The Longest Day?

So, all of the following happened over the course of a single day!?

  • Cherry and Rusty took the light rail into downtown Portland and spent “the day” sightseeing, including lunch and visiting a bookstore.
  • Meanwhile, “the four men” (including Happy Trail) drove to an animal rescue site funded, in small part, by the two brothers.
  • While there, they received word that the lumber mill was on fire.
  • They made their way to the lumber mill, or at least, to a bluff overlooking the site.
  • Somewhere along the line, Happy got separated from Mark, Bro #1 and Bro #2.
  • Happy apparently texted Cherry about this unfolding crisis (perhaps in the drive over to the fire), which caused her and Rusty to leave Portland and return.
  • Meanwhile, Mark got disgusted with the brothers’ inability to do anything, so he ran down the hill to “save the workers”, only to disdover Dad has somehow beaten him down there and is up in a tower.
  • Powerlines came down and lay across the grounds, blocking some employees from escaping.
  • Mark climbed the tower to get Dad down. But they determine that the power to the lines can be turned off if Mark makes it to the power station through the fire.
  • Of course, Mark found it, turned the power off, and saved the employees (and Dad).
  • Everybody loves Mark. Even Cherry somehow showed up for the post-crisis celebration.
  • Wood mill employees complained to Mark about poor and dangerous working conditions.
  • And now it is dark, with Rusty all alone, reading the magazine he bought in the bookstore.
  • A bear walks by Rusty’s bedroom. Will the bear test Mark’s Sunday thesis that most monster sightings are just normal animals, such as bears, not being seen clearly?

Well, I have to agree. This certainly has been a long day!

This is a fine “how do you do”.

So, is Rivera building the case that Mark Trail suspects Pappy Happy of suffering from early-stage Alzheimer’s, making Mark feel it necessary to butt into his dad’s affairs to protect him? Or maybe Mark thinks his dad is just the gullible type that takes people at their word? Then again, Happy did make a business agreement with those two losers, so he might have a point. Dad deserves to get a little bruised.

In other news, looks like the applause has quieted down, this being the Saturday installment. Mark’s rescue has already passed into local history and legend. Is it time to move on?

Where do we go from here? The Trailverse sometimes works in mysterious ways. Maybe Rusty’s Seaside Specter started the fire to chase people away. That’s a classic “monster” kind of thing to do. And that could be a great way to bring the Trail family together again, for a really special vacation.

Two for the price of one?

I seem to be following in some footsteps of founder Dennis when he sometimes posted multiple strips at one time, probably for a similar reason to mine:  I got busy and couldn’t get back in time. Today is therefore a twofer.

It is clear from these two and the prior days that Rivera likes to spread one event across a week’s worth of strips. This week, it is the post-rescue analysis. I’m not sure why these workers stuck around in a work environment they knew to be dangerous, unless their personal situations were bleak. But to develop the plot or at least provide a suitable stage for Mark to exercise one of his virtues, these guys had to be innocent victims of the Burn Brothers’ ineptitude and malfeasance.

But why unload on Mark? Happy Trai had been here before and was happy to leave things as they were, rather than force the issue with the Bunko Brothers. Why? And when did Cherry develop her Brooklyn patois (“…minding these guys’ business…”)? Mark’s closing bromide would have sounded better had he conjugated “run” as a gerund, to match “doing”.

Woodworkers!? No. They are sawyers, not cabinet makers!

Sigh! It seems as if Rivera is going to pad this post-rescue vignette out for the rest of the week. Today, we have the common TV/movie meme of the tough-looking dude with an aggressive approach forcing Mark on the defensive, only to be gob smacked when the Big Lug suddenly professes his undying gratitude for the rescue. And never mind that they didn’t get out earlier, when it was possible.

So, who is next in the appreciation line? Maybe the beavers. But more likely, the Bro Brothers, but they will probably be more upset over the loss of lumber.

Fire inspector Mark Trail is on the job!

Calling Jerry Mathers! So, I avoided the obvious title for today’s post. Mark misspeaks in panel 2, as beavers go after the utility poles, not the power lines. Beavers do move around, so it’s possible the mill was there first. And with a large surrounding forest, it isn’t that likely the beavers would go after treated utility poles instead of normal tree trunks. But it happens. Would be easy enough to wrap fencing around the base of utility poles in places like this to deter beaver logging.

