Saturday, November 24, 2007

Somebody Is Going to Get Shot in Mark Trail

Johnny, busy with "heading" his boat back home as if it were some kind of work animal, fails to notice the watchful eye of a myterious cossack rifleman lingering amid the prolific waterfront fauna. Some sort of marsh penguin waits pensively for any signs of action.

Johnny Appreciates Ranger Red's Friendship, Creepy Midnight Escort to the Dock

The aggressive French Canadian subdued and eager to boat home, Ranger Red returns to his dock beat, grimacing with pride at another job well done. Johnny's ever-shrinking watercraft suggests that the Mark Trail equivalent of Willy Loman is only a few hits in the credit report away from downgrading to a stryofoam cooler and a personal motorized fan. His ever-bloating face in Panel 3 suggests "come and eat with us soon, before I consume every edible morsel in my destitute family's house."

Monday, November 19, 2007

French Canadians Are Essentially Dogs

Awkward banter aside, Bull's camp successfully swiped Johnny's customers, and it's going to take more than pathetic name-calling to resurrect his naturish enterprise. Ranger Red manages to tame the beast with a calm-but-firm pat on the head, reducing a belligerent camp wrangler to a fist-pounding, soft-eyed creep in Panel 2. A little coffee will be had, yet one can't help but wonder how many panels it will take before this helpful ranger suggests the services of one woodsy journalist to salvage his floundering business.

Johnny Ambiguously Threatens in Front of Authorities

The hoe-wielding skirmish between Johnny and Bull has finally been broken up by the ranger and his band of cossack sailors. Malotte continues to make threats in spite of a fevered plea from that yellow-shirted guy's knee cap, which doesn't seem to faze the ranger at all. What he has lost in mustache girth, he more than compensates for in eyebrow growth, so perhaps Johnny's threats aren't as empty as they have been over the past two weeks. Mark is still unavailable for poorly worded comment.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Recap Part 3: Scuffling, Followed by Rangers

Like all swarthy men before him, Johnny's heart is pure, his loins are potent, and his mustache is ferociously uncomfortable. But below that mass of tight, glistening curls lies a firey mind incapable of mercy or composure, one that will stop at nothing until the Malotte name is unsullied, avenged, or the surname of every caucasian on earth.

But Paul's empty-handed return to the camp is doubtlessly the most unswarthy blow to Johnny's sporting camp yet, and the man you see in the panel above is not the man you will see just 10 days later. Witness the disintigration of a gentle mind:

Johnny's concerned, but not enough to touch his face. This is clearly an unsettling gesture.

It's difficult to grasp Johnny's state of mind when his body language suggests so many intense, seemingly unrelated emotions. He's eager to hear Paul's explanation, but it looks as if he's going to run away before the color-coordinated lad can conclude his frayed excuse. Is he losing weight or gaining it? Again, impossible to tell. Paul is still holding the oar for a reason.

Fear begets rage in the Malotte household, and after hearing that pant-sy camp competitor Bull Malone is behind the boat-soaking, Johnny's has no recourse but to head down the only road he's ever known in the unscrupulous world of commercial outdoorsy stuff.

It's going to take more than a frightened, possibly pregnant wife to convince Johnny that Bull's boastful ways don't warrant gunplay. Thankfully, a desire to taste the flesh coaxes Malotte away from his firearm.

Violent ambitions aside, Bull proves to be quite the adversary after Johnny stops talking to himself on the dock. Strangely enough, both pugilists in the Mark Trail universe can sustain more than one hit before conceding defeat, leading to several panels of implausible action.

Only when Bull takes the fight about 30 times too far do the ranger and his rangery cap decide that they've seen just about enough. There won't be any hoes impaling skulls on their watch.

And that's were we stand--two weeks have passed, emotions have been put on physical display, and our eponymous hero is nowhere to be seen. Stay tuned for more gripping episodes of the most enjoyable Mark Trail saga ever.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

I Lied, Here's Recap Part Deux

Paul ponders his failure to procure business for the hunting camp and the impending bite of his father' s best extension cord. Who's to blame for this pant soaking, and why?

