Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wishful thinking, indeed.

December 30, 2009

Panel 1:J.W. Pepper: The Sheriff with the Heart O' Gold!

Panel 2:And if this were the Twilight Zone, that deer would pop out of the woods, and the Sheriff would swerve off onto the beach to avoid hitting it. Thank goodness it's not and he won't.

December 29, 2009

Panel Zero:Boring denouement: Mark saves "a boy," Sheriff recognizes his error, Sheriff makes amends to Mark.

Wishful thinking denouement: Ditto the above. Sheriff gives his gun to Mark, who uses it to blast a hole the size of a buttermilk pancake in the hyena-pig who, if you will recall, was the cause of all this ruckus.

December 28, 2009

Panel 1:Um, total disconnect here. On Saturday, Mark had the jack and it's handle out of the trunk. On Monday, Mark is reaching into the trunk to retrieve the jack and it's handle. This disconnect is only amplified by the fact that Sheriff Pepper is forcefully repeating his command.

Panel 2:So. Fucking. Awesome. Rusty's floating head. I wish I had photoshop. I would start putting this in every panel.

Panel 3:Yes, indeed. While that sand was troublesome before, I'm sure it will have firmed up quite nicely under the flowing tide.

December 26, 2009

Panel 1:Don't worry, Mark. If you wash the car right away, you should avoid any rust problems.

Panel 2:Wow. Kudos to the JS. Mark's face actually matches both his words and the context. I almost feel a twinge at the prospect of Rusty's apparent demise.

Panel 3:Fortunately for my self-respect, we're given this panel in which we're forced to confront the ridiculous notion that the J.W. Pepper is still operating under the misconception that Mark Trail is a citified faggot looking to steal a carjack to sell for an eight-ball and a couple doses of Viagra.

December 25, 2009

Panel 1:Presumably, if a deer leaps out in front of him this time, he'll plow the bastard over.

Panel 2:Step on the gas, then, motherfucker.

Panel 3:Ditto.

December 24, 2009

Panel 1:Judging from the misshapen bulges in J.W. Pepper's pants, I'm thinking the man is wearing a Depends undergarment. And look at that hairline. I wonder how Mark feels about socking a man who is well past the age at which he gets 20% off at Luby's?

Panel 2:The Jackelrod Sphere strives for pathos.

Panel 3:But, with water that is only 3" deep (i.e., knee-deep on the hyena-pig), achieves only bathos.

365 Days of Mark Trail

I just want to note (in an egregiously belated fashion) that this is the 365th (or is it 366th?) Mark Trail that I have commented on. While I may have done it late; while I may have done it in short, terse and unfunny sentences; I have now managed to address every single Mark Trail published since December 23, 2008. And you, my loyal readers, have suffered every step of the way. For that, I salute you!

December 23, 2009

Panel 1:Silly sheriff. You really ought to be keeping your eyes on Mark's hands.

Panel 2:I mean, look. He's holding a phone right now!

Panel 3:But not now? Who cares! Look at the power! With one roundhouse, Mark is able to knock the hat off J.W. Peppers head, the tie off his gut, and the keys out of his hand. That, my friends, is the sort of fist-work we've been waiting for all year! I find this a fitting tribute by the Jackelrod Sphere to my year of service.

Jury trial. What's that?

December 22, 2009

Panel 1:Mark seems uncertain as to the scope of his constitutional rights (state and/or federal).

Panel 2:So does Sheriff Pepper. Yet, surprisingly enough, he decides to err on the side of an expansive reading of the 6th Amendment's right to "Assistance of Counsel."

Panel 3:I take it that the Sheriff is unfamiliar with the Right Fist o' Justice.

December 21, 2009

Panel 1:Now this is some serious frontier justice. The judge doesn't just decide whether Mark should be offered bail pending a jury trial for felony burglary, he actually decides the entire case. I wonder what his name is? Roy Bean?

Panel 2:The tide remains active.

