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At last! Someone to appreciate my antics! Oh, it’s just you, Gary

Apartment 3-G, 2/9/09

And once again, the biggest laugh in today’s comics comes from Apartment 3-G, which isn’t even trying, I don’t think. Tommie, we all appreciate your fumbling attempts to be theatrically sarcastic, but if you’re going to respond to Margo’s orders to clean by tying on some kind of troubling sassy-black-maid kerchief and then dusting in a passive-aggressively half-assed fashion, you should really save it for when Margo is actually there; otherwise, it’s just kind of pathetic.

Mark Trail, 2/9/09

In last Friday’s thrilling Mark Trail, Ken appeared to have missed Patty’s special deer friend, merely scaring it off into the woods; today, though, poor Bucky has been laid low by what looks to be a bullet that our crack shot/abusive monster managed to place right between his eyes. (Admittedly, it’s hard to tell because the entire animal, including the eyes and antlers, has been slathered over with a uniform coat of Light Brown #2.)

Ken is showing us the sort of deft timing that has kept his marriage fresh; everyone knows that you should follow up a little light physical battery and the killing of a beloved pet with an impromptu business trip, to give the little woman time to realize that she wants more of what you’re selling. And surely the best way to get her to forget about that deer is to leave its mouldering corpse fifteen feet from your back porch.

Judge Parker, 2/9/09

“With this unreasonably large advance for my unreadable book, I’ll finally manage to dispel the whiff of the upper middle class that has stubbornly clung to me all these years! At last, my dreams of being ensconced firmly among the socioeconomic elite have been realized!”

114 responses to “At last! Someone to appreciate my antics! Oh, it’s just you, Gary”

  1. Daveyk
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:29 pm [Reply]

    I am reasonably certain that Ken’s bullet simply creased the deer’s skull, rendering it unconscious.

    As they are clearly cribbing from Woody Allen, I will ruin the rest of it for you. The next stop is a costume party where the deer will take second prize. First prize goes to the Berkowitzes, a married couple, dressed as a deer.

  2. tom
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:29 pm [Reply]

    Patty needs to leave that asshat and now. Wow, I can’t believe that a “Mark Trail” strip has gotten me worked up. He actually shot Bucky. Mark has got to hit him with the fist o’ fury now, beard or not.
    Oh I’m first.

  3. fdtutf
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:33 pm [Reply]

    I adore the fact that in the last panel of Mark Trail, Wifebeater Ken’s true identity is finally revealed. AHA!

  4. Little Guy
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:35 pm [Reply]

    MT: To paraphrase Hanover Fiste:

    “Hanging’s too good for him. Burning’s too good for him! He should be punched into little bitsy pieces and buried alive!”

  5. NoVan
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:37 pm [Reply]

    “The good news: A moronic storyline in MW ends! The bad news: A moronic storyline in MW begins.” –Mibbitmaker, 10/13/2008

    Well, after 4 weeks of conclusion, it’s that jolly time again! When the figure-skating storyline began, even an amateur ‘Mudge like me could see how it would play out from day 1, when Frank showed up on Mary’s big, enormous 12-inch screen. Strict Father pushes Daughter too hard, and Daughter gets depressed and lonely until Mary meddles some sense into Father. And of course, they thank her for it. We’ve seen this level of predictability many a time before; the Toby-gets-Nigerian-prince-scammed was written out on CC before it was ever put on paper.

    And tomorrow, we will hear how the next pairing of father and daughter will play out. So I propose we make this into a contest. Tomorrow, when we start hearing concrete details, we can write our detailed predictions for the storyline. Then, when the storyline ends in a few months, we can revisit them and crown a winner. (If this idea catches on, we could even have a separate metapost for predictions.) I can hardly wait!


  6. Tweeks_Coffee
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:37 pm [Reply]

    Jesus, he barely brought the rifle down before he told Patty he was leaving. Suppose he’s even going to wash the smell of gunpowder and Patty’s tears off his all-blue outfit before hitting the airport? I would guess not.

  7. Larry McAwful
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:37 pm [Reply]

    When my dad was ten, he got really attached to the chickens out in the coop in the back yard. He even had names for each of them. Then one day Grandma came out and asked him, “Okay, Chester, which one do you like the most?” Dad pointed to little Blue-Blue, which Grandma promptly picked up and gutted right before his eyes. That night Dad had to eat Blue-Blue, along with the rest of the family. He never touched poultry again for the rest of his life. Nor did he ever acknowledge that this story is true, but my aunt took to calling me Blue-Blue when I was a little kid. I figured it was because of my eyes, but looking back, that was probably just more of the special torture that siblings trade among each other.

    Anyway, my point is that if they leave the deer carcass around, that might cure Patty of affection for deer. Of course, it might work better still if Ken made her eat venison. This guy, like my grandmother, knows what he’s doing.