Turns out my fence idea is hardly new and is used to protect regular trees, as well! ( I wonder if Mark will recommend that strategy to the Scam Brothers, or will he instead berate them for their animal insensitivity? Mark certainly can get a bit self-righteous and over-the-top.

Nothing to see here, folks, move along now.


In today’s episode, everything settles back into normal space-time. As a fire militia has finally shown up to put out the fire, Mark and Cherry revert to their standard husband-and-wife/parent roles. This means Mark also regresses to his normal Clueless Mark persona.

Note that this “clueless” aspect of Mark’s personality generally reflects the “clueless dad” character found in family TV shows of the 90’s and beyond, such as “The Simpsons”, “Married with Children”, “Malcolm in the Middle”, and “Everybody loves Raymond”.

As a point of comparison, Vintage Mark Trail found his contemporary parallel in the “Wise Father Figure” of 1950s TV programs, such as “Father Knows Best”, “Leave it to Beaver”, and “Bonanza”. Of course, Vintage Mark Trail has been endlessly ridiculed for his apparent lack of Quality Time with Rusty. I’ll admit to making grand generalizations here, but I’m just looking for possible ambient influences in Rivera’s changes to Mark Trail, such as what she might have seen on TV while growing up.

Mark likes a Cherry on top?

[slightly edited] Turn off the power and all is right with the world, huh? Did somebody/everybody forget there is a big fire all around them? BTW, did anybody call the forest service? Anyway, as we observe Mark hastily run towards the sudden appearance of Cherry, we also unhappily observe the appearance of hastily drawn art today.

Still, at least Mark took the initiative to face danger in order to save the workers (and his Dad). Behold! This means that Mark completed his first solo hero adventure, as far as I can tell, since Rivera took over. Not a big adventure, but an adventure all the same.

Now how did Cherry get to the mill in the first place, as there was no other vehicle at the Bros’ house? It’s a bit far-fetched to believe that the Bozo Brothers went to get her. They’re probably busy trying to figure out a way to blame Mark for the fire.

An amazing array of action and accomplishment?

Panel 1 presents us with the “Heroic Mark in Radiance” aura, paraphrasing a manga reference (I think) to Dragonball Z, something I noted in prior submissions as far back as April 2021. It ties in nicely with various Pokémon references in the strip that one of our readers has pointed out to us from time to time. Given Rivera’s presumed age and avocation, she would certainly have watched these animations while growing up.

How did all of those “trapped” employees wind up in the clearing by the power station in the first place? Did they follow Mark? Perhaps we must assume all of this stuff is located between the downed powerlines and the flurry of flaming foliage. Whatever the answer, Mark regains some of his former hero status points for his unselfish action and accomplishment (especially compared to the Useless Brothers). Finally, take note, readers: We have our first actual adventure in this story. Let’s hope there is more.

Keeping in touch

Okay, this is another of Rivera’s digs at the Entitlement Bros and the kind of self-absorbed people they are meant to represent. You can also tell that from his pose and accessorizing. Just how or where Jadsen came up with his own walkie-talkie is one of those things that just occurs out of convenience for the story, like the hardware in the fire tower.

By the way, with the heat that the fire must be generating, don’t you think Mark would have shed that long-sleeve flannel shirt he always wears? I sure hope he has ass-kicking deodorant.

Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

We can’t be sure of the actual topography of this area, and perhaps we shouldn’t be too concerned. Jon Wick gets away with a lot of stuff and we accept it for what it is. Why should this be different? As with any fire, we should assume that it’s going to spread and pop up in different places. After all, this is an adventure story! Still, I can’t help remarking that those are pretty darned tall people in the background.

Mark might have taken one of those employees along; they are certain to know the layout far better than he could. Then Mark could not only locate and turn off the electricity, but for his second act he could rescue the employee on the way back when that person would be sure to suffer a twisted ankle or something worse. A double-hero trophy for Mark! That might have been too much, though. Perhaps Rivera didn’t want to wander into fantasy.