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Mark Trail, 9/8/22

New Mark Trail introduces new characters and subplots at such a pace it’s easy for readers to get lost. The entire “Jimmy Songbird geese stopover” seems to have been engineered solely to slip the ridiculous word “keytar” into the strip as often as possible. Collegial hint to fellow author: “Keytar! Keytar! Keytar!” You’re welcome.

Still, it’s a little unsettling when the characters themselves lose their places and start going off at cross-purposes. So here’s a helpful guide:

Character Should be doing Is doing
Diana Daggers–Producer/Director Organizing an interview that entertains and makes Rex look good Pissing off the interviewee, risking cancellation of the entire project
Tess Tigress–Spa Owner/Interviewee Upgrading the “Tiger Touch” brand from “Roadside Attraction” to “Spa.” Throwing out the Producer/Director at risk to the interview and brand
Rex Scorpius–Celebrity Interviewer Conducting an entertaining interview with his subject Putting his personal therapeutic needs before his audience
Mark Trail–Wildlife Reporter Reporting the interview for readers of Teen Sparkle Going all fanboy on Rex Scorpius, making Cherry jealous

Get on track, you guys! Don’t make me come back there!

Judge Parker, 9/8/22

I hurt my brain trying to figure out what Abbey is mad about here: “Sam, I threw you out of the house because you didn’t tell me about (then-) Deputy Mayor Stewart’s false accusations and fabricated evidence that I committed arson.” [OK: poor communications on Sam’s part and condescension that Abbey couldn’t handle the news, but this is a marriage-breaker? Nobody who has ever been married would think so.] “Now, [I believe that] you have released news of Deputy Mayor Stewart’s perfidy to the press, proving to one and all that I have not committed arson; therefore I am angry at you because ….” [AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUUUGH!]

All of the drama in Judge Parker—every last bit— is now Who Said What to Whom and How Dare They. It’s like watching two fourteen-year-old girls slash each other up in text messages. Panel-two Abbey really embraces the role. Though in fairness, Sam is a skank, Marie never did like him anyway, and how dare he call Abbey “unhinged”!

Crankshaft, 9/8/22

One thing a cartoonist—or a second-string comics curmudgeon—learns early is this: if you’re on deadline and can’t deliver an actual joke, string together a series of evocative phrases even if on closer inspection they make no actual sense: maybe nobody will notice! See yesterday’s Luann post for a recent example. Pretty lame stuff!

So Mason, if people already don’t know who you are, why do you need to buy a failed theater to enjoy the experience? Unless “talking to Ed Crankshaft” is your idea of “fun in the dark,” in which case Cindy would like a word.

Phew—made deadline again! I’m on a roll!

–Uncle Lumpy