Where have we heard this before?

Mark must have one heck of a hangover to look as bad as he does. Well, one thing I think is pretty interesting: and that is that Rivera does not seem to be content with limiting herself to a strictly linear storytelling technique. Instead, she seems to be interested in weaving various and ongoing storylines all together, kind of like how things work in real life. Or soap operas.

So once again, Cricket Bro gets involved in Mark’s life. Both he and professor Sharp have already made brief appearances during the current zebra muscle story, but they we’re linked more to Diana then to Mark. We don’t know if they are connected in some way with the zebra mussels, but there seems to be no connection so far. So, yes what is this great idea? And given their past relationship, why would Cricket Bro want to pass on anything positive to Mark and why would Mark believe anything Cricket Bro has to say?

Here is the Weekly Recap and Sunday Nature Talk

We left Mark the previous week planning Operation Poinsettia. This past week, we watched Caroline and hubby Honest Ernest complain to Violet Cheshire about Cherry’s interference with their attempt to eradicate the hive of bees. Through guileless honesty or naïve ignorance, instead of just letting Cherry move the bees and then waiting for the check in the mail, the couple blamed Cherry for their failure, provoking Violet to revoke the contract and withhold their pay. Cherry, who happened to stumble into this ad-hoc anger management session, was easily suborned by Violet (with an unspoken agreement to overlook Cherry’s actions) into offering false testimony to support Violet’s underhanded reasoning. This exposed a willingness in Cherry to put her job over her integrity. But this collusion now lays her open to extortion, if not dismissal, for being corrupt.

Ironically, it is Caroline and Ernest who have the moral high ground here, however contemptable they personally are. They had a (presumably) legal contract and attempted to fulfill it, only to be stymied (on possibly illegal grounds) by Cherry and Mark. Instead of accepting payment for something they did not do, they sought redress with Violet. They wind losing out, but getting a half-hearted hint for more jobs. And Cherry thinks she has saved her job. My question to all this is whether Jules Rivera had this in mind. While you ponder that, check this out:

okay, not the usual “let’s talk about pandas” routine, but a replay of the blockchain-nft connection to climate change, brought up several weeks ago when Diana was fretting over the misuse of her salary by her so-called friend and employer, Professor Bee Sharp. It’s quite right and fine to bring up the subject, one that I think most of us truly were not aware of. And that’s good. But it would also have been helpful for some suggestions for what we can do about it.

Score one for The Dagger. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Nice snark, Diana! Okay, maybe Mark has been smoking a little too much nature. What is his plan? Does he get everybody to dress up like poinsettia sharks and swim around to scare off the cargo ships? Do they dress up like old-school pirates and threaten to hijack the next ship that comes through? Cargo ships do not ply rivers for fun, but for business with inland ports that are not usually approachable from other waterways. Thus, does Mark want to kill off the zebra mussels or the shipping company?

Still, I’m intrigued. Remember, the earlier actions of the Duck Duck Goose company suggest that they have something else (likely illegal) they are more concerned about than zebra mussels. Yet, Mark and Diana are not aware of that fact. In reality, the shipping company would have already filed injunctions against Mark and the magazine to stop this investigation. So, any ideas what Mark has in mind? Submit your thoughts in the comments section and we’ll see who is closest.

Maybe this guy is just trying to find a place to get some pancakes?

When we last saw Cherry (a few weeks ago), she was marching with her band of gardener commandoes to check out the bee statue at the Sunny Soleil Society gardens. And Mark was sitting at a picnic table with Cliff and Diana Daggers, hoping to work things out between themselves. Yet, here are our two lovebirds, working together, as if nothing else was going on. What’s with that? With luck, we’ll at least see what Cherry and her group will do by this coming Saturday.

But, what’s this? Some clown in a yellow jump suit has driven up, billowing snide commentary like the typical B-movie bully who thinks he is both funny and dangerous. Until he discovers he picked a fight with a woman who happens to be standing next to Jean-Claude Van Damme.

At first, I thought this might be one of the thugs sent by the Duck Duck Goose shipping company to persuade Mark to back off. But, that would be integrating the two storylines. As I wrote before, I think that would be a great idea; yet it doesn’t have that feel. My guess is that Mr. Yellow Jumpsuit is the extermination business husband of Caroline (a board member of the SSS), who has come around to “put the little woman in her place”, as it were. Clearly, his truck has that “business” look and it appears to have something on its top. Possibly a stereotypical “bug” figure. And that’s why Mr. Yellow Jumpsuit also hides the logo on the side of the work van. The Big Reveal is on Tuesday.