  8. Marthas Rolling Pin
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:38 pm [Reply]

    Meanwhile, in an obscure corner of the Comicsverse,
    Rudy Park has definitively jumped the shark. Darrin Bell, kill it off and devote yourself to Candorville.

  9. Bobdog, Jungle Patrol - SVU (not an Elephant, not Spam)
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:40 pm [Reply]

    Clearly Patty’s husband does not expect the deer to be there when he gets back — she’s supposed to field dress it for him — that’s women’s work after all. Also.

    BTW, what office is Jack Elrod running for? You’d think if he’s going to go through the trouble of creating novelty sized campaign buttons, there might be an indication of some kind.

  10. PeteMoss
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:41 pm [Reply]

    fdtutf @ 3
    I think you’re mistaken. Ken is wearing a Jack Elrod for County Commissioner campaing button because he believes in Elrod’s platform regarding elephant seal and deer problem in Lost Forrest. It’s a tough love approach, no doubt.

  11. Niall
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:43 pm [Reply]

    7. Larry McAwful: …that’s extra-special torture if you ask me… Yeesh. I’m glad none of us three siblings ever had sibling rivalry. The concept was even unknown to us growing up.

  12. Cranky
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:45 pm [Reply]

    Judge Parker, unexpurgated: “Thanks, for bringing this book contract down, Sam. Now get the fuck out so I can get back to masturbating to the JCPenney bra ad.”

  13. Jim
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:46 pm [Reply]

    Any chance the “book” will just be a frame to give the Judge Parker folks a chance to rehash tired old storylines of yesteryear?

    More than usual, that is?

  14. PeteMoss
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:47 pm [Reply]

    Tommie’s down with Tupak.

  15. Larry McAwful
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:47 pm [Reply]

    11. Niall –

    I’m the second born of four, myself, and I can attest that once sibling rivalry starts, it really doesn’t stop. That doesn’t pardon my aunt’s jab, but it really doesn’t go away, no.

  16. gleeb
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:48 pm [Reply]

    Mark: Ken, of course, will have the deer stuffed and mounted. And the joke will be on him, because his neighborhood is restricted.

  17. NutellaonToast
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:51 pm [Reply]

    Alright, which one of you pranksters glued Gary’s hands to his lapel?

  18. R in CT
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:53 pm [Reply]

    Wow, Judge Parker reaching back to the 1930s to set up eventual jokes about “Dewey Cheatham and How.” What’s next, a baseball team with a first baseman named Who?

  19. JP (not Judge Parker)
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:53 pm [Reply]

    Wow, Mark is really phoning it in on this case, isn’t he? If Mark had a journalistic rival, he could write a story with a headline like “Fair Weather Friend: Mark Trail seen leaving scene of domestic dispute, pet deer shooting.” But since a rival of Mark’s publication would only require a readership of 5, it wouldn’t exactly sully his name.

  20. Dragon of Life
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    Whoa, Tommie’s crossing over to the Dark Side pretty heavily in that last panel. Was that a command on the back of Margo’s list, or has years of simply watching that living example at last awakened Tommie’s inner Sith?

    9CL: I generally have a pretty high tolerance for this comic, but…. yow, not right.

  21. PeteMoss
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    Mark Trail –
    I think this would be a much more interesting story if Patty freaks and shoots Ken about twelve times then goes feral, living in the forrest, while Mark, with the help of the uber-detective Andy, searches for her. Of course, that would only happen if Dick Locher took over the writing. If Batiuk took over for Elrod, Patty would start writing her memoirs as soon as Ken is gone. While working on them, Zombie-Bucky would appear behind her and use its hooves to give her a back rub.

  22. SF_Reader
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:56 pm [Reply]

    MT – So Patty is getting mounted and stuffed by this deer, her husband gets angry and kills it, and now all of a sudden he’s the devil? I don’t think so. Show me the facial hair!

  23. Lolsworth
    February 9th, 2009 at 4:59 pm [Reply]

    I suspect Gary is really Aldo Kelrast, escaped into a parallel newspaper universe, with a dye job, a shave and a pair of specs. Maybe not suspect so much as hope, because that would be awesome.

  24. bats :[
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:00 pm [Reply]

    You know, if Patty just snapped, I’d love to see her drag Bucky into the house and let him decompose for the week that Mr. Ken Businessguy is out of town. So much for not having that stupid animal in the house.

    That she cleans out the bank account and the house of anything valuable and files for a divorce should cover the “need to get on with other things,” too.

  25. Baka Gaijin
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:04 pm [Reply]

    Mark Trail: Mark my words, when Ken gets back from his so-called “business trip,” he’ll have a punchworthy beard. The business trip is to the Facial Hair Club for Men.

  26. Comrade Denny
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:13 pm [Reply]

    9CL: Are Amos and Edda going out or something? Sometimes McEldowney is just too damn subtle.

    FC: “I love Black Delicious apples!”

