Rivera brings the adventure to a close, but I’m confused.

The composition of panel 3 is well-designed, but since when did the Trails use venetian blinds!? Ugh.

Anyway, I have to turn to you, dear reader. I’m pretty sure Rivera deliberately makes Bill Ellis look and sound like a clueless corporate suit most of the time. But what the hell is Ellis (who looks like a marionette half the time) talking about when he mentions “those campers”? Can’t be the group of slackers and grifters at the Retreat, some of whom actually wanted to kill Mark.

And please tell me, dear reader, what Rivera is alluding to when she refers to Andy as Mark’s “Best Boy”, which we all know is an electrical or lighting assistant on film sets. I don’t get it.


You think this is something? Wait for the big Saturday Close!

Well, I have to give Rivera some credit for at least depicting Mark with signs of recent violence and damage. As I recall, the former version of Mark Trail usually got by with just a bit of mussed hair in most of his physical encounters (there were a few exceptions). Too bad Mark didn’t get his trampy beard scraped off in all of that excitement.

Okay, we’ve heard about several of the participants in Mark’s latest folly, but nothing much of Sid Stump, Holly Folly, or the Psycho Bros, perhaps the two who really should be locked up.

In closing, a request to Jules Rivera: No more third-rate puns, please! Can you at least paws them for a while?

Rivera continues to wrap up the loose ends

Okay. I stand corrected, again. Rivera actually is going against tradition and trying to shine a light on the story’s aftermath.  Good for her! In this case, I hope it is not a hint about Mark’s next adventure, for reasons I have explained previously.

Now are we to believe that Sharp and Chedderson allowed Mark to hang around the hospital room so he could listen in while they put together an unethical and possibly illegal deal? Sorry, I’m not buying it. Mark would have had to be snooping to get this information. But Mark isn’t that kind of guy, is he? Well, he is a reporter, after all, so of course he would snoop!

In the end, it was just about another techno fruitcake

Once again, Bill Ellis seems to have not even read Mark’s report, unless Mark omitted the shenanigans that took place on this adventure. And Mark is being very modest with Ellis. Why?

Mark must have a short—or selective—memory. Sid Stump’s knock-down temper tantrum when Mark asked about emergency care following the cliff collapse seems to have dropped by the wayside, as did Jeb Jeder’s own testimony on Stump. For that matter, it was never explained just why all of Mark’s previous “villains” happened to show up at this resort. That includes the Shipping Magnate and his assistant, both of whom made an appearance and quickly disappeared from the story.

As far as Mark’s warnings about AI are concerned, frankly, the evidence is not there. Sure, Jeb went on and on, but in the end, he wound up doubting his own research. And Mark is hardly a technology expert.

The debriefing continues!

“Honey? This ad in True Tech magazine sounds like an interesting vacation idea: ‘Plan a stay at Sid Stump’s Bet Your Life Resort!’”

“But Dear, that sounds a bit extreme, doesn’t it? It must be a joke. Right?”

“Aw, Pat, don’t be such a downer. Just listen to this description!”

‘– Enjoy morning runs (whether you want to or not) as you try to avoid wild bears scrounging the resort grounds looking for food scraps and people slower than you!
— Experience excitement and romance hiking on the Cliffs of Broken Hearts and Legs!
— Have a chance to take lunch or get into an impromptu fight with our founder and resident sociopath, Sid Stump.
— Explore the potential of Man-versus-Nature as you try to make your way through our King-of-The-Forest obstacle course without getting crushed by boulders toppled by our good-natured staff or eaten by bears hoping you trip on the root traps scattered around the forest floor.
–It’s a once-in-a-lifetime and possibly last-in-a-lifetime vacation you won’t forget!’”

“Well, okay, I guess. Do they have child care?”

I call ‘em as I see ‘em

He shoots, he scores! (feel free to add your own sports meme) Just as I thought:  a typical ending for a Mark Trail Adventure. Will we learn what happened to Jeb, Sid, and the supporting cast of bums?

