Just wait till I set up my acoustic coupler!

In action films it seems that the villain is always destined to waste time describing his/her/their true motives for taking over the world, the country, or the local pizzeria; meanwhile giving the captured hero time to break loose, destroy the villain, and try to save the movie. So it’s not enough for Aparna to steal (back) the laptop (which she doesn’t own) with the program (that she was paid to write for Cricket Bro). She has to take time to wipe Cricket Bro’s face with her own justification. This waste of time should give Bro’s cohorts plenty of time to figure things out and come to the rescue. Odd isn’t it: Who are the “bad guys” here? In spite of Cricket Bro taking away Aparna’s righteous indignation in panel 2 by revealing that his so-called insult was just his way of firing people, Aparna didn’t take the hint. She just continues with her vengeance panel 3.

Getting a bit nerdy here for a minute: What the hell is Aparna doing using the antiquated, unsecured File Transfer Protocol to upload her program to “the Internet”? For one thing, what server is she trying to send to? The transfer can’t simply go to “the Internet”; that’s not how FTP works. If it was going up to any server, it would normally be the Cricket Bro’s server. I suppose we can assume the entire building is a wired hotspot. So when did she have time to log on? Wouldn’t her account have been disabled when she was fired?!

Regarding FTP, there are several modern alternatives she should be using, but we need not get into those. After all, this is not a computer science blog. Suffice to say, it is a curious trope Rivera uses; and one that most readers will likely not even recognize. As this is a family comic strip for general readers, Rivera could have simply used a more recognizable abbreviation, such as XFER to keep nerds like me quiet. But then again, we know that Rivera likes to send up her readers.

Back to the story:  I suspect that there will be a full-court showdown by Saturday between the two groups, before jumping back to Cherry and her brother’s swine. That should make for an interesting week to come!

Finishing on a visual note, we are back (I believe) to a well-constructed set of panels, very nicely drawn and composed. Notice how Cricket Bro’s face is darkened in panel 3. Is this symbolic of his “dark nature” or simply a means of making a contrast to the background? Instead of using old-fashioned Ben Day dots or even simple hatching, Rivera uses a pattern of mixed line types, which adds more texture, though it makes no attempt to suggest facial contours. In this particular case, it would probably come across as too busy.

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!

Welcome, George!

Welcome to George, the DAILY Trail’s most ardent and faithful follower and now contributor! Had I know it was so easy to add different roles, this would have happened sooner. Yes, there are many demands on my time these days, but that’s a good problem to have! More than that, however, was the desire to take a position on the other side! Thanks George, and well done with your first post… remember, it’s a marathon and not a sprint!!

I will add, however, that this is not the first time we have met up with the Beaver… Witness

A Series of Unfortunate Events…

I guess we can call this LFF- Lost Forest Filler… as Mark runs into one thing after another! But Cherry! Water alone won’t de-stink your man and his best friend! And why is Andy on a leash?! Completely unacceptable!

And now we harken back to the last Old-school Trail we saw in the papers… Mark choosing Andy over fame and glory. Aren’t we hopscotching the time-space continuum a bit here, though??

Oh, darn!! Now to the scene where Mark learns of his true reputation… But hey! Flapjacks!!

Mark, if you think of the rabble as “Villagers” they will always turn on you- sometimes with pitchforks and lit torches!! And now back to Amy Lee? I guess we’d better get used to that. No more Bill Ellis- No more Magazine with a defined pension… Now that Mark is in the permanent gig economy!

LA! Confidential! Ralph the Hog Snake looks nonplussed… But is Mark allowed to cross state lines while he is still a wanted man in Florida??

Hog Wild!!

I guess we know where that phrase came from!!

That, and El Chapo’s Hippo Collection!

But we are finally home! Let’s see, we started on this new odyssey October 13th… and it’s now March 2nd, a new year, and that makes it an even 140 days! Yikes!! That’s James Allen territory, but at least not in line with the cave adventure…

Good Dog Daddy! That picture of Andy in panel 3 is, well, a little off-putting! At least he returns to St. Bernard in panel 4. Let’s hope Mark can get a shave and a shower, and heal a bit. The Article! An Article must be written!! And with the magic of the comics page, we skip over that toil, and behold:

Words heal, campers. Confession is good for the soul. Never too late to redeem oneself!

The house is much bigger on the inside!!

Is it me, or did we suddenly travel to a new house? The Modest Ranch we encountered upon the green-wood-paneled Station Wagon’s arrival has suddenly blossomed into a grand foyer (pronounced foy-ay) complete with trophies… surprised there isn’t a stuffed manatee somewhere…

Meanwhile, Jolly and his daughter, who happens to be an attorney, plead their case about the “taking” and discrimination vis-à-vis their land…

Ha! Plot thickens! You are a mean old chiseler, Happy Trail! Admit it!

Apparently Mark want nothing to do with what is going on right now, even though it’s the reason for his being there- to write an article…

But what Mark does determine causes Happy to go all zombie in the eyes… and admit that he is mean and alone in this world…

Like I said, Mark and Happy must not talk much… A lot of water under the bridge, so to speak, and years of not seeing each other… could this be the beginning? Maybe even the end of this little yarn? Nice (O)possum!