    MT: Going out of town? What town? You live in the middle of the freakin’ forest!

    MW: “Speaking of of fathers and daughters … I’d like to introduce you to little Qui-Bao Corey.”

    RxMD: Norovirus (aka Norwalk Virus) is spread by “faecally contaminated food or water and by person-to-person contact.” How’s that dinner – and that Italian sailor – you wanted so badly taste now, Rex?

  27. Meanwhile
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:15 pm [Reply]

    I’m pretty sure Tommie is just practicing for Lu Ann’s return; she wants to ease the shock of the transition from Montana back to the Big Apple. Unfortunately, the only thing Tommie is good at is nursing (if that), so she has utterly screwed up the whole notion of a jaunty neck kerchief.

    Even if I’m wrong about that, I don’t think Tommie has a passive-aggressive bone in her body. Everyone knows she’s passive-submissive. Not that she takes part in the dom-sub action around Apartment 3-G. If anything, she just runs the camera.

  28. Islamorada Girl
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:19 pm [Reply]

    Bobdog, PeteMoss: Judging by the enormous badge on his electric blue polyester leisure suit, MT’s Awful Ken is going to the Jack Elrod Convention.

    The only thing, other than a fatal RHO’J that could save this story is if the deer struggles to his hooves and gores Awful Ken to death, just as AK is getting his name tag at the JackEl con registration desk.

  29. FyamanD
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:21 pm [Reply]

    Yeah, Ken is going out of town to have a meeting. A meeting with Mark Trail’s fists’!!!

  30. the good ship thetis
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:22 pm [Reply]

    I see only three places Mark Trail can possible go after this:
    1. Ken returns to find Patty has written “all work and no play makes Patty a dull girl” all over the house in Bucky’s blood.
    2. Ken returns to find Patty dressed as a deer, talking to a stuffed Bucky sitting in a rocking chair in the kitchen.
    3. Bucky’s poltergeist haunts the cabin.

  31. Dr. Robotnik
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:25 pm [Reply]

    Mark Trail-

    Despite being a total bastage, I have to admire Ken’s marksmanship. Although I suppose trick-shooting is more like it.

    Unless the hole in the deer’s head is an exit wound, he’s a ricochet master! If indeed it is an exit wound then I have to question where he thinks the “kill shot” is on a deer. He was standing behind Bucky after all.

  32. CanuckDownSouth
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:27 pm [Reply]

    I sadly have been far too busy grading this past weekend to keep up with the snark, but did anybody else get a Saturday Mary Worth vibe of

    … the feeling of endless freedom. I knew then that that feeling was mine, mine alone! and I would meddle and crush all, in order to ensure that I would be the only one to feel it! ? Well, at least that’s only about one-tenth as disturbing as Mary’s girlish gesture, touching her face like a blushing adolescent in a Regency romance. Which, come to think of it, would be about the right age for her.

  33. Islamorada Girl
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:28 pm [Reply]

    3G: The last woman to wear a doo-rag like Tommie’s was Rosie the Riveter. I think Fashion Police will agree with me here.

  34. Uncle Lumpy
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:30 pm [Reply]

    Hey, Judge Parker is going mad crazy with the narration boxes — they used to be reserved for the extremely rare “New Day” strips, and now they’re throwing them in every whichway!

    Is this a plot to make us believe time is actually passing? I’ll believe it in a week, when we’re out of the damn basement and back in the dewy, pneumatic environs of Abby, Katherine, and Hot Mad Mama.

  35. Carly
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:35 pm [Reply]

    I love Patty’s old time silent movie pose in the third panel, there. It clearly conveys, belatedly, the message “Oh, the horror!”

  36. ratnerstar
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:37 pm [Reply]

    Wait, there’s a Judge in Judge Parker? When did this happen? Actually, I’m ashamed to admit it, but after 30 years of reading the comics and 2 years of following this blog, I still can’t tell Judge Parker and Rex Morgan, MD apart. Which is the one about boring crap and which is the one about gay sex?

  37. Amateur
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:38 pm [Reply]

    MT: And now I’d like to dedicate this Brad Paisley song to Ken and Patty:

    “When you see a deer, you see Bambi,
    I see antlers up on the wall . . .”

  38. Comrade Denny
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:39 pm [Reply]

    #30 – the good ship thetis:

    You may be on to something. Patty’s got that wild-eyed eyed look that – if 1950′s Noir movies are any guide, and I can’t see why they wouldn’t be – signal a woman is about to go ape-shit crazy.

  39. Comrade Denny
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:47 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke: 3 out of 10 cardiologists agree – there’s no better way to start the day than in a state of mortal terror.

  40. Stroker Ace
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:48 pm [Reply]

    A3G ~ Gary is pantless – but has tied on a sassy kerchief.

