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.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Mark Trail Can't Handle the Truth, Wet Paint Signs

In today's gripping strip, Mark attempts to match Airport Manager's Mr. Finch impression with a very mediocre Mr. Cruise, circa 1992. In Elrod's Court, the witness asks all the questions, the judge is a porcelain doll with no eyes, and the lawyer is a fucking fuck-head. Oh, and nothing is ever resolved.

Fortunately, our new friend, Adolescent Moose, has some sense and actually makes two proactive suggestions:
1. Find the people who raise game birds
2. Do so with Sam, not Mark
Good choice, AM. You and Sam can probably get some work done while Denzel ices his wrists.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Mark's New Desk-Perch Restricts Circulation to Wrists, Genitals

In today's strip, Airport Manager shows us not only a snippet of denim, but a shocking amount of cat-like agility: In just one panel, he cartwheels over his desk into his chair, buttons his blazer, straightens his tie, and crosses his legs just in time to hear Mark's quick response to the question posed in panel one: "I have no idea."

Sam remains quiet as her father and Mark compare belt buckles and repeat one another's comments. Perhaps she's been sniffing an extra-thick Sharpie, the same one she used as eyeliner three days ago.

Giving us his best Gregory Peck in panel three, Airport Manager can hardly believe that someone would want to endanger lives...Bird Lives, that is. And you're right, Atticus, there ARE some politicians who have been pushing the county to buy new airport property. Their names are Leo and Lawson, and they share your office Monday-Wednesday:

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Startled Squirrel--Surprised?

That look of trembling awe in the first panel is not undeserved: Mark and Sam Sam Sam Sam have broken out a ringer late in the game, and its name is Unspecified Background Flora. UBF's efficient wrangling has put a quick end to this full-clothes rectal examination of an investigation, leaving the duo one step closer to the truth.

That would not stop Jack Elrod, however, from only taking the strip a half step closer, to that awkward, unremarkable point in time where Mark and Sam, sweating profusely from the lower armpits and breasts, respectively, burst in on Regional Airport Manager clad in a flannel one-sy. The cornerstone of a profound country was laid on this day 231 years ago, and Mark lets his bicep answer a softball question with boundless, belt-groping enthusiasm.

The eyes are the clear front-runner in Sammy Sam Sam explosionwatch 2007.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Mark and Sam Try to Fornicate, Miss by 40 Feet

Tired of hovering about the car and shouting at each other, Mark and Sam hit the backroads to locate clues and shout at each other. Sammy Samantha Sam Sam is looking oddly attractive in her mom jeans and magenta, button-challenged long sleeve, which might explain Mark's decision to air-hump the background in the first panel.
With the sexual tension eased by panel two, Mark and Sam actually unearth evidence pertinent to the case, despite Jack Elrod's baffling onomatopoeic device. Sam even makes a keen observation about the absurdity of this debacle in panel three. Something strange is in the air, and I'm not talking about that giant penis in the second panel.
It looks like these two might give the commissioners and their liege, Master Grey, a run for the money. The only thing left to wonder now is which part of Sam will explode first, her breasts or her eyes.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Logic Is Not Mark's Preferred Mistress

Things do not bode well for our detectively duo in the week's first installment of Airport Birdstrike Mania. Startled Squirrel picked up Mark and Sam's scent--probably reminiscent of Tag body spray and deer urine--and has darted off to inform the commissioners of the fruitless meddling.

The nervous sentinel's reaction seems to be a tad hasty. Sam is more inclined to avoid contractions and needlessly remind Mark of their location than tread 5 feet from the car to canvas the area for evidence. This leaves the deductive reasoning in the hands of her partner, who can do little more than muster the foregone conclusion that anybody releasing dozens of large birds used a truck, leaving local go-kart and airboat enthusiasts in the clear.

Sam's look of intrigue in panel three caps off an unintriguing day of inaction. While she could be pondering why she places so much faith in a dullard with a curly swath of hair taped to his forehead, she's probably mulling over the fate of her own cranium, the crown of which is sliding around precariously like some kind of top-heavy layer cake.