Archive: Mark Trail

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Spider-Man, 3/9/18

You know, it’s funny that Spider-Man’s whole shtick is that he was bitten by a radioactive spider and has the “proportional [X] of a spider” but his definitive, most famous power move — web-swinging from building to building — is … not something spiders do? I mean, I know sometimes they blow on the wind and stuff but the thing where he shoots a web at one building, uses it to pivot, then shoots another web at another building and repeats — is just not spider-y at all. It also only works in his native New York and other high-density cities, which is understandable but maybe he shouldn’t admit it quite so readily in front of a man who lives to antagonize him and buys ink by the barrel.

On an unrelated note, if the vision of Spider-Man swinging around an alligator (the proportional alligator swinging of a spider) and using it as a truncheon to beat aside other alligators and various snakes doesn’t fill you with pure joy, your mind works quite differently from mine.

Mark Trail, 3/9/18

You know, if I saw a big tiger in my front yard, my immediate reaction would be gibbering terror, not an earnest desire for civic engagement. I guess that’s the main difference between me and Mark, that and the fact that I don’t take unseemly pleasure in the screaming panic of children.

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Funky Winkerbean, 3/6/18

Here’s a fun fact: I’ve been running a comics blog for a 14 years now, and so a lot of people assume I’m a “comics guy,” but what they mean by “comics guy” is someone who has lots of opinions about comic books, especially superheroes and such. And I don’t, really! I was never a big comics book obsessive, and the comics I did read were some of the squarest ones around — Superman and the Flash were my favorites. And truth be told, there are very few specifics I even remember about the stories or characters in those books (unlike, say, Mary Worth, where I could go on in great detail about plotlines from more than a decade ago).

But one thing I do remember very distinctly is the process by which I bought said comic books. I got a $1 a week as a comics allowance, and the corner store up the street sold comic books in two forms. On the one hand, I could get a new comic book for 75 cents, choosing them from a rack that had all the latest issues prominently displayed. On the other, I could get three for a dollar out of the box on the floor next to the rack. The ones in the box were anywhere between a few months and a couple years old, and had the covers torn off. I always went the latter route: I was a quantity over quality guy, plus the $1 allowance vs 75 cents mismatch was too much for my little brain to handle. (Now I see I could’ve gotten a second new book every third week, but I guess we hadn’t gotten to that chapter in math yet.) This meant that I generally read random comic books that were in the middle of multi-issue arcs that I never got to see begin or end, which honestly really prepared me for the present day, when I’ve been able to enjoy Thor: Ragnarok and Black Panther despite not having seen the previous 17 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.

Anyway, I was always vaguely aware that these coverless comic books were somehow illicit, but I guess I have to give thanks to today’s Funky Winkerbean and the Funkyverse’s comics obsessiveness in general for finally teaching me what the scam they were pulling was. Anyway, we’re about to be treated (?) to another Funkyverse time-jumping crossover, where presumably we’re going to learn that one of the Funky Winkerbean’s more unpleasant characters is the way he is because of a childhood encounter with Ed Crankshaft.

Mark Trail, 3/6/18

“Now, Wilhelm was of course already disoriented and injured from having been involved in a traumatic train wreck. Probably he should’ve received medical attention right at the site of the accident, but it was in such an isolated, rural area that he and his friends had to wander through wilderness just to reach human civilization. And then the first people they saw fired a gun at him! It was loaded with rock salt, so it would just scar Wilhelm for life, not kill him, but of course he had no way of knowing that. He almost certainly thought he was going to die! We can all laugh about it now, of course. Well, not Wilhelm, he’s still a little steamed about the whole situation for some reason.”

Beetle Bailey, 3/6/18

Shout-out to Beetle Bailey for giving Plato the names of three real ancient Greek philosophers. I actually love Plato’s facial expression here; it’s exactly what you’d expect from a guy whom everyone just calls by the name of the only Greek philosopher they can remember or pronounce.

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Crankshaft, 3/3/18

So I didn’t cover Crankshaft this week because it was boring and mawkish, but basically the deal was that there was a little girl who had a book on “layaway” at the bookstore Lillian runs in her attic without a permit or a business license or proper fire escapes or anything like that — layaway in the sense that the girl would come in every once in a while and pay a few pennies towards the ultimate purchase price of the book, and then be allowed to read a little of her book before leaving it behind. Crankshaft, still hanging around the store after his futile attempt to get a different child interested in literacy and/or baseball, saw this touching scene, and decided to pay off the rest of the girl’s debt so she could take her book home the next time she stopped by. But! In possibly the greatest denouement of a Crankshaft storyline since Crankshaft’s best friend lost the mayoral election because Crankshaft forgot to vote, the whole thing, which we assumed was an attempt by the comic strip Crankshaft to manipulate our emotions, was actually an attempt by this little girl to manipulate Crankshaft’s emotions! And it worked! And she and her friend are pulling the same scam at bookstores all over the state! I want this pair of elementary school book-grifters to get their own comic strip, stat!

Mark Trail, 3/3/18

I guess it’s just going to be an occasional thing in Mark Trail now where an ancillary character tells an absurd shaggy dog story whose action we occasionally catch glimpses of, like the time we saw a walrus give birth in an SUV last year. I’m in favor of this development, obviously, just like Mark is obviously in favor of drunk, disheveled, injured clowns lurching out of the graveyard and sending innocent little children fleeing into the woods in a state of utter terror.