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Mark Trail, 5/12/05

It’s fun, in a self-psycho-analysis kind of way, to watch delusions of grandeur slowly transform into paranoia. For instance, now that I know that at least one comics writer reads my blog, I’ve come to assume that all comics creators do. This means that just about anything that happens in any comic could be a reaction to things said here!

Take Mark Trail, for instance. Jack Elrod has long come under sustained and savage attacks, both by me and my commentors, for his inability to draw human beings and corresponding tendency to throw into random panels adorable wildlife animals rendered freakishly huge by problems with perspective. But today’s strip is fauna-free, and instead features a disturbing closeup on the wizened, crumpled visage of Mike, the lovable alcoholic hermit. When considered along with last month’s zombie sherriff, it’s almost as if Elrod is saying, “You want strips with drawings of people? I’ll give you drawings of people! I’ll give you drawings of people until you can’t take it any more! You’ll be glad for me to go back to beavers, moose, pelicans, and sea turtles once I’ve shown you what an ugly, awful creature Homo sapiens is.” And then he laughs and laughs, one of those awful laughs that gets raspier and raspier until it degenerates into hacking coughs that raise up blood-tinged phlegm.

At least, that’s how it happens in my mind.

Well, I for one say: enough already! Bring on the beasts! Not least because the human-interaction angle of this story is possibly the dullest Mark Trail plotline on record. An insurance investigation has made for entertaining narrative exactly once in human history — in Billy Wilder’s Double Indemnity — and there was at least sex involved there. Jack Elrod can draw a mean sea turtle, but he’s no Billy Wilder.