June 2, 2009
Panel 1:"But not so dangerous that I didn't contemplate moving them around yesterday in this panel. And certainly not so dangerous that I would put Andy on a leash."
Panel 2:This is possibly the most perfect statement of environmental vigilantism ever uttered on the comic pages of America's newspapers. Someone is knowingly violating federal law (specifically the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act), which carries penalties of up to $50,000 per day per violation and 5 years in jail, and Mark wants pictures to show that person when he confronts them and beats them up. Nice. I think the Steven Segal comparison I made when this arc started is pretty damn apt.
Panel 3: Good Lord! Howdy-Doody speaks and, lo and behold, he is the voice of reason!
June 1, 2009
Panel 1:This is nonsensical. And no, I don't mean this strip. I mean this panel. I mean, why does Mark even say that? Was he really thinking about grabbing a couple of 55-gallon drums and moving them around? To what end? To see what's inside? To keep them from spilling? This is about as lame a fucking panel as I've seen yet.
Panel 2:You know, I'm beginning to think there's some sort of unwritten code of serial comics, possibly even a social compact of sorts between the authors of said comics and their regular readers. The unwritten code basically requires that the characters of serial comics be so mind-numblingly obtuse that every day they must be reminded of the story arc in which they are trapped. The purpose of this code, of course, is so that if non-regular readers stumble upon the strip in any particular day, they will have an inkling of what is going on. In the case of Mark Trail, however, he's not so much mind-numbingly obtuse as he is suffering from Asperger syndrome. Certainly, his non-stop monologues demonstrate the sort of "intense preoccupation with a narrow subject, one-sided verbosity and restricted prosody" that one finds in individuals with Asperger. It also happens to be a useful mechanism for the Jackelrod Sphere to abide by his author's code and clue the fortunate majority of humanity that doesn't read Mark Trail regularly into what the hell is going on.
The corrolary to this unwritten code is the social compact between the author and the regular reader. As far as I can tell, the terms of this compact require the regular reader to ignore the stupidity of the strip's characters and to pretend the narrative arcs aren't predictable and boring. In return, the authors grace us with the occasional moment of sublime lunacy. Well, boys and girls, this panel is not one of those moments.
Panel 3: Nor is this.
May 30, 2009
Panel 1:"That's garbage that has been neatly stuffed into big gray cans!"
Panel 2:Apparently, Mark, it's irregular garbage.
Panel 3:Or it could be the leaden dialogue in this strip...ba da bump!...Thank you! I'll be here all week. Try the veal!