Uh oh… Looks like Doc has a past…

Sins of the father and all that… left for the children to clean up? Except Doc is still alive??

Handle business?? What? We are about to meet up with the seamy underbelly of the Davis clan? Nestled in Florida? Where Mark happens to be going to research a story that could well reveal parts of his past? This has all the makings of an Allen yarn, notably the one about smuggling artifacts, where we weren’t quite sure who the bad guys were until the end… But I hate to draw those comparisons quite this quickly. We are, after all, mere days/ weeks into this. Prelude, as it were…

Oh dear… more drama?

I’ll say one thing… this strip hops around quite a bit. No moss growing on it, as they say…

We go from Andy eating Rusty’s flipflops to Cherry’s dad- Doc Davis. Who is much more, ummm… well-fed in this version of him… Anyway, what do they have to tell Rusty? Is Doc going to join the French Foreign Legion? Run for Governor? By the look on Cherry’s face, though, it would seem to be life threatening, which is odd since I don’t think we want to kill off characters in the first go-round, do we??

Tacky Tourist Traps!

Well, Campers, we are moving right along here. Mark in Florida, Cherry and Rusty still in Georgia, getting ready to hit the road and meet up with Mark. That’s certainly different. Gone are the days when Mark goes off on his own, I guess…

What th-? What is that in panel 2? A dog? Is that Andy? I guess it is, but c’mon… need to work on that one a little…

Flip-flops in your pocket? Huh? How old are you, Rusty? Doc=Pops/Poppy? I thought maybe Rusty (Russ) was referring to his no-good birth-father…

Man-o-Man-o… What now?

Well, I guess I will have to take into account the Sunday offering… in that it’s now become part of the story line… This morning’s strip would have made no sense without taking in the following:

Begs the question, however, as to who is shooting the video? Some random stranger? If Mark is on camera and starring in it, then who is behind the lens?

Mark needs affirmation! And validation! Constantly! And where exactly is he? Walking out of a roadside rest stop? That sign says “feed pond” which looks like a tourist attraction… Feed the Tarpon! This was a popular stop in Florida once when my kids were that age…

You know who else is going to need to get “Insta-Friendly?” Your faithful scribe… thanks for the comments on how to find Kelly Welly’s Twitter account… She lookin’ pretty bad-ass…

I guess Kelly Welly was the spark Mark needed…

OK, for those uninitiated, guessing there might be a few, Kelly was a regular character in the “old” Mark Trail. She wished for nothing else than to be Mark Trail, live his life, write stories like him and be the one on Bill Ellis’ rolodex… But all she ever accomplished was to be a foil in various plots, where Mark was already on the case and she’d end up needing to be rescued or some such thing…

Flash forward and Kelly’s the one with a bazillion followers on all social media platforms and Mark is the relic… so far, it doesn’t appear that @fishdonteven is a real handle, at least I’m not getting any hits…

Good to see that Mark is back in the saddle… I guess it only took a little consult from Ralph the Rat Snake… with a little humor on the side.

And the abuse continues!

I tell ya… Mark ain’t gettin’ no respect, campers…

All about Mark? Well of course it is! His name is on the strip! Always has been! And apparently he will continue to receive the abuse he probably doesn’t really deserve, unless one is in the camp of “all that has gone before must simply be evil, for now we are woke?” In a world were the center has broken and probably will not return, are we to endure conflict at every turn in the “new” Mark Trail? Not sure I need this…

Karma is a Bitch!

Well, well, Welly… Kelly is an Influencer, it appears.

No doubting now what era we are in… no confusing signs of yesteryear to conflict with modern accoutrements… Here we see a screen on a smartphone and a reference to “followers…” Internet famous. Anxiety over not having enough “likes.” As Mark continues to pay for past indiscretions and un-woke moments, this is looking more like Dickens’ Christmas Carol- Mark being visited by Ghosts to remind him of the life he has led and is likely to lead if he doesn’t change his ways. Boy, this is going to go over like a lead balloon!

The Return of Kelly Welly!

To start with, don’t motorcycles, especially crotch-rockets, go “Beeeep!” as opposed to Honk!?”

Kelly Welly, for the uninitiated or forgetful, is always “competing with Mark, trying to “scoop” him on stories that he has been assigned. She is a perpetual thorn in Mark’s side, placing him in compromising situations, always suggesting that there might be a “thing” going on between them…

What always occurred to me (in the old Mark Trail) is that poor Kelly was just a lady trying to break into what was traditionally a man’s place- the overly male-dominated and testosterone-infused world of journalism… That Mark always “got the assignment” even though she was eager, available and for all we know, qualified to do the work…

Troubled Mark!

Boy, when I said brooding introspection, I wasn’t kidding…

What deep secrets lie hidden in the Trail-brain? Again, in the past, the Trail Brain could be better described as “reptilian,” not as fully formed and conflicted as we are witnessing here. Now we have a Namesake Character lousy with doubt, and it would seem, remorse…

Scruples, ethics, standards, character… these were never issues back in the day. Remember WWMD? Well, what is Mark doing now?

Mixed up Mark!

Mark Trail, 2020 version… a man deeply aware of his own feelings, prone to brooding and introspection… and a wife who calls him Sugar, no less!

Cherry must really have the green thumb! Looks like she is able to grow plants in Portland cement!

Mark… C’mon now Mark… What aren’t you telling us?