  41. teddytoad
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:50 pm [Reply]

    A3G: You know how I know Tommie and Gary were made for each other? Gary’s totally inappropriate disgruntled look in panel 3, when Tommie responds to his mild sarcastic banter with equivalently mild sarcastic banter. “You took it too far, Tommie,” he thinks to himself. “Too far!”

    Mark Trail: Sure, Patty may have mastered the film-noir Cupie doll look of mental unhinging, but panel 3 reveals far more about Ken’s psychological profile. His logic-defying logic–”You were getting too attached to the deer so I killed it”–is clearly inherited abuse. Perhaps when he was a child, his tyrant father similarly killed his favorite dog, smashed his favorite toy, or broke his favorite leg.

  42. Donald the Anarchist
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:54 pm [Reply]

    MT If it weren’t for the ever-so convenient business trip, I’d expect Ken to wake up “Bobbited,” so to speak. Perhaps a bit severe, but then Patty would be able to say, “I thought you were too attached to it!” Oh, well, I guess a punching will have to suffice…

    A3G God, if only Tommy and everyone attached to her weren’t so boring, I might remember what Gary did to make her so hostile. Or is she just hostile because she thinks it’ll make her less boring? I get the feeling Tommy could turn into a serial killer or a porn actress without inducing me to care about it one single bit. And if she did commit murder, she’s so boring that no one would be willing to sit through a trial. My God, it’s almost as if she’s so boring that she’s interesting again! Except she isn’t.

    JP And apparently Judge Parker is Tommy’s equal. God, even his dreams are boring. I think we’ve had just about enough of this douche to last us at least five more years, our time.

  43. The Dead Acorn
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:54 pm [Reply]

    I prefer to read that 3rd panel of Mark Trail as sayinig “You need to get it on with other things!” – you know, as long as Patty stays away from Mark and living creatures, her squeeze is cool with it.

    And #1 Daveyk? Awesome reference. Outstanding.

  44. Ichi
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:58 pm [Reply]

  45. Niall
    February 9th, 2009 at 5:58 pm [Reply]

    17. NutellaonToast: Good observation!

    …and now I want Nutella. (Not on toast, though; I prefer regular bread, plus I don’t even have a toaster. (waits for shock to subside) I don’t even have a microwave oven. (gets deafened by gasps))

    24. bats :[ : hear, hear!! Absolutely agreed.

    Oh, on Rex Morgan: Rex asks "What part of the ship did [the full crew] work on?” Um, if it’s the full crew, then they worked all over the ship, no? I’d hate to have a ship where part of it was never touched by the crew for the whole cruise. And if the full crew is ill, what does that make Guido?

  46. Comrade Denny
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:03 pm [Reply]

    #42 – Donald the Anarchist wrote, “Tommy could turn into a serial killer…”

    It’s always the quiet, boring ones, isn’t it. “Oh, she kept to herself.” “She always seemed like the she was the nice one.” “Who would’ve guessed she was collecting the distal phalanges of computer programmers?”

  47. dougrogers
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:08 pm [Reply]

    Damn right Ken is going to grow a mustache when he’s away on the business trip.

  48. Li’l Bunnë FooFoo
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:10 pm [Reply]

    MT: I love, love, LOVE Patty’s face in the third panel. She looks like Theda Bara in a blonde bouffant.

  49. mojo
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:11 pm [Reply]

    Jeez, is Batiuk guest-writing for Mark Trail? There’s drama, and then there’s just Plain Unpleasant. Perhaps, given poor Bucky’s untimely demise, it’s a good thing Patty and Ken don’t have any children. Wouldn’t want Patty to get too attached to them.

  50. druidbros
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:13 pm [Reply]

    MT – I hope Patty drags the deer into the house puts a nightgown on it, puts it in the bed, unscrews all of the light bulbs and leaves Ken a note that she is in bed and really, really missed him while he was away getting facial hair. Then call Mark and have him hide in the closet and take a picture when he gets into bed and post it on Ken’s facebook page.

  51. Charterstoned
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:13 pm [Reply]

    MT – Why is there suddenly a lampshade behind Ken?

  52. Alan's Addiction
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:16 pm [Reply]

    Wait – they’re allowed to KILL things in Mark Trail? I thought his fists were the only violence allowed in this comic; otherwise I would’ve started advocating the wholesale slaughter of the main characters years ago (with the exception of Mark’s fists, of course).

  53. Charterstoned
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:16 pm [Reply]

    MT – No, seriously, WTF is a lampshade doing behind Ken???? I do realize that the rock has been moving around the yard for the last couple of days (and today it has company), but the lampshade CAME OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!! And I’m not sure they even have electricity in LoFo! I don’t think Patty is afraid of Ken, I think she’s afraid of the LAMP!! RUN, Patty, RUN!!

  54. Malethoth K
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:17 pm [Reply]

    You know, when you guys keep mentioning “Bucky” with regards to Mark Trail, I always experience this weird cognitive dissonance and imagine a Get Fuzzy/Mark Trail crossover.

