at a loss.  I can’t remember the last time that Gabe was featured in three consecutive panels, (and I’m not going to look…) but it’s really off-putting.


So what comes to mind?  A random scene from the classic Planes Trains and Automobiles, when the super up-tight prissy Steve Martin character dresses down the lovable, oafish but affable John Candy character, “When telling a story it always helps if there is a point to it…” Are you listening, James Allen??

I really feel sorry for Carina…

It’s hard enough being a girl in the modern world- societal expectations regarding body size and shape… But unless her jeans are full of water, her backside just grew immensely in proportion to the rest of her…  Not to mention reading Mark all wrong these last hours/days/weeks- yes, he’s a happily married many that wants nothing to do with you


So as Mark keeps his distance from Carina’s marauding tongue, he mentions Gabe… and no sooner does he do that, when Gabe comes schussing down the face of the unexpected and unnamed falls…  Nice that he’s been able to maintain his scream all the way down… what better way to announce your arrival??