Archive: Mark Trail

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Funky Winkerbean, 2/22/17

The great wave of Prestige Television Dramas that started in the late ’00s often presented us with morally compromised antiheroes, like Don Draper or Walter White. These gave rise to a wave of thinkpieces on the topic of “Hmm, Rooting For These Popular Television Characters Is Actually Problematic”, followed by smug counterthinkpieces that informed us that “Oh, Were You Rooting For The Protagonists Of These TV Shows? That’s Not What The Writers Want You To Do”. The problem is that the way these narratives are structured makes it difficult for you not to root for them, now matter how bad they are as people: individual episodes and season-long arcs are about the protagonists trying to overcome obstacles; they serve as our viewpoint characters in the show’s world, and so it’s almost impossible to not want to see them succeed, if for no other reason that failure might mean an end to the pleasure of watching the show.

Anyway, anyone who wants to really work at writing an antihero protagonist that their audience will eventually turn on could do worse than read the last couple weeks of Funky Winkerbean. The title character is up against the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, perhaps the easiest bureaucracy to use as a punching bag, and yet in every single conflict he encounters, he comes off looking worse than the dead-eyed functionaries who oppose him.

Mark Trail, 2/22/17

Oh snap, it looks like Chris is travelling back to the U.S. to do a little hunting of his own … hunting the most dangerous game, i.e., Mark Trail. Since we spent all last week learning how trophy hunting in Africa is Actually Good, I’m sure we’ll see an even-handed description of how, while the majestic, wily Mark Trail is much beloved, he can be a danger to humans living near his territory and must be occasionally culled to preserve ecological balance.

Mary Worth, 2/22/17

AHHHHH PICTURE OF YOUNG MARY WITH LONG HAIR AND HOOP EARRINGS AND HER HUSBAND AHHHH! AND POSSIBLY A PICTURE OF YOUNG MARY WITH BELL-BOTTOMED JEANS ON THE NEXT PAGE??? Remember, Mary is canonically 60-something, which means that her young womanhood was spent in the in the 1970s, presumably smoking weed and listening to Led Zeppelin, which in turn means that you — yes, you — are impossibly old. Sorry, I don’t make the rules!

Dick Tracy, 2/22/17

Is your special plan to give it back to the people who the Brush and his accomplice tried to steal it from? Much as I would love to see Dick and the Spirit suddenly become dirty cops, that … that probably should be the special plan.

Rex Morgan, M.D., 2/22/17

Oh no! I shouldn’t have said that an old man dozing off on a plane was boring! I didn’t want it to end like this! I didn’t want any of this!

Pluggers, 2/22/17

Now that you can’t smoke indoors anymore, pluggers have had to work harder and harder as committing suicide slowly.

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Mark Trail, 2/18/17

So this week’s Mark Trail has been a lot of boring blah blah between some white lady and some African dude in an airport in Africa about how dumb liberals don’t get how hunting majestic African wildlife is a good thing for everyone concerned, but then we got to the end of the week and HOLY COW, GUYS, IT’S THE RETURN OF CHRIS “DIRTY” DYER, STAR OF ONE OF THE GREATEST MARK TRAIL PANELS OF ALL TIME:

See, Mark headed over to Africa on a big rhino poaching story, hooked up with a safari group that “Dirty” and his love-object Lori were part of, and had to assure “Dirty” that he did not want get together with Lori to “do the dirty” (this is literally what Mark calls sex, but he uses a child’s voice when he says it, not a crude bro’s voice). Later it turned out that “Dirty” was in fact the rhino poacher, and the angry rhinos ran his car off the road in revenge, and that after that he died. OR DID HE????? Well, no, he didn’t, because he’s right here, in today’s strip, only slightly worse for wear, if you consider having an eye gouged out “only slightly worse for wear.” Anyway, I look forward to discovering what shenanigans “Dirty” is up to (probably more poaching???), and why it is that he went to the trouble of faking his death but then still goes around introducing himself by his actual name.

Pluggers, 2/18/17

For a long time, the Top Two Most Depressing Pluggers Ever were clearly “Rhino-Man Hocks His TV” and “Kangaroo Lady Approaches Her Emotional Breaking Point”, but I think we may have a new contender today? Ha ha, it’s funny because … she wants to get out of the house and do something, anything, with her husband, but he just wants to point his bleary eyes in the vague direction of the television and let the beer annihilate anything resembling an emotion that attempts to pass through his brain!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 2/18/17

Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that right before Buck’s Comic-Con adventure got underway, he had a meet-cute with a nice lady at the gym that Rex made him go to. Laid up in his hospital bed, and having failed to emotionally connect with his son, he figures now’s the time to take that relationship to the next level, phone-sex wise! “Hey, Mindy … yeah, I have some more privacy now … damn, girl, just thinking of you is making me dizzy … or maybe that’s the dehydration from carrying around too many comic books for hours … anyway — hello? hello?”

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 2/18/17

Oh sure, these fellas are all tongue-lollin’ laffs now, but when Snuffy gets wind of this, he might decide to both boost his revenues from his business as a huntin’ guide and take care of his gambling debts by promising rich flatlanders that lawless, forgotten Hootin’ Holler is the perfect place to pursue “the most dangerous game.”

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Beetle Bailey, 2/12/17

I think anyone reading this blog at this point is pretty aware that daily strips are colored for online publication by syndicate hired hands (with sometimes hilarious results) while Sunday strips are colored by the actual artists. Beetle Bailey, though, has a problem that dates back to print: Miss Buxley’s dress has always been colored solid black in the dailies, leaving us with the canonical image of her coming to work every day in a classic little black cocktail dress. It’s only during her occasional Sunday appearances that we learn that her dress is actually supposed to be red. Red! Really shifts the whole vibe, doesn’t it? Unless we’re meant to believe that she usually wears black but has put on red today because it’s “casual Friday.” Honestly, it’s kind of odd that Miss Buxley doesn’t have a separate date outfit that she’s changed into after she came home from work. It’s also kind of odd that Beetle and General Halftrack are wearing their uniforms off duty, though since the strip’s military is stuck in a Korean War-era mode I guess that’s not terribly surprising. The general at least changed up his facial expression, from workplace wistfulness to date night suicidal despair!

Mark Trail, 2/12/17

Hey, kids, did you know that there’s more to nature than just alive things? Did you know that there are also … rocks? Some of those rocks are pretty! Some of those pretty rocks are right in the ground! Some of the people who own the ground will let you dig for the pretty rocks! Go ahead, rent a front loader and just start digging! The ground owner won’t mind, probably!

Mary Worth, 2/12/17