Panel 3:"Usually it's just one of my many cousins looking for ephedrine."

December 19, 2009

Panel 1:Please note that Rusty is not "my son" to Mark, but instead "a boy." This might explain a lot. It also probably explains why Mark's panicked pleading does nothing to thaw the congealed bacon fat that constitutes Sheriff Pepper's cold, cold heart.

Panel 2:Interestingly (to me), Mark is affected by the essentially agent-less passive voice, while Rusty is affected by the active voice of Nature. I wonder why.

December 18, 2009

Panel 1:Ahhhhh, Mark gets a little taste of the moral certitude he's usually so quick to dispense.

Panel 2:And, apparently, it doesn't taste good.

Panel 3:Unless your name is Sheriff J.W. Pepper!

December 17, 2009

Panel 1:Ooh, inbred AND venal. This, my friends, is my kind of Mark Trail villain.

Panel 2:Is it me, or does it look like Mark's hand is creeping across the floor (a la the Evil Dead) and preparing to throttle him?

Panel 3:I do so enjoy Sheriff Pepper's condescending use of the word "boy."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Newest Gimp

December 16, 2009

Panel 1:Uh-oh, I just realized that Rosco Hogg there has sideburns. I'm thinking Mark's in a heap o' trouble now! And what's with the handcuffs? If the Jackelrod Sphere has read his Chekhov, we're going to bear witness to something unspeakable in the third act...

Panel 2:"...with his pants around his ankles and a rubber ball in his mouth."

December 15, 2009

Panel 1:I'll be goddamned! If it isn't Sheriff J.W. Pepper!

Panel 2:Clobbered him? Hell man, you super-duper clobbered him with a side of special sauce!

Panel 3:From this angle, our atavistic southern sheriff looks more like a misbegotten love-child of Rosco P. Coltrane and Boss Hogg than J.W. Pepper.

December 14, 2009

Panel 1:All the more reason to have broken the small window.

Panel 2:Really? I thought Rusty's life as at stake. Tee hee. Get it. Boy's life. Rusty's life. Distinction...oh, never mind.

Panel 3:Wow, this is a little disconcerting. I like the violence and all, but whaling away at someone's head with a 2-pound monkey wrench is pretty serious stuff. Of course, given that Mark isn't bleeding (As an aside: How cool would it be if the JS broke the fourth wall, installed a window and speckled it with Mark's blood and brain tissue?), perhaps our anonymous assailant here is using an aluminum wrench.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Give me convenience, or give me death.

December 12, 2009

Panel 1:I like how Mark works. Don't break the glass in the door. Pick the biggest window in the joint and toss a giant D-cell battery through it. Very cool.

Panel 2:Now he's looking properly panicked.

Panel 3:How convenient!

December 11, 2009

Panel 1:What, was Mark hired by the Ministry of Silly Walks?

Panel 2:Oh noes!

Panel 3:I really ought to add this to my list of applicable laws in teh Trailosphere: Trespassing is okay if the place is old.

December 10, 2009

Panel 1:Does the hyena-pig look worried or guilty? I don't think so.

Panel 2:If we're fortunate, Rusty will be playing the role of Gabilan, Mark will be playing the role of Jody Tiflin, and the pelicans will be playing the role of the vultures in this little drama.

December 9, 2009

Panel 1:I really shouldn't laugh as hard as I am right now when faced with Rusty's tear-stained face. Clearly, I'm a heartless bastard.

Panel 2:Well, that'll make the sawing easier.

Panel 3:Awesome! Slow drowning! Now that's a demise I can get behind.

December 8, 2009

Panel 1:Mmm...yes. Somehow. Sheer laziness on the part of the Jackelrod Sphere, that's how.

Panel 2:Look, Mark. If Rusty's leg doesn't hurt that much, it means the leg isn't bearing the weight of the car. Which means that the hub/brake assembly is bearing the car's weight. Thus, if you want to free Rusty's leg, let the hub/brake assembly rest in the sand and dig out around Rusty's leg. Dumbass.