  55. Uncle Lumpy
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:21 pm [Reply]

    #53 C’stoned –

    WTF is a lampshade doing behind Ken????

    OMG, it’s Guran from The Phantom! “Run, Ken, Run!” *

    * in the Bandar tongue.

  56. mojo
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:22 pm [Reply]

    I think Patty in the third panel of Mark Trail is the best graphic representation of “psycho-biddy” since Gloria Swanson moved out of Sunset Boulevard. “All right, Mister DeMille, she’s ready for her close-up!”

  57. Muffaroo
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:22 pm [Reply]

    Larry McAwful @7 – Similar situation here. We had rabbits in the hutch out back, and all four of us kids wept and tried to save their little lives, to no avail. But we ate the stew. With the chickens, it was different — I was more interested in the processes than anything else. When their heads were chopped off, they ran around most entertainingly — and memorably, for a seven year old. Dad did something with the rabbits over his knee that broke their necks, killing them quickly and without fuss, but the chickens met their fate with the same hatchet we used to chop kindling for the living room stove. When Mom cleaned the chickens in the kitchen sink, the chickens were full of fascinating bits and pieces, some of which we ate.

    The story has been repeated so often, I don’t really remember if I witnessed it or not, but Dad was trimming the wings of the chickens so they wouldn’t fly out of the wire enclosure at the side of the garage. One was making quite a fuss, and he spoke soothingly to it. “Don’t worry, little chicky,” he crooned, “I’m not gonna hurt you — yet.”

  58. cheech wizard
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:24 pm [Reply]

    Ok, Bucky can’t be dead – but that sure looks like an exit wound in his forehead. So maybe the next couple days are going to be an Al Capp/Fearless Fosdick shoutout. (“No need to worry madam, it’s merely a flesh wound.”)

  59. Renee J
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:24 pm [Reply]

    MT: Did the last storyline end? Because I don’t remember a resolution to the man who was draining the swamp and hired the hit men to go after Mark Trail.

    But, this storyline is much more interesting.

  60. Baka Gaijin
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:25 pm [Reply]

    #44 Ichi: Is Jughead humping the volcano in this strip?

  61. Black Drazon
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:26 pm [Reply]

    Panel 2 in A3G makes me think of Tommie’s uninspiring, 52 cent future wedding: her fiancé dressed in beige, she in her kerchief, and that mounting tremor going up her body, eyes flicking to the sight to watch Margo just sitting there, eyes lowered, as the priest asks if there’s any objection. She’ll wait until the last moment before she objects, of course. Oh, not Margo: she just needs to be in the room and Tommie will do it herself.

  62. Black Drazon
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:27 pm [Reply]

    Meanwhile, in panel 3 of Mark Trail, Patty strikes a pose straight off the poster of a Z horror flick. Undoubtedly the deer has risen from the dead with a taste for brains.

  63. UncleJeff
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:28 pm [Reply]

    48 LI’l Bunne: Isn’t that the actress who was in “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom?” The one who went out of the airplane with the life raft?

  64. Alfred E. Neuman
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:29 pm [Reply]

    Elwood from “Luann” has been advertising as the “Rich Jerk” on on our very own CC website:

    A3G— Tommie is channeling Lucy Ricardo. It looks like Gary has some ‘splainin’ to do.

    JP— As the party full of hot, partially dressed women continues upstairs, Judge Parker calls to order the annual meeting of the Asexual Men’s Association. Charter members DeGroot and Trail are absent.

    RMMD— Rex: “What part of the ship do they work in?”
    Gomez: “They’re members of the lifeboat crews. By the way, they’re all children.”
    Rex: “My daughter has seen them, but we can’t get close to them. They’re really fast.”
    Gomez: “That’s because they’ve all got the runs.”

    OK, I’ll go quietly now…

  65. Charterstoned
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:29 pm [Reply]

    MT – Also, is that a ginormous dead skunk in panel 1?

  66. Charterstoned
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:31 pm [Reply]

    MW – I miss Frank.

  67. markytom
    February 9th, 2009 at 6:41 pm [Reply]

    I’m concerned that Mark Trail could turn into an endless loop. Patty becomes attached to an animal. Ken confronts Patty with Mark standing by. Mark runs away, Ken gets out his rifle and kills the animal, Ken leaves town (leaving the animal where it died). Patty befriends another animal. Maybe tomorrow Patty befriends a rabbit and the cycle begins anew.

  68. Huntch
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:09 pm [Reply]

    We were raised with the concept that (except for the working animals, including dogs and cats, which weren’t pets) “You never have a pet you can’t eat”

  69. Esther Blodgett
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:14 pm [Reply]

    I was disturbed by the lovingly detailed drawing of the long, delicate left hand of Judge Parker in panel 1. Then I realized that the hand is simply a new character. See, the raised contract cleverly disguises who is actually speaking, and then in panel 2 we see that it is actually the hand expressing its gratitude to Dewey for making its dream come true. I assume that dream has something to do with writing a novel and not whatever freaky three-way action it thinks it’s about to have with Sam and the Judge in the basement.

