Saturday, June 30, 2007

Variations on a Theme: Mark and Sam Wander in Circles

Mark finally returns to the airport's service roads to flush out the bird-sprinklers with a healthy Sam, who is bursting at the chin for revenge. Full-time followers of this birdstrike chronicle may be experiencing a profound sense of deja vu, and with good reason...


...the episode is nearly identical to this pre-birdstrike strip where Mark drives Sam off a cliff in his boxy car.

The differences between the strips are sullen reminders of the shit that has transpired since that carefree day in late May. Mark has opted for more headroom in his new ride to support Sam's expanded dialogue bubbles and swollen features, and the commissioners' sentry Startled Squirrel has been replaced with disinterested crony Wide-Eyed Weasel. It will be difficult for the duo to take advantage of the substitution, as Mark has dropped a couple of rungs on the evolutionary ladder by panel three.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Shooting Down the Walls of 'Tardache (Bang Bang), Sam Is the Warrior

The commissioners' may want to push back those money-tasting plans, as the only character capable of dragging Mark out of his sexestential k-hole is back, and if the failure of her buttons to reach her collar is any indication, Sam won't rest (or change shirts) until this mystery is solved.

Whatever Mark was actually "working on"has been intentionally censored by the cartoonist's signature. All Jack Elrod is trying to conceal here is his own ignorance, as he has no idea what type of equipment journalists use in their trade.

Sam's looking good today, but beauty is fleeting in the world of her nebulous aesthetic. Consider this assortment of different looks for the Airport Biologist, categorized by what she ate for breakfast that morning:

BBQ Fritos, somewhat sparingly

Marshmallow paste tucked under her bottom lip like a wad of Copenhagen

Hot cakes. Lots of hot cakes.

Double A batteries.

I hope all five of you out there reading this have a great weekend. Stay tuned for the Week In Review tomorrow.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Master Grey Is (Apparently) Forever

Master Grey finishes laying the sinister groundwork for the second bird-sprinkling, while Leo and Lawson sit and watch the magic unfold. Another anthropomorphic player, City Goose, has entered the game to remind Buzzard of the need for discretion, proving once again that the Commissioners are just as comfortable keeping birds in their employ as they are with releasing them in heavy air traffic.
There is still a slim chance that Mark will somehow free himself from the man-sexy Wildlife Service and their questionable desk-perching mores in time to quash the airport deal. If he can't, that taxpayer money is as good as eaten, for some reason.

This is roughly the 10,000th time that Buzzard's ability to remain mum has come into question.

Jack Elrod: master of shadow and foreshadow. Think this buzzard's gonna sing?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Look Who's Talking--Lawson's Hair

All the pieces are starting to come together. It turns out that Lawson's alter-ego hairpiece, Master Gray, has been pulling the strings on Operation Bird-Sprinkle the entire time. Now the commissioners can only watch as Lawson's silvery curls, one arrogant tress away from total chaos, phone Buzzard to sound the death knell for Sam's precious little airport. Buzzard, angered and confused by Master Gray's straight-to-the-nitty-gritty greeting, adds retarded emphasis to an already emphatic statement, tying up another horribly scripted "Mark Trail" conversation.

Everyone continues to shout at one another. Buzzard continues to be labeled "old" by people who look older than him. Jack Elrod continues to be perplexed by the concepts of light and shadow.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Breaking News: Mark Trail Still Sitting on His Khaki Ass

Proving once again that time is not always a linear construct, Jack Elrod decides to take an unmeasurable step backward (and a little to the side) in the story line.

Wildlife Service Friend No. 2, probably at the behest of his silver-maned life partner Brooding Wildlife Service Master, decides to bring out the A game in panel one and perch seductively on his solid-bronze desk, a slender hand only inches from Mark's gnarled digits. If his cocky grimmace is any indication, Mark likes where this is going.

Panel two finds Mark and WSF2 celebrating what we can only assume is an unnatural tryst with pipin' hot cups of coffee and dialogue completely unconsequential to the matter at hand. I'd like to think that with his libido sated, Mark would continue his birdstrike investigation, but his crossed legs suggest a prolonged visit. A disgustingly prolonged visit.

This is not the first time one of Mark's Wildlife Service "Friends" has courted Mark with a sexy desk perch.

Mark's listening....

Monday, June 25, 2007

Mark Bends Over for Birdstrike Justice

Mark has finally decided to pay a pouty, homoerotic visit to Wildlife Service Friend No. 2 in his often-delayed-but-never-ending quest to get to the bottom of this imbroglio. The decision was a wise one, as WSF 2 awkwardly agrees to name names in the third panel, entranced by Mark's 1,000-yard squint and spontaneous mullet. That's the kind of commitment to service that earns you the bronze desk and inbox at the Wildlife Service.