Otherwise, I like the composition and concept behind panel 1, with the Bill Ellis call-out. Unfortunately, the unnecessary narration box ruins the scene, since Bill Ellis’ discussion could have been placed there, and the mallard and side yard would not be obscured. Several of you readers (well, at least one or two) have often complained of Rivera’s overuse of narration boxes. Apparently, she is not reading or listening.

The Week in Review and the Sunday Nature Chat

This past week the fight between nut-job Sid Stump and Mark “Don’t call me Markey” Trail continued. An invisible cliff suddenly materialized around Stump and Trail as they duked it out. In addition, a very large boulder just happened to show up on the edge of the cliff. Jared and Cricket Bro rushed up to push it over onto Mark. But things didn’t work out that way.

The fight suddenly came to a halt when Millie, the so-named and so-presumed friendly bear, turned out to not be as jovial and hail-well-met as journalist Jebediah Jeter thought. Everybody found a reason to quickly be someplace else. As if there wasn’t enough “suddenness”, when the bear came bearing down on Mark and Jeb, Andy the St. Bernard suddenly teleported into the chase to to put a stop to it!  I have to say (along with many others) that this was not a high point in Rivera’s animal drawing career. The bear, specifically, looks comical, even inept.

Are we now at the end of another adventure? In the pre-Rivera era of Mark Trail, I would say Yes! Mark’s adventures often ended abruptly with little attempt to tie up loose ends before his sudden reappearance back home in Lost Forest. So while we wait for Monday’s strip, let’s check in with the Sunday submission.

Okay, we have a pretty nice “classic” Sunday nature presentation with Mark, and another good title panel. Clearly, the animals shown here are very well depicted, especially compared to the cartoonish depictions of the bear in the daily strips. Why is that?

I’m not sure. Maybe Rivera puts more time in on the Sunday pages and just hacks out the dailies. Doing an adventure strip take a lot of time and research. As regular Trailheads know, the prior Mark Trail artists all used assistants for such tasks as lettering, backgrounds, Sunday strips, and writing (in Allen’s case). As far as I am aware, Rivera does not employ assistants. I think that is a mistake, but I don’t know if it is because of finances, personal preference, or something else. Still, there is a problem in consistency of quality in the dailies, even taking Rivera’s style into consideration. And I still don’t like the Ernest T. Bass beard.

Here I come, to save the day!

So, Andy jumps in (as in dux ex machina) and saves the day by scaring away Millie the attacking bear. Yesterday we saw Jeb tripping over the proverbial tree root while chased by the bear. Was this a one-off? Oh, no!

Even Mark has had his share of run-ins with bears and tripping. From May 13, 2014 we see Mark demonstrating the technique. In fact, through April and May 2014 Mark seemed to experience one fall after another, trying to escape this bad news bear. Wish I had found find this strip yesterday.

I don’t have to be fast, just faster than you!

I’m starting (?) to sound and think like commenters on CK. Clearly, Rivera thought it was worth the effort to use two comment boxes (panels 3 and 4) to make a joke at the expense of adding anything to the narrative. She needn’t have bothered, since the bear drawings, alone, should elicit more laughter than any joke she could publish. Compared to what Rivera normally publishes on Sundays, the bear we see here looks like it could have been drawn by Rivera’s pre-teen niece. No insult intended to her niece.

Hoo boy, in this case, I’m rooting for the bear.

Still, where is he-man Stump to show everybody why he is King of the Forest? Shouldn’t he be here, fighting off the bear to save (and humiliate) Mark and Jebediah?

The life and times of Grizzly Jeter continues

Mark should know about angry bears; his backstory is replete with bad bear experiences, including the pet bear that Cherry Davis played with in Lost Forest when Mark first met her.

However, Mark should be more worried about possible dementia. He seems to have not heard—or remembered—the statements that Jeb has made about befriending a bear in the woods (going back to April 28).

At least Mark has the good sense to keep away from dangerous wild animals, unlike the many tourists in our national parks who want to take selfies beside bison, moose, and bears.