Panel 3:Saw it off!

December 7, 2009

Panel 1:Plausible.

Panel 2:Plausible.

Panel 3:Totally fucking implausible.

December 5, 2009

Panel 1:Riiiiiight.

Panel 2:That Rusty, he's a fast little fucker. Note that yesterday, he was crawling under the right side of the car when the hyena-pig knocked into the jack. Today, he's fleeing out from under the back of the car. Shame he didn't use that uncanny speed just to back out from the side of the car.

Panel 3:On November 30, Mark was stricken with horror at the thought of running over a deer. Today, his only son is getting crushed by a car, and he looks...I don't know...concerned.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Please crush them both.

December 4, 2009

Panel 1:Mark, that's why you should always block your wheels when you jack your car up: the jack isn't going to tilt if the car can't move.

Panel 2:That boy just isn't very smart.

Panel 3:Really? A 3-pound dog is going to knock over a car jack that, no matter how unstable, is being pushed into the earth by a 3,000 pound car? Color me skeptical.

December 3, 2009

Panel 1:Nice to see that Mark's jack is as antiquated as his car.

Panel 2:That dog just isn't very smart.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just kidding, this is only the beginning.

December 2, 2009

Panel 1:I take it back, it's clear that Mark does not drive a 1967 AMC Ambassador, because the Ambassador had round headlamps. Upon further reflection, I have concluded that Mark's beach buggy is, in fact, a 1980 Ford Fairmont.

Panel 2:You know what's even more amazing, Rusty? The fact that just a few seconds ago, you were driving along the beach with the trees on your right and the ocean on your left. Now, the ocean is on your right and the trees on the left.

Panel 3:And you know what's even more amazing than that? Now the ocean is on your left, again. That's one sneaky fucking ocean, flitting back and forth like a butterfly on meth.

December 1, 2009

Panel 1:A deer? That's it? And this deer isn't even particularly big. C'mon already. Mark's 1967 AMC Ambassador would make mincemeat out of the poor thing without risk of injury to the passengers.

Panel 2:You know Mark, if you're going to swerve to avoid hitting a deer which, I'll submit, is generally a good idea, you probably should avoid swerving toward a cliff.

November 30, 2009

Panel 1:Is Rusty so sheltered as to have reached his early adolescence without ever having seen the ocean before? And if that's the case, why not stop and let the unfortunate little fucker out of the car to actually try walking on the beach?

Panel 2:Christ, that's quite the look of horror. I assume Mark is about to pulverize a stroller full of infants, or possibly plow into a bevy of nuns who have wandered into the road.

Monday, November 23, 2009

This is the end.

November 28, 2009

Panel 1:I agree with Rusty, this story arc was basically unbelievable.

Panel 2:No way, you're just a fucking pelican and, moreover, you don't even know where Cherry you?

Panel 3:The hyena-pig is looking almost dog-like in this panel. It's uncanny, and I find it vaguely unsettling.

November 27, 2009

Panel Zero:In terms of advancing a story line or even closing this one off, this entire strip is a FAIL.

November 26, 2009

Panel know, Seth, game wardens don't make prosecutorial decisions; that's left up to local DAs and the like. But hey, if you want to not report Bob's case to the DA's office for prosecution, that's certainly your decision.

Panel 2:Well isn't that handy! A job opening for a man with a clean criminal record! And on a purely semantic note, wouldn't that be "on the right side of the law"?

Panel 3:Given Bob's excitement to become a government employee, I guess we can safely conclude that he's not related to this Bob Jackson!

November 25, 2009

Panel 1:Who knew that Seth Rogen moonlighted as a game warden?

Panel 2:"It's been a long-time since I beat up some long-hairs!"

Panel 3:Is it me, or does Bob's head look like it's shrinking?

November 24, 2009

Panel 1:Lame! Poaching to feed your family is fine with me. But poaching to make money to feed your family? WTF? Just shoot a fucking deer and eat it already. Lord, what a douche.