Bull Malone, owner/operator of a competiting camp and the sexiest jerk in the woods, caught wind of Johnny's friend-recommending plans and took matters into his large, large coat collar. Clearly fluent in the preferred body language of all Mark Trail characters, Bull assures the pensive businessmen with a hearty tug of his pants that his camp is as better than Malotte's as his pants are deep and wide. Mister Johnson tugs his blazer to signal his approval, and the usurping is complete. The apparantly eldest Mallote son is in for the extension cord lashing of a lifetime.

Fray on, Paul's jacket, but fray carefully, because this recap isn't over yet.

NLR Is Back; Let the Recap Begin

No excuses, let's just begin and pretend the last 3 months never happened....

The airport birdstrike saga wrapped up as follows:

Buzzard kidnaps Sammy Sam Sam,
Mark punches Buzzard once, defeats Buzzard,
Mark goes to question Leo and Lawson, Leo voluntarily caves,
Everyone goes to jail, Mark grimaces with pride at another closed case,
Mark returns home to Lost Forest, having never written the birdstrike article he set out to write.

This took roughly 30 strips to conclude. After that, somebody's love for a duck prevented totally capitalist developers from building a Mall on fragile wetlands. Mark grimaced with pride and accomplished nothing he set out to do. Yes, this is a trend you're witnessing.

And now the shaky foundations for another Trail saga have been set, the first quivering stones being laid by impossibly mustachioed Trail buddy Johnny Malotte:

By the looks of his ravenous brood, Johnny has obviously been working hard to clear up the misconception that his camp is a place to hunt and fish, not to be hunted and fished. It's going to take all of the children and a coffee cup chock full of badgering optimism to land this friend-recommending deal. Johnny taps Paul's stomach goiter to pick up the clientele.

The goiter's plans take an unexpected turn, however, when a mysterious boat appears from the ether, in one of the surest hurries Paul's young cap has ever seen.

Unable to stray from the prime objective, young Mallotte is reduced to bold-lettered stammering.

Eventually, the bigger, stronger boat overtakes Paul's dinky one-prop vessel, dashing the hopes of a timely arrival at the trading post. Panel three finds the saboteur's boat reflecting loudly on his pilot's intentions.

And that's where the recap begins and the steamy strip-by-strip coverage takes over. Please enjoy. I won't let you go this time, promise.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

The End of Repetitive Days, Part 1: Sam Sets Herself Up for the Kidnapping of a Lifetime

July 20

Mark is pound-him-in-the-butt furious that Sam left to pursue overallphile Buzzard in his one-tone portable birdsprinkle unit, but there's no way Sam could've fumbled around pointlessly with the Trailster in the way. That tinge of excitement you feel in the back of your neck is not unwarranted: at this point, Sam is probably just decades away from being discovered by the redneck she fruitlessly pursues.

July 21

Decades turn to weeks overnight, as Startled Squirrel discovers Sam screaming to herself in panel two. If she was really pining for Mark to arrive before airport-has-most-flights time, it might have behooved her to wait for him, per the plan she concocted all by herself only 2 days before.

July 23

With her corneas unable to bear the onus of her ever-growing eyes, Sam fails to see Buzzard in her line of sight, putting an end to her loud snooping. The "missing dog" is a bad excuse; a more palatable ruse would sounded something like, "Oh, you frightened me...I'm busy hiding my gigantic orange neckerchief from the world with frightful shame."
Stay tuned for the next installment: Enter the Buzzard.

Nobody Loves Rusty Is Back in Action

So sorry to keep everyone waiting around for the gripping conclusion to birdstrike fuckjob 2007: the Lamest Story Ever Told, but I've been on vacation for the last two weeks, and, to make matters worse, my desktop's power source was destroyed by one of the vagabond electrical outages that plague rural Wyoming. Rest assured that everything is back to normal. Stay tuned for more unexciting but necessary action.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Mark Trail Math












today's strip.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

If You Can't Get Enough Mark Trail...

You should probably head over to Darktrail, which is an absolutely hilarious blog. We at NLR love to bring you Mark Trail like it is; Darktrail brings Mark Trail to you like it should be.

Mark Jumps Into Bed, To Conclusions

Something strange is happening: to Sam's head, Sam's disintegrating man hand, Sam's phone, and Sam's attitude. One would think that after spending several weeks aimlessly meandering through exurban airport frontage roads, eating at physically implausible restaurants, tallying up passes from the wildlife service, screaming, and ignoring suspicious characters in suspicious places, Mark and Sam might take a little time to investigate at least one bird deliveryman that isn't named "Bird." Not everyone hunts insignificant criminals poorly for a living, you know.