Sunday Delay

Because of prior commitments, I will not be able to post the Sunday blog until Sunday afternoon. Please enjoy your new-found free time to sleep in; attend the religious service of your inclination; mow the lawn; or finish reading that book before it has to go back to the library. You know which one I’m talking about.

Or, you can while away the time looking at this field of dots. Some people think that if you look at it hard and long enough, you will see the ancient Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in Rome. Other people think that prolonged viewing will just give you a headache. Personally, I think this could be one of the game sheets for the Tokyo Olympics “Connect the Dots” finals (won by the team from Djibouti). Well, you’ve got some time on your hands to figure it out.

But fear not, Faithful Readers: Mark Trail will soon return!

Tuesday: The Brogurt hits the fan?

Time and space compression is at work once again as we see Cricket Bro and Mark magically transport into the alleged “complex” web of hallways where the Laptop Duo is attempting to make a getaway. Never mind that the company’s so-called Security (the person known as “Dare”?) has apparently disappeared. In any event, Mark adds to his expected growing list of possible criminal charges of accessory to theft and fraud by assaulting Cricket Bro, who suddenly speaks like a 1940s film noir character.

So where are Killer Bee, Diana, and Dare in all of this action? Did none of them think to come running when the alarms went off, or are they off to their appointed “battle stations”, ready to intervene if needed?

Today’s strip is a great improvement in artistic quality, with regard to style, staging, and overall effect. The off-kilter point-of-view in panel 1 underscores the urgency and anxiety of the current crisis. Cricket Bro in panel 2 is well-delineated in a three-quarter, foreshortened pose. Though Mark’s corralling of Cricket Bro in panel 3 gives the impression that the Herp Hacienda team now have a free pass to escape, it may be an illusion. Or delusion.

After all, Mark has to also escape. And there are still three formidable forces for Mark to deal with, excluding Cricket Bro. What will they do now?

Oh, about that software:  Why would Cricket Bro leave it on a docked laptop, if it was so important? In any realistic situation, the software would have already been uploaded to a server or other secure storage devices and the laptop drive wiped clean. In fact, it would have been proper that all of the laptops were connected to a server while being used.

Now, should we assume Jules is just not cognizant of such things? Hard to believe in this day and age. So, is there another angle here? Is the software issue merely a blind? A ruse? If so, for whom?

An Adult Finally Enters the Room

Boy, are these people dumb. I mean, d-u-m-b. They have no plan and no plan for a plan, yet they deliberately try to sideline the only person around <ahem!> who has a chance to help them. Just why they are so concerned about keeping Mark in the dark is still a mystery to me. Surely, they cannot think he is Cricket Bro’s ally!? Even Reptile Dude should know that. Yet, they act as if they’ve been caught planning a surprise party for Mark.

Still, I’m still slightly bothered by the fact that everybody is wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants in Palm Springs, California. Based on the evidence of this past Monday’s strip about the sun setting shortly after 7:30, I used my inner Sherlock Holmes to deduce this story is happening in May. Should be pretty warm by then. Nit-picking again? Of course, clothes in comic strips are as much a part of the character’s identification as the face, like Dagwood’s single-button business shirt or Charlie Brown’s zig-zag polo shirt. Anyway, Mark could at least roll up his sleeves…!

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.

If you can tuna fish, you can tune a guitar!

As we turn to today’s installment, Mark is being chauffeured to a location out in La Tuna Canyon (near Eastern Malibu) by eco-rapper Reptilionairre and his pet iguana, Sherman, to help shoot a new eco-rap video. Let’s watch the action…

Okay, not a lot of real action, so far. We are now into Rivera’s second story. The first story was quite the ordeal for many long-time fans of Mark Trail. For those who were scandalized by the significant differences in the art, writing, and personalities in this updated Trailverse, our second story has definitely toned down the “in your face!” attitude. So far.

Looks like Mark is discovering that “going to LA” doesn’t necessarily mean “going into” LA. Mark’s ability to deliver an off-the-cuff sitcom-style tuna pun—while hosting an iguana on his head—assures us that Mark can still be master of the moment, even while his preconceptions are being challenged. And it’s a good thing Mark already has a relationship with snakes, as well. I’m anxious to see if Herp Hacienda compares favorably with the rich and luxurious landscape of the area.

But I don’t recognize the specific type of hawk we see in the strip. Do you? There are over 270 species! Dammit, Jim, I’m a blogger, not an ornithologist!