Panel 2:That Bob, he's a real stand-up guy.

Panel 3:"You're going to have to kill him!"

November 23, 2009

Panel 1:Did you ever see the T.J. Hooker episode in which Officer Romano was ribbing T.J. for not exercising? In the final scene, T.J. and Romano are forced to chase a bad guy through a park and, miracle of miracles, the husky T.J. (played, of course, by William Shatner) is able to outrun both the young, vigorous Romano AND the bad guys. The lesson, I think, was that donuts make you fast. Today's picture shows us the obvious corollary to the T.J. Hooker lesson: "Sideburns make you slow." So boys, when you grow up, eat lots of donuts and shave regularly and you, too, will be as cool as T.J. Hooker and Mark Trail.

Panel 2:"Mind you, alligators are a different story."

Panel 3:"It all started when Mr. Longburns held a gun to my head and forced me to get in his boat."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ass-kicking Klatsch

November 21, 2009

Panel 1:And what better way is there to renounce a criminal conspiracy than to kick your co-conspirators in the face while swinging from a low-hanging branch and renouncing the crime of poachi...wait...what's that Bob? You're not a pet killer? No mention of alligators, poaching, anything? Sucks for you, Bob, because that's not going to cut it in state court. Fortunately for you, Mark Trail is as ignorant of the law as he is the inside of Cherry's trousers, so you should be okay in the short-term....

Panel 2:You know, I think I prefer my action scenes with a little less dialogue.

November 20, 2009

Panel 1: Wow, Mark looks disappointed that his friend Bob here is mixed up with a bunch of facial-haired no-goods. He doesn't even need to shave, how can that be?!?!?

Panel 2:"But, you know, I feel really guilty about it, Mark. I mean, I'm all torn up inside. I can't quit you Mark Trail!"

Panel 3:Here's a hint folks, if you're ever involved in a criminal conspiracy, it doesn't matter if your co-conspirators boot you from their little endeavor. While I'm sure Mark is going to read Longburn's disavowal of Bob as exculpatory, a court of law would not and criminal culpability would still attach to Bob. For Bob to have a workable defense to a conspiracy charge, he's going to need to make a clear statement that he has renounced the goals of this poaching gang.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eight Days of....Well...Something.

November 19, 2009

Panel 1:If this is the beginning of the denouement to this storyline, I'm prepared to be totally underwhelmed.

Panel 2:Wait! Things are looking up. I detect a note of suspicion in Mark's voice here.

Panel 3:And there it is! The gun-wielding Longburns. Ladies and germs, I sense a beatdown coming on.

November 18, 2009

Panel 1:The Jackelrod Sphere continues its long tradition of recycling art. Today it's using the art from Monday's second panel.

Panel 2:Mark Trail, man of action, bridles the alligator and gallops off in search of retribution!

November 17, 2009

Panel 1:Wow, I wonder what the conversion factor is to determine the decibel equivalent to 36-point font.

Panel 2:Rusty, your play-by-play is getting a little tiresome.

November 16, 2009

Panel 1:Damn, dude. There's an apparently sluggish (He's certainly taking his sweet time to approach the hyena-pig.) reptile the size of a large canoe crawling out of the water and you miss?

Panel 2:Bob is 15 feet from the animals and the alligator is 8 inches from the hyena-pig, what the hell is Bob going to do, dive into the alligator's open maw?

November 14, 2009

Panel 1:It's hard to tell, but it looks like Rusty just grew a soul patch. Maybe he's going to break out the upright bass and bring the cool straight to the swamp.

Panel 2:Um, well, I guess not.

Panel 3:Bravo, Jackelrod Sphere, bravo! This is actually a pretty damn good picture of an alligator getting ready to eat the hyena-pig.

November 13, 2009

Panel 1:Sweetie? What? Is he trying to put the gay back in alligator?

Panel 2:Perhaps Sassy's turd breath will deter the ravenous reptile.