If Mark is really the nature boy he claims to be, he'll turn his sights on those sickos who get their rocks off raising game birds after he cleans up this bird-sprinkling mess.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Trail Adventure Recap: Airport Bird Strike Mania

One of the larger problems in "Mark Trail" is that an adventure which encompasses roughly 1 week in real time will take roughly 8 weeks to resolve itself in Trail time. Fortunately, nothing really happens during these 8-week installments, so it's easy to catch up, if you have the right guide.

Here's what's happened in this adventure so far:

Fresh off of busting a friend's half-hearted/all-retarded insurance fraud scheme, woodsy journalist Mark Trail sets his khak-tastic sights on a hot new story: bird strikes at airports. Judging by her seductive perch in panel three, Cherry seems to be the perfect mate for the Trailster; all it takes to get her going is a little talk about "a friend with the wildlife service" and plans "to visit some airports." What a slut.

A talk with Wildlife Service Friend leads Mark to the office of Local Airport Manager, who credits his airport's reduction in bird strikes to sexy biologist daughter Sam Hill. If the strip above is any indication, this will be the last time Samantha Sammy Samantha Sam Sam's name will ever be mentioned. Alas, panel three will not be the last time anybody's face becomes horribly distorted as the storyline progresses.

Look out, here comes trouble. Municipal trouble.

Co-commissioners Lawson Mills (big blazer-tugging ginger) and Leo Smith (big whiny bitch) are looking to make a little scratch off of some useless land they own by selling it to their municipality as a site for a new airport. This plan is ripe with miscalculations, the first being that no voting district has ever approved construction of a new airport for fear of bird strikes.

Critical miscalculation No. 2: everything else about the plan. In the end, Lawson and Leo forego sprinkling birdseed on the airport in favor of a much more devious arrangement--sprinkling birds on the airport. There are several anthropomorphic players in this wicked game:

Branch-Kicking Skunk and Larger Building in Distant Urban Landscape

Awe-tistic Hawk

Tumblz the Optimistic Dysplasial Bunny

And lastly, Buzzard, the hunting guide with a penchant for fondling what dwells beneath his overalls:

Mark and Sammy Sam Sam Samantha Sam Samerson Sam Sam have a brief encounter with the Commissioners, but they fail to see through Lawson's "I know a problem when I see one, my right arm hasn't grown since the 4th Grade" subterfuge.

Trouble appears to be brewing in mustache paradise, however, as Leo appears visibly distraught at the sight of Lawson caressing Mark's burly shoulder in panel two. If the commissioners' ability to maintain personal relationships is as bad as Jack Elrod's ability to maintain spatial relationships, then life for these two could be getting worse, or just more confusing than it already is.

Speaking of confusion....

Unfortunately for Mark and Sammy Sam Sam, their joyride around in the airport in her plane, "Duck Fucker 4," coincided with Buzzard's bird-sprinkling schedule, and chaos ensued. Fortunately for us, Sam got seriously hurt.
After announcing to the world that he took the controls, Duck Fucker 4 landed itself safely at the airport, and Mark's crotch jump-started the investigation.

That was 11 days ago. Since then, little has happened in the way of investigating. Mark went back to the scene of the duck crushing to gather some evidence and misidentify the gender of the bird Sam killed...

took some "Mark time" in the hotel to talk to Cherry through her gigantic phone...

and twice visited a hilariously bandaged Sam to dry-hump a large plank of wood and provide evasive answers to her questions, all the while staring at her abundant cans.

And that's where we stand. Future synopses will not be as long as this one.

Welcome to "Nobody Loves Rusty!"

Hey there. I'm not much for introductions, so this will be quick and painless.

After scanning the Web for a few seconds the other day, I was shocked to discover that very little in the way of "Mark Trail" scrutiny exists on today's increasingly scrutinizing Internet.

This makes perfect sense, as "Mark Trail" is a hideously boring comic strip replete with confusing, unrealistic plotlines, and improperly placed dialogue bubbles. Most second graders have a better grasp of the natural world after one science assembly than Trail creator Ed Dodd and his successor Jack Elrod could ever dream of. Yet somehow, the strip has existed in its current form for more than 60 years.

I could ponder the consequences of this callous, half-assed daily homage to nature affects American society's attitude towards our dwindling natural splendor. Instead, I plan on making fun of the strip on a daily basis for my amusement, and hopefully yours as well. Please enjoy.