Instead, our duo take the first name off of that blank piece of paper on Mark's bed, and visions of NOT GOODNESS pluck the well-worn brainstrings in Sam's masculine head. It is only by the grace of Elrod that the duo's baseless conjectury actually hits the target. Certainly not by the grace of the Cherry Trail gigantaphone 2300 that Sam bought for her bedroom floor, which must be difficult to fit in that diminutive nook where the biologist's pinkie melts into her cheek.

Cherry Trail gigantaphone 2700 (pallid fever edition)

If you haven't already, don't forget to cast a ballot in Sammy Sam Sam Explosionwatch 2007. Details can be found in the upper righthand corner.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Punctuation Update: Period Used in Mark Trail

Sam is safe (for the moment), and Leo turns the spotlight again to Buzzard and his mouthshuttyness.

Lawson has assuaged his partner's annoyingly repetitive trepidations several times, and the rationale makes sense. Buzzard wouldn't risk jail time to bring his municipal employers down--unless, of course, more money were involved.

Rather than worrying about their bird-sprinkler for hire, the commissioners should turn their attention to that sentient baguette in panel one emerging from the houseplant and making a dash for the exit. If he can get to the authorities before he smolders to death, Lawson and Leo could be looking at a pretty hefty fine for killing that duck, which would mean returning all of that fabulous office equipment they acquired 10 minutes ago. And let's face it, Leo's dislocated wrist is in no condition to move anything right now.

Perhaps they could sell one of their tables to Sam, who desperately needs a bedside perch for her phone. The bioligist is cutting a nice figure, but phone sex has never been less seductive, or more inconvenient.

We catch another whiff of Mark's unbearable fervor in panel three. Jack Elrod would have you believe that the Trailster's been hard at work scrounging up info on local birdsprinklers while Sam was taking a ride on the blame train with the commissioners, but Mark actually picked up those names almost a month ago during a kinky encounter with the Wildlife Service.

June 25

Fortunately for Mark, Sam is about as vacant as her bedroom: very.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Uh, Hey Leo

Deceit has always been a dish served thinly veiled in Jack Elrod's naturish world. With Lawson's chins hanging precariously off of his embattled face, municipal power bottom Leo materializes out of nowhere to support his beleaguered partner and throw his broken index finger into the fight. Sam tries to play it coy, but her ever-widening eyes betray her fertile suspicions and the piece of corn stuck between her teeth.

While the biologist leaves what we can only assume is Lawson's office with a draw, which is more than anyone could expect from a helmet-haired numskull incapable of grasping the plural and singular modes of formal constructions, her catty ways could end up earning her a date with disaster. Remember, a duck-related car accident is only a phone call to Buzzard away. Only one person with ebony bile in their left eye will leave this contest unscathed.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Emotions Run High, Then Ambiguity Rules the Day

Saturday, July 15

Lawson doesn't like being corrected, and it's going to take two fingers to cram that point home. Tiring quickly of the airport biologist's roundabout accusations, the commissioner switches gears from pleasant naivete to threatening gestures, marking an absolutely wonderful start to the weekend. Fear looks good on Sam, even if her jawline has sold out to Nike.

The lines between anthropomorphic right and wrong are as unclear as the dialogue bubbles in panel two, where Startled Squirrel tries his ill-shaded best to escape the clutches of Dissociative Identity Fox, whose head and limbs are playing for different teams. Larger Building in Distant Urban Landscape has switched sides for the third time in as many days.

The only sure thing left in this convoluted storyline is vacillation, but when man or beast is forced to choose between a lady unable to decipher the difference between truth-seeking and finger-pointing and an elected official that can't stop calling his municipality's airport the "present" one...

June 16

....there are no correct decisions. There are only insufferable jerks.

Make sure to cast a vote in the Sammy Sammy Sam Explosionwatch 2007 poll. As it stands now, the breasts are the narrow favorite.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Lawson's Soul Is as Black as His Pocketsquare

Sam is trying her blue-hair hardest to back Lawson into a corner, but it is a vague and ill-defined corner that pretty much anyone in the surrounding metropolitan area could fit into. Her circuitous argument rests on the mind-numbing principle that only those aware of the birdstrike qualify as an acceptable audience to her misgivings of on PURPOSE!! activity.

