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Mark Trail, 1/27/05

Obviously I couldn’t let yesterday’s jive-talkin’ For Better Or For Worse go unremarked, but it was actually kind of a tough call, as it’s been quite a fascinating week around the serial comics. In Mary Worth, Dr. Brian’s ex-wife announced her intention of effecting a reconciliation with him by any means necessary, possibly involving somehow conniving him into impregnating her. In Apartment 3-G, Margo stormed out of dinner with FBI Pete after he asked her if she had “personal relationship” (that is, whether she had “gone there”) with her evil captor Mr. Eldon. And in Mark Trail, Birdie whacked Mark in the back of the head with a bottle.

I had always sort of thought that the mountain of circumstantial evidence against Birdie and Barracuda would turn out to be not what it seemed: after all, Birdie loves animals, and Barracuda doesn’t have facial hair, which all seems to point to “good” in the Mark Trail universe. And sure, they seem like nice people: after all, they don’t like turning from drug dealing to murder; they only do it when they have no choice. In an earlier strip this week, they talked about dumping “the body” in the bay, and I thought it would be interesting if every Mark Trail strip for the next three years were just three panels of his waterlogged corpse, decaying imperceptibly day by day until eventually there’s nothing left but a barnacle-encrusted skeleton. But the authorial voice here lets us know that Mark is only unconscious, and to be sure we (and Birdie and Barracuda) should have known that it takes more than a single blow to the head to finish off America’s premier nature journalist/adventurer. I mean, he’s been hit in the head before. Often. The only question left in my mind whether or not we’ll get to see him hit a woman.

I like the pelican close-up in panel two. Of course, random foreground animals are one of Mark Trail’s stocks in trade, but this bird seems to be keeping a beady little eye on things. Maybe Mark’s myriad feathered friends will save him, descending on his drug-dealing enemies and pecking them to death. Then, with an army of killer birds at his back, he will march forth and take over the world! He will rule us all as our king, with a harem of dark-haired women dressed in pink polo shirts, which is how he likes them! I mean, that probably won’t happen, but a guy can dream, can’t he?