Archive: Mark Trail

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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

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“Hello kids, and welcome back to World of Animals — I’m your beloved host, Carl. Well, it seems like it’s been forever, so let’s all catch up — on fascinating Nature Facts from the wonderful World of Animals!

Family Circus, 9/4/22

“I guess they call them ‘charismatic megafauna’ because they hog all the damn attention! Even out of the mind of babes it’s pretty much mammal, mammal, mammal, except for that ridiculous bug. Barfy there seems as peeved as I am about this: Reptiles are creatures, too!

Mark Trail, 9/4/22

“‘Armored body,’ indeed—it looks like somebody is trying to grab a little of that turtle élan. And everybody knows leprosy is just the poor mammal’s salmonella. How would you like it if we reptiles put on hair and pretended to be like you?”
“Not much, I bet!”

Phantom, 9/4/22 (panel)

“Now, I’m not saying mammals don’t have their uses—like, say, if you’re a dead guy trying to guard the tomb of a different dead guy.”

Slylock Fox, 9/4/22 (panel)

“But if you want a real pal—to light your way in the darkness, sound the alarm, or take care of the kids—you can’t go wrong with Class Reptilia. It’s true!

Thank you for your kind attention.

— Turtle Carl

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It’s the 2022 Comics Curmudgeon Summer Fundraiser!

Soapers, joke-a-day, and occasional adventure strips are the meat and potatoes of The Comics Curmudgeon, but sometimes a body just craves something sweet. Prime your insulin pumps!

Rose Is Rose, 8/31/22

With Dondi’s 1986 retirement, Pasquale Gumbo became the undisputed Most Annoying Child in comics. Wikipedia says he “embodies the innocence that we only find in youth.” He has no bad traits, worships his Dad, plays with his Guardian Angel, works hard in school, goes on fantastical dream-adventures, and inhabits a world of adorable birds, squirrels, rainbows, and stars. He is also the Zodiac Killer, Ebola virus Patient Zero, and directly responsible for the 1999 Indo-Pakistan War.

Breaking Cat News 8/31/22

Normally a joke-a-day strip, Breaking Cat News is midway through an extended arc about how the rediscovery of a sealed-off addition to the Big Pink House will somehow resolve a financial crisis that threatens The Family with eviction. Here, the Robber Mice return from patrol to announce that the addition’s funky dècor is untouched since the 1970’s so a good dusting will make it move-in ready. How this will resolve the financial crisis is not yet known, but awwwww … CATS!

Mutts, 8/31/22

In related Cat News, anybody who’s met a real cat knows that ladybug has about ten seconds to live.

Daddy Daze, 8/31/22

Angus is in fact invisible; this child is an imposter. Watch your back Mr. Daze!

Mark Trail, 8/31/22

Once a rough-and-tumble adventure strip where Mark and Johnny Malotte clawed their way across ice floes to kill and eat delicious seals, Mark Trail has evolved through twists and turns into an ensemble comedy with a floating cast of vaguely nature-themed social-media oddballs, including, increasingly, Mark himself.

In the current story, Mark teams up with BikBok [sic] goose wrangler and Cherry heartthrob Rex Scorpius on the road to investigate Tess Tiger’s Tiger Touch Roadside Zoo/Spa and Secret Cult for fox-lovin’ Amy Lee, Mark’s Teen Sparkle editor and producer Diana Daggers’ old Racoon Rangers pal. Here, Rex ditches client Jimmy Songbird’s keytar recital to Facetime his puppy. Who‘s a good boy?

The ringing in your ears is normal and will pass if you lie down for a few minutes. Maybe eat a seal or two.

–Uncle Lumpy