Could their Skin BE any More WHITE?

I know that the old Box-o-64 from Crayola had a color “Flesh” in it, and we certainly know that’s wrong by any measure, but the colorists would do well to find one of those and apply it to these characters!  That would be “peachy…”

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Good heavens, he’s a malcontent isn’t he?  But by the look on Rusty’s face he sure has it for Marnie!  You can almost see the little hearts popping around his head.  Not since his heart was broken by the lovely Mara in the Ancient Artifact adventure, the girl/woman of indiscernible age, he has been pining ever since…

More Fun at Lost Forest!!

Sorry Campers!  It’s been a wild ride on the Stagecoach the last couple of days!

I see that Cherry entered in to offer words of wisdom- “Mark, don’t ‘F’ this up, OK?”  Oh, and I see the Producer/ Girlfriend has a name!!  Marnie!  That’s nice!

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Cut to the dock… Where Cartwright continues to display absolute disdain for his hosts- “Kid”  again with “Kid.”  Never thought I would defend Rusty, but, hey, Jerkwad, he has a name!!  It’s Rusty!  But wait, there’s more!

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You need a filter, sir!  On that Pie-hole!!  Do you not realize (or care, I suppose) that Rusty’s biological father was a raging alcoholic that beat him and his mom?  Do you even know ‘thing one’ about the man you are going to play on the big screen?  What a rube!

Moving right along…

We are skipping through the space-time continuum in a way that is almost jarring…  A suggested lunch apparently is served and unappreciated, only to leave the hosts disappointed in the guest’s bad behavior…

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I honestly don’t remember Lost Forest being a lake-front property, but hey, why not…  If there’s a lake, why not build right up next to it.  So does this mean that Rusty is taking Cartwright on the “Grand Tour” of the grounds?  I am sure that’s going well…  And where in the name of All That’s Good is Doc?  Has he been slaughtered, hooked and smoked?  At a retired Vet’s convention?  Haven’t seen his craggy face in a long time!

Forced Idle Chatter…

And suddenly we find ourselves out in the Parking lot…

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What difference does that make, Cherry?  Boy, you are nosy!

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A local hotel?  By the look on his face, Action Boy ain’t buyin’ it!  I guess one can’t be too careful what with the paparazzi and stalkers about!  To bad you are in that ridiculous stretch limousine.  That doesn’t draw attention at all!

Lunch?  Luncheon?  How exceedingly proper… no chance of anyone getting drunk and rowdy or overstaying their welcome!

Rusty show you around?!  Really?  I suppose he spends more time there than anyone except Doc, speaking of whom, where is the old codger?  He seems to have been strategically left out of this story line so far…

White, meet White

Again with the “Mr. Trail…”

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“Exciting for the Local People…” what a dick!  Probably something you might think, but oh yea… there are few to no inner monologues in Mark Trail!!

And Enter Rusty… all Gob-smacked and Starry-eyed…

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He told you his name, you asshole… but still you go with the always available and condescending “Kid…”  Looking over his shoulder as if already walking away.  Nice work, artist in residence.

Who dat? (Part 2)

… and where are they?  Some random Ballroom at a Downtown Marriott?

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Once again (and I sense that we have another Allen-replacement tryout in the making…) Mark doesn’t even look like himself!!

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…until he does again.  Clip art?  But, ummm… Mark didn’t write the film…  As we (or Joe Soucheray) would say, “Reporting isn’t what it used to be…”

Wow! Quick Pivot!

Just as we are focusing on the Hollywoods, a Bighorn Sheep takes front stage…  Not unusual, except for the fact that the state of Georgia, the location of Lost Forest, remember, is not exactly in the species’ natural range…

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…only to have it sacrificed on the alter of the favorite story type for Trailians everywhere!  Poaching!

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Oh my!  Bighorn down!  And who is this guy?  Clearly up to no good!  He’s not even very good at picking assistants with henchman-like names- “Digby!”  Ha!

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Although he does look like a Digby…  And thanks Bald Guy in Charge for establishing that you are breaking the law!!  We’d certainly be lost without that data point…  Is that a hacksaw in hand?  Is that still the preferred method of de-horning a Bighorn?

We are Sooooooo back…

Strap in, Campers!  Classic Mark Trail Cheese (served up with Ritz Crackers) on the horizon!!

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Oh Mark, always the voice of reason, always the sober one…  I mean, have you EVER taken a drink?  Not that it matters of course… Enter the stretch with the ridiculous wheels and low profile tires… complete with Hollywood Action Hero Jeremy Cartwright!

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Cue the Girlfriend/ Producer!  Blonde, of course, and expression as vacant as the face of Cutter’s Bluff!

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“Mr.” Trail!  Twice!!  This is hilarious!  What makes Mar Trail “tick?”  Figure that one out and you will have solved one of the greatest mysteries of all time!!  Notice too, how Jeremy’s head blends into the vehicle interior!  Sort of like that Pirates of the Caribbean movie where the pirates had all started to become the ship!

Looks like Mark has got the ol’ tingle up his leg…

Oh, Mark, you selfless hunk, always thinking ahead and of others…

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Cherry is about to take the news well…

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…yes, just think, you can finally earn your keep, Mark.  You have been freeloading for decades now and finally your ship is coming in!

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…”one of your stories…”  How cute is that?  Out of the words of foundlings comes the truth!  Mark tells stories!  Based loosely on the “facts” that he scrounges up while on assignment, only to come home saying, “Dang, I wish I had bothered to take some pictures and jot down a few notes…”

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How does Rusty know about Jeremy Cartwright?  Do they go to movies?  I don’t see a satellite dish on the cabin roof…  Perhaps he streams the films on his phone?  And how do we know that Mark is going to have an actual part/role in this feature?  I suppose it wouldn’t be the first time a writer/academic (read Indiana Jones) got into a scrape or two…

Here they come!

Can’t wait to see “Miss Spencer…”  And the only other “Cartwrights” I have known is from the show “Bonanza” where the family owned most of (probably) Montana and Wyoming…

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Ah, the court of public opinion in the age of Social Media.  Say or do one bad thing and you are CANCELED!

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As opposed what?  An advance team from a film shoot just showing up at Mark’s doorstep?  That’s mighty big of you, Bill Ellis!!

As for James Allen leaving the strip, we shall have to keep an open mind.  Clearly all the artistic tryouts over the last months were epic fails, at least in the tradition of Elrod and Dodd…  But as we said many times, it’s the writing that had suffered so, and the interminably long story arcs the most frustrating aspect.  Not saying that the art is easy, but the world is full of talent.  Not sure what this asset is worth to The Syndicate, but perhaps throwing a little more money at it (finding an artist and a writer…) would yield more positive results.