  70. papa zita
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:15 pm [Reply]

    @18: No, next will be a law firm named Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel. Hey, if they’re going back to the ’30s, might as well steal from someone good.

  71. Zach
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:17 pm [Reply]

    I am not familiar with Judge Parker. Has the writer heard of this thing called a “period”?

  72. Joe Blevins
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:18 pm [Reply]

    A3G: Oh, Tommie. I know you’re excited about being invited to one of Sean Combs’ famous White Parties. But trust me, dear, that outfit is definitely not the way to go.

    And if you’re trying to embrace your inner Margo, remember that less is often more. See how a simple withering stare beats a lame comeback any day.

    MT: Wow. He killed the damned deer. Gotta say, I did not see that coming. This relationship has now officially crossed that line where the Yahoo! relationship advice blogs are no longer of any use. Unless, of course, they’re planning to run an article called “10 Comforting Things To Say After You’ve Taken the Only Thing She Loves in This World and Shot It Between the Eyes.”

  73. papa zita
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:22 pm [Reply]

    @48: Actually more like Gloria Swanson.

  74. Artist formerly known as Ben
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:25 pm [Reply]

    Is it too much to hope that Bucky will lead an army of flesh-eating zombie deer tear Ken limb from limb? It’ll be an early Halloween for us, unless the story actually drags out to late October.

  75. bats :[
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:30 pm [Reply]

    54. Malethoth K: Yeah, I keep getting that vibe, too (it happens with Andy the St. Bernard and Andy the Coroner; and Abbey the Busty Redhead and Abby the setter, too). But you know the other Bucky would have matters well in hand…paw…something…

  76. commodorejohn
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:32 pm [Reply]

    Say, if Max over in SFx never wears anything besides shorts anyway, does that mean he’s jumping into the pool fully-clothed?

  77. Patrick
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:36 pm [Reply]

    Oh, Tommie and Gary, so confused. To Tommie, “cleaning” means “tying a kerchief on your head” and to Gary, “sexy” means “pretending to be a flasher, while fully clothed.”

  78. Crankenstank
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:47 pm [Reply]

    House cleaning is great foreplay. Get that mop top a mop, Tommie! Don’t forget the drain cleaner, wink wink.

  79. Violet
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:48 pm [Reply]

    Poor Tommie. Her valiant attempts to cultivate some sort of edge or personality or, you know, pulse, are once again met with naught but quivery bafflement. You can tell she’s all, “You know what? Forget it. Forget I even tried. Whatever. You just fucking stay there and I’ll go make you some waffles.”

  80. Amateur
    February 9th, 2009 at 7:49 pm [Reply]

    #53 — Whoa, nice catch. Is it too much to hope that the lampshade is going to yell, “You killed a friend of mine’s pet deer!”

  81. Mooncattie
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:01 pm [Reply]

    A3G – Words we’re not likely to hear from Tommie: “My Brain Hurts!”

  82. Gal Friday
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:04 pm [Reply]

    #53/MT–this is gettin’ curiouser and curiouser! But my money is on the lamp to actually get some stuff done!

  83. Meander
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:06 pm [Reply]

    9CL: So, Edda. No pants. I don’t usually complain about that dancers with no pants, but it’s a comic strip.

  84. Sorako-chan
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:13 pm [Reply]

    MT: Going by Patty’s eyes in the final panel, I’m going to guess the “other things” she will be getting on with will involve either Ken’s bloodied, deer-beaten corpse, or massive amounts of heroine. Heck, who says it can’t be both?! The people who write Mark Trail, that’s who.

  85. Charterstoned
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:18 pm [Reply]

    MT – That lamp is clearly sneaking up on Ken and Patty. I think it’s going to garrotte Ken with its cord!

  86. Idols of Mud
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:18 pm [Reply]

    3-G: Did Gary walk over to the apartment holding his lapels the whole way? “Tommie, I LOVE this jacket, but hoo, does it stink! Smell that!”

  87. Deni D.
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:31 pm [Reply]

    Re: Judge Parker: Has anyone noticed the publishing house is called “Cheatham”, as in “cheat ‘em”?

    I wonder if it will turn out to be a vanity press and he’ll have to sell all his books door-to-door on his own!

  88. SecretMargo
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:38 pm [Reply]

    There’s a dissertation waiting to be written about compulsive, unconscious mimickry of African-American domestic exploitation as performed by the girls of Apartment 3G. Is it a “retrun of the repressed” narrative structure by which their privilege can only be acknowledged by evoking its opposite (the history of slavery and servitude) as a kind of structuring absence, showing only faintly through the pale palimpsest of the girls’ oblivious dumbshows? As background, I offer this earlier strip as a reference.

