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Mark Trail, 1/19/10

Since we last checked in with Mark Trail, we’ve learned that the contours of 2010’s first storyline will involve disputes over land use and land preservation and a sinister, charismatic Senator and a restaurant that serves wild game and … uh … that’s about all I can tell you. I’d like to say that you should go back and read the archives to connect those dots, but I don’t think you’ll be able to make much more sense out of it than I have, because it’s pretty incoherent. My guess is that the Mark Trail brain trust was ordered by the syndicate to tap into prevailing anti-politician sentiment by making the next villain an elected official, but since nobody involved in creating the strip understands politics outside the context of “forest law,” by necessity that part didn’t make much sense.

Anyway, now the strip is on much firmer narrative ground: rustic ruffians who want to interfere with good-hearted folks’ enjoyment of nature! “I thought we warned you to stay out of this end of the lake! We’re the Parker Brothers … do you think we’re playing a game with you?” Ha ha, get it, because … Parker Brothers … erm. Anyway, the main question now is whether these two outboard-motoring thugs will be punched separately or in a single mighty blow.

Judge Parker, 1/19/10

I haven’t been covering Judge Parker here either, but its action has been much easier to follow. Rocky and Godiva are having marital problems, so Sam convinced Rocky to stay by describing how financially ruinous their divorce would be! Sam and Abby are all smiles while discussing this, because their sexless sham marriage works out so well for them that they can’t see why others wouldn’t enjoy one as well.

Apartment 3-G, 1/19/10

“You seemed quite comfortable” is obviously newspaper-comics-we-can’t-show-it code for “your penis seemed quite comfortable … in my vagina,” which is unsettling because (a) Bobbie and the Professor have remained fully clothed and (b) there’s no furniture in this apartment, which means they must have done it up against one of Bobbie’s beloved radiators. Just in case this pills-for-sex deal wasn’t tawdry enough for you! I hate to keep bringing the pills back up, but honestly, there’s no explanation other than powerful prescription tranquilizers for the disconnect between Bobbie’s sharpening tone and her blissed out expression in the second panel.