The watchful eye of Awe-tistic Hawk in panel two has secured Larger Building in Distant Urban Landscape's waffling allegiance to the scheme. The triple-cross has pissed off Sam, who chooses to dismiss LBIDUL's call for evidence in favor of cheekbone-contorting looks of suspicion and a potshot at the lobbying industry. The opening round has come and gone, but it's still too early to tell whose disfigured left eye will overrun with ebony bile first. Both have gotten off to a healthy start.

So will the Airport Biologist's tactics make this birdstriker sing? Advocates of common sense would say no, but the body's language is the most revealing of human patois, and Lawson's inflated chest in panel three is clearly a defensive gesture, no doubt a tactic acquired from his anthropomorphic cohort. If we're lucky, Sam will only have to repeat herself for two or three more weeks before Lawson caves and rats out Tumblz the Optimistic Dysplasial Bunny.

But at what cost, Tumblz?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sam Is a Quick Sell and Horrible Profile

Lawson arrives to convince meddlesome Sam that one birdstrike is cause enough for an overhaul of the town's transportation infrastructure. He tries to hammer the point home with sensual desk perching that has become the predominant motif over the course of birdcrush storytime. Ms. Hill's smile in panel three says "go on," but her poorly conceived features say, "you'll want to turn the lights down first." Also, "these buttons don't allow me to remove my shirt." Also, "I remember that birdstrike, I was the one that struck the birds."

Startled Squirrel and his third cousin, Sorta-Startled Squirrel, look on with curious surprise as long-time municipal crony Larger Building in Distant Urban Landscape switches teams late in the game and fires the opening salvo on Sam's behalf. Lawson's bicep appeared to be ready for the double-cross, however, which can only portend doom for the airport. Should future turncoats be unable to betray the operation, there's no way Mark and Sam are capable of thwarting this on their retarded own.

If the commissioners opt to save some of the money earned from the scheme instead of eating it all, they may want to consider a trip to Office Depot. A potted plant and picture frame do not an effective office make.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Mark Trail Recap: Zeno's Paradox, Applied Liberally

So sorry to be tardy on the Mark Trail updates, but pressing matters have taken up most of my week, and let's face it, there are few matters less pressing than Mark Trail. Let's begin.

Monday, July 9

Jack Elrod begins the week yet again preoccupied with keeping readers up to speed through the empty vessel known as Samantha Sam Sam Sammy Sam Samantherson. Mark and Sam have wrapped up their nearly week-long "yell, respond, and repeat" session with noted flannelphile Airport Manager, who isn't afraid to let his office's left blue curtain do the talking for him.

Rather than use the free moment to track down the perpetrators before they strike again, the duo decides to stop in for a quick bite at the only restaurant in the area that shares their disdain for the physical concepts of time and space. Sam compounds Mark's no-look door-opening gesture with equally awkward close-up dialogue. Panel two sheds light on the true secret of Samantha's irrepressible blue coif: forehead coloring.

Tuesday, June 10

Panel one suggests that Sam's breasts have regained the lead in Sammy Sam Explosion Watch 2007, but panel two sets us straight. Or scares the holy fucking crap out of anyone unfortunate enough to look at it for more than three seconds.
Mark may be right about the bad publicity, but there are probably thousands of ways to better catalyze a multimillion-dollar airport relocation than through birdstrikes. For example, planestrikes.

As we know all too well by now, coffee is usually a precursor for action in Mark Trail, and this time is no different...

Wednesday, July 11 Sam and Mark finally take a panel to look at the puzzle they finished piecing together several weeks ago and identify the municipal offenders, whom they ran into at the site of the bird-sprinkling one day before it went down.

(From June 1, for christ's sake.)

Only time--probably a lot of it--will tell if our anti-heroes can thwart the commissionerz n' friendz scheme before another bird suffers at the hands of a recreational pilot. Sam seems to have parked her car in the suddenly maritime restaurant, facilitating a quick exit, so they may be on the right track. Her breasts will call Mark later.

Thanks to Julia for all the great work she did over the weekend.