  89. AMC
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:41 pm [Reply]

    Bucky the ho’s dead tame deer
    Had to crap on my clothes
    Now if you ever see him
    He’s got bullet above his nose

    All of the others who came here
    Used to talk and flirt with my dame
    They wouldn’t let my rude brush off
    Stray into a murder-suicide game

    Then Trail’s hand was on her sleeve
    But he ran away
    Snuggling with Bucky just ain’t right
    Won’t venison be the entré tonight?

    Then Patty was sure to love him
    And she’d shout out with glee
    Pull of my clothes, oh Ken dear!
    Bobbit’s an inspiration to me!

  90. Tim Cavanaugh
    February 9th, 2009 at 8:44 pm [Reply]

    Gary’s holding his coat open at the lapels, at exactly the same width, through three distinct changes of angle. It’s clear to me that Gary has been flashing his junk at Tommie throughout today’s strip. Tommie leaned in for a little turn-your-head-and-cough action in panel 2, then turned away with a stage-sassy wisecrack. Gary’s look of befuddlement in panel 3 = “Was that a yes? And do I get to wear the bonnet?”

  91. Anonymous
    February 9th, 2009 at 9:02 pm [Reply]

    Someone has given the Family Circus kids black goth-apples of death today, and they appear to be enjoying them heartily. Meanwhile, Bil and Thel dance in a circle just off-scene, chanting ‘Cthulhu ftaghn! Cthulhu ftaghn!’

  92. Mischief Maker
    February 9th, 2009 at 9:18 pm [Reply]

    Patti’s revenge will be hiding Ken’s razor blade. Facial Hair is like a duck call for fists.

  93. Charterstoned
    February 9th, 2009 at 9:26 pm [Reply]

    92/MT – Good one!

  94. Charterstoned
    February 9th, 2009 at 9:38 pm [Reply]

    A3G – Phantom – Is Tommie actually wearing Kit’s loincloth on her head?

  95. Echo
    February 9th, 2009 at 9:40 pm [Reply]

    When did Mark Trail start being written by Zora Neale Hurston? I hope Ken gets rabies.

  96. seismic-2
    February 9th, 2009 at 10:04 pm [Reply]

    MT – So, Ken’s bullet misses Bucky, yet he falls dead? Ah, the answer lies in today’s Dick Tracy. Tess hears a gunshot ringing out from Dr. Ethan Noll’s house, so clearly Bucky has been killed by a shot fired by Ethan’s brother Grassy, whose existence has previously been hypothesized herein and is now confirmed. We shall now for certain that Bucky is dead, of course, when a 400-pound porcupine bursts out of the bushes to gnaw off his antlers.

    FC – Them’s horse apples, kids. Eat heartily! At least now we know the identity of the stowaway boy who introduced the Norwalk virus on board. Sarah, meet Jeffy.

    SF – Ted, don’t interrupt. You know what that long interval of awkward silence means. You shouldn’t try to end it by “blinking” and then speaking; you should end the silence by just adopting a wide stance and then tapping your foot.

  97. Hank
    February 9th, 2009 at 10:51 pm [Reply]

    RE: Marthas Rolling Pin, Rudy Park. You’re just figuring out that the strip sucks now? It’s never been more than a tired ripoff of Bloom County and now they’ve got Mort doing an imitation of Bill the Cat.

  98. Talking Squirrel
    February 9th, 2009 at 10:55 pm [Reply]

    JP: Oh, no — they’ve looped back to that damn book contract. This can only mean one thing: they’re getting ready to jump in the economic-debacle swamp along with all the other strips. Dewey Cheatham will go bankrupt right after Judge Parker refinances his mortgage, thus torpedoing his cash flow. Then, with the squilla all gone, all those perky party puppies will do a Dixie and never be seen in the strip again. Sigh.

  99. Talking Squirrel
    February 9th, 2009 at 11:17 pm [Reply]

    #51 Charterstoned sez: “MT – Why is there suddenly a lampshade behind Ken?”

    That’s no lampshade, it’s an approaching intergalactic shrimp boat that’s hopefully gonna help Ken leave town in much the same way that Trail was gonna leave town in the previous storyline.

  100. Wolf Shepherd
    February 9th, 2009 at 11:27 pm [Reply]

    Bucky’s not dead. He’s just playing ‘possum. He’ll be fine as soon as the nutcase with the rifle leaves town. Then he and Patty can get back to it.

  101. Wolf Shepherd
    February 10th, 2009 at 12:14 am [Reply]

    I’m on to Bucky’s little game. After Ken leaves, Patty will slowly make her way over to where Bucky fell, tears in her eyes, cursing not Ken, but herself. “It’s all my fault! I loved you Bucky! More than life itself! And now, because of me, you are dead. Gone to join Bambi and Thumper and all the other cute little forest creatures in Disney heaven. Why? WHY? WHY???