Panel 3:Yeah, shut yer yap!

November 12, 2009

Panel 1:Rusty, I'd check inside the ribbed collar of the giant turtleneck sweater you're sleeping under. She's probably trapped in there.

Panel 2:Fuckin-a, man. It looks like Rusty just woke up for a 3-day bender. Get that boy an 8-ball, there's work to be done!

Panel 3:What?!? Here in the swamp teeming with alligators?

November 11, 2009

Panel 1:I think there's boner in the bathtub joke in here somewhere. I'm just too lazy to find it.

Panel 2:That's right Longburns, treat the pooch as an inanimate object and you won't feel even the slightest twinge of regret when a gator finally gets him.

November 10, 2009

Panel 1:Wow. Bob finally realizes that he's nothing a but a pawn in a senseless game beyond his control and, here, in what may become one of the foundational statements of The New Atheism, rebels against his cruel and uncaring god. Next thing you know he's going to go on a speaking tour with Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins. That should be fun.

Panel 2:Cue the dueling banjos.

Panel 3:Poor Bob, first he becomes an atheist, then he's sodomized by a couple of hillbillies. What could possibly happen next?

Meta-Post: The Reason for the Delay in Posting

I just spent 6 days converting a closet into this:

I now have a proper throne upon which to ingest my source materials and compose my commentary. A catch-up post should appear soon.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Invisible Hand

November 9, 2009

Panel 1:This is irrefutable proof that we live in a cold, cruel and unfeeling universe that knows nothing and cares nothing for humans and their petty, insignificant problems. If we didn't, that'd be Rusty tied to the stake.

Panel 2:Well, Sassy, it goes like this. Unlike our universe, which is governed by natural laws which, while amoral, are also blind, you live in the Trailosphere. There, laws are malleable and justice is a joke. Your cruel and heartless overlord (I call him the Jackelrod Sphere) twists and tortures you to suit his passing whims and fleeting needs. In this case, his fleeting need appears to be a lack of a compelling plot point that could explain why Mark is wandering around in a swamp at night looking for malfeasors to punch. So, my porcine little hyena-type-thing, you're being treated like this because Rusty needs to wake up, miss you, and send Mark out to find you, whereupon he can stumble upon the poachers and pound them senseless. Sucks for you, eh?

Panel 3:Relax, Bob. In this instance, the safety of the hyena-pig is protected by the ineffable force of the profit motive. Sassy will be fine as long as Longburns is conscious and believes a quick buck is within his grasp.

November 7, 2009

Panel 1:WTF? Did Mr. Longburns go and join PETA or something? What's up with the soft-heartedness?

Panel 2:Phew! Just maximizing resources, that's all. Good old Longburns; always watching his bottom-line.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I'm William Fucking Strunk, Yo.

November 6, 2009

Panel 1:I've got to hand it Mr. Longburns. That backwoods motherfucker is fast on his feet. Go back and look at yesterday's third panel. Sassy was hauling ass in the other direction, Longburns was a good ways back and, yet, he managed to nab the paunchy pig-creature. Clearly, he's pretty damn nimble for a middle-aged poacher.

Panel 2:On the other hand, he seems to have a disturbing affinity for dogs.

Panel 3:See Wednesday's panel 2, infra.

November 5, 2009

Panel 1:Mr. Longburns (I think that's whose talking here) is just a little too eager to grab Sassy "from behind."

Panel 2:Mmm, yes, because Sassy totally understood everything Bob and friends were talking that's believable!

November 4, 2009

Panel 1:Bob, Bob, Bob, you've just opened yourself up to a world of hurt. Mr. Longburns and Mr. Shortburns are, for sure, going to become suspicious of you now.

Panel 2:Not to be a usage stickler here, but you can, in fact, hurt the dog. I think you mean to say that you "shouldn't."

Panel 3:Yeah, Bob, if you can skin an alligator without retching, than feeding a hyena-pig to another alligator shouldn't be too troublesome.