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As America has suffered under the polar vortex these past few weeks, many faithful readers have written me to point out that Mark Trail himself has been popping up intermittently on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s website!

Obviously the best way to to reach the kids today to make sure they don’t get frostbite is to have their favorite cartoon character (Mark Trail) drop knowledge on them via their favorite communications medium (websites). And sure, keeping kids from having to have their fingers amputated is a “good cause” or whatever, but is Mark getting a little too cozy with the government?

Mark Trail, 2/2/14

Look, Mark wants you to narc out these borer beetle characters to the Feds if you see any of them! Sure, they seem gross, but we’re not going turn snitch just on your say-so, Mark. Remember when Mark Trail used to go around punching cops in the face? Such a drag to see him sell out to the Man like this.

Hi and Lois, 2/2/14

The sad thing about the prominent product placement in this strip is that I very much doubt it’s been paid for; it’s just that the MetLife, which both flies a blimp that’s prominent at major televised sporting events and owns the naming rights to the stadium where the Super Bowl will take place, is such an integral part of today’s game that it would be strange to leave it out. In this sense, the fact that this prominent branding has invaded Hi’s very dreams seems to me to be a pointed commentary. Yes, Hi, well might you shiver: life in the post-modern mass media capitalist landscape is chilly indeed.