    But then Bucky rises on one elbow, rubs his head, and says, “Like whoa, Dude! What the fuck? One minute I’m munching some grass, thinking about my favorite piece of tail and then … KAPOW! … I’m floppin’ on the deck like a gutted carp. That is like so totally uncool, man! Owwww, my frickin’ head! You got anything for a hangover?”

    Patty, of course, is overjoyed. “Oh Bucky! Bucky darling! You are alive! You are all right! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you sweet baby Jesus! My prayers have been answered! Life is worth living again!”

    Bucky is nonplussed. “Chill bitch! All of your shouting and jumping around is just making my headache worse. Just get in the damn house! Daddy will be along in a bit for a little sugar.”

    And everything returns to normal in the Lost Forest.

  102. cj
    February 10th, 2009 at 12:22 am [Reply]

    I always thought Sam Driver was a lady’s man, but the innuendo is right there: “Down in the basement, Sam gives the judge his first book contract.” It’s now Judge Parker, M.D.

  103. Eagle 88
    February 10th, 2009 at 12:43 am [Reply]

    Does anyone else find waiting for the inevitable “Dewey, Cheatham and Howe” reference in Judge Parker unbearable as the strip itself?

  104. Huh...
    February 10th, 2009 at 1:04 am [Reply]

    9CL: You know, I don’t know why, but I find the Edda-as-a-cello imagery decidedly creepy…

  105. Kanomi
    February 10th, 2009 at 3:12 am [Reply]

    A3G: Gary blunders in on Tommie and ruins her “Margo’s Maid” fantasy play time.

  106. Holy Prepuce
    February 10th, 2009 at 11:11 am [Reply]

    53 et al: you are missing the significance of the lampshade. It didn’t move outside; Ken & Patty moved inside, indicating that time has elapsed between panels 2 and 3 even though the dialogue seems to flow uninterupted.

    Patty’s gesture and expression give away what Elrod is up to: it’s clearly an allusion to the distressed-female-dream-state convention of film noir. The quick cuts between locations and changes in spacial relationships, all with Patty in the foreground, take the viewer inside her subjective experience where time and details of motion are lost as her sole focus remains on the incessant diatribe of her male tormentor.

    Oh, OK, what the hell, Elrod just recycled this panel from another stip and replaced the heads like he does on at least 40% of his art.

  107. DamnCat
    February 10th, 2009 at 12:48 pm [Reply]

    Good luck with the forgetting, Patty – what with Bucky’s rotting carcass lying there stinking the woods for a hundred yards in every direction. Not unlike your marriage, actually.

  108. Andy
    February 10th, 2009 at 12:57 pm [Reply]

    It appears from Apartment 3-G’s 3rd panel that the only thing Gary’s classic boxer’s stance can’t defend is Tommie’s verbal jabs. Unfortunately for Tommie she has left herself in no position to defend against Gary’s fist jab reply; I assume from the bandages on her head this is not the first of these sparring matches.

  109. Brent
    February 10th, 2009 at 1:32 pm [Reply]

    MT: In most fiction Ken would make the silly mistake of leaving the key to the gun cabinet lying around so that when he returned home from his business trip late at night, Patty would have the opportunity to “shoot a burglar.” Or he could be bludgeoned with a frozen haunch of venison which would then be served to the police officers investigating the case. Of course Mark Trail is no ordinary piece of fiction so presumably the only thing that will happen to Ken is that he will receive a sound thrashing after which he’ll be fined for shooting a deer out of season, or with a license the mysteriously only allows him to shoot fricasseeing duck.

  110. anaceofkidneys
    February 10th, 2009 at 1:42 pm [Reply]

    MT: I think if I were going to have an unusual wild animal pet that my outdoorsman-husband hated, I wouldn’t pick something so delicious.

  111. The Gill
    February 10th, 2009 at 1:56 pm [Reply]

    Is it me, or in that last panel does it actually look like Ken is menacing a particularly histrionic cardboard cut-out?

  112. Ken Ellis
    February 10th, 2009 at 4:46 pm [Reply]

    Dewey, Cheatham and House? Please!

  113. Lloyd S.
    February 10th, 2009 at 5:30 pm [Reply]

    Poaching, people! P-o-a-c-h-i-n-g. Not only is it not deer season and Ken does not have a license, but this is Lost Forest and Mark Trail. Shooting Patty would have been a lot simpler and had fewer consequences. She’s only a woman after all, and we all know how little Mark cares about them…Instead, lack of facial hair be damned, it’s the right fist o’ justice for Ken, followed by a lengthy jail term.

  114. Z
    November 16th, 2010 at 3:33 am [Reply]

    Look out Mark! Dick Morgan has a mustache! Five bucks says that Mark will punch this guy in 6-8 weeks

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