I liked you better when you talked!

OK, that’s enough!  Too much inner monologue…  this is just strange.  I want Mark Trail to talk out loud!  All these though balloons are freaking me out.

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As Mark sizes up his attacker (three-and-one-half bills!!) he reminds us of the Bear’s injured foot.  I follow these things pretty closely (OK, too closely I am sure) and unless that Bear arrived with the injured foot, I don’t know where that came from.  That’s good, I guess, but now Mark is going to have to what? Live the rest of his life in a tree?  If he can manage to get himself slinged up and not fall off that skinny branch then he’s a better man than me.  But then I guess he’s a better man than most, if not all…

Only two words today…

Does James Allen enjoy torturing Mark?  I mean seriously…

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This doesn’t look good, boys and girls…  Mark’s got a bad wing and that Bear, for whatever reason, has his number…  It’s all terribly surreal… with the all the background turning a lovely shade of green.  Almost a dream sequence…  Wait- that’s it!  Mark is going to wake from a nap and realize that not only is he NOT being chased by a bear, he NEVER SAID ANY OF THOSE THINGS TO CHERRY!!! PHEW!! That really was a close one!!

Shoulder may be separated, but his hair is… perfect…

Once again, Mark proves that you can’t keep him or his hair down for long… and it’s great that he has the quick-dry denim…  again, not sure where the bear acquired the “injured foot,” maybe he arrived that way.  But at least it slows him down a touch and allows Mark to fire off a few more thought bubbles.  What Mark wouldn’t give to run into Ol’ Eddie the small-time poacher right now.  Even a small caliber bird gun would be enough to drive this Black Hairy Menace off…

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I DO like the artwork, though!  Especially the colors.  VERY dramatic.  Keep running Mark, it’s your only chance…

The Bear must’ve taken the elevator to the ground floor…

So now that you have tested your bad shoulder, maybe you see that doing yoga is not the best idea at this point…  And good heavens.  You aren’t out of the woods yet, are you Mark?  I guess I have never thought about that phrase having a literal meaning, but now I see that it does…

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Such anguish, such feeling.  This is not my father’s (or mother’s) Mark Trail!  I am glad that Mark seems to know who he is and what’s going on, although I wonder how whacking the bear on the head causes it to LIMP…  Not to suggest other thoughts, but perhaps something like “I may have slowed that Old Bear down a bit, but it’s STILL coming after me!”  might be a bit more on the mark…  Note the use of the word “Old” as opposed to the term of affection “Ol’”  Mark knows that this bear is not his friend.  Why doesn’t he have Andy with him?  The big dog could have taken care of this in a flash!!

’tis but a scratch…

Poor Mark!  “Oh, life is like that.  Sometimes, at the height of our revelries, when our joy is at its zenith, when all is most right with the world, the most unthinkable disasters descend upon us.”  (OK, that was the adult Ralphie from “A Christmas Story…”  and that’s when the Bumpas Hounds descended upon the turkey sitting on the kitchen table…)  In mark’s case, it’s a tumble over the falls and an apparent separated shoulder…

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Glad you made it clear that it’s your left shoulder…  otherwise it looks like you might be thinking of starting to rip off a set of one-armed push-ups… but actually there are thought balloons galore in this sequence…  At least we know what is going on inside the Trail-head… we could have had a series of narration boxes along the top of the strip, but we get to hear it right from the nature-writer’s brain!!

And to acknowledge the eagle-eyes of others drawn to this lunacy, it DOES appear that Mark’s face is MELTING in the third panel!!

In case you haven’t been glued to this ripping story…

James Allen catches us up…  but wait- Mark DESPERATE??  Never.  He was always in control.  And we know one thing for sure- Nature always provides.  The symbiotic relationship between Trail and the natural world has been shown and proved countless times in the past… Which is exactly why I am not concerned that mark “stumbled” and has now gone over the edge of the falls…

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Although it doesn’t look so much like a stumble as it does a celebratory moon-walk… as in, “Oh yea, I got your number, I caved your head, I’m the king… OOPS! What the?!? Oh crap here I go…”  But don’t fear boys and girls, The strip is, after all, NAMED AFTER our falling hero.  He will be fine…

Well, Brother Bear, You’ve Met Your Match!

The previously brown, now black bear, not Ol’ Rex the Grizzly, takes one on the noggin from Ol’ Mark… Good thing that Stick grew in length, width and weight compared to what we saw Mark diving for yesterday…  That ought to send a message…  Doesn’t this Bear realize WHO he’s (or she’s) dealing with?  I AM TRAIL!  DO NOT CROSS ME!  I HAVE A NEW ILLUSTRATOR and he still has some testosterone in his blood!

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I must say, that second panel is well drawn…  you can see the intensity on Mark’s face, the size and girth and muscle mass of the Bear.  Heck, even Mark seems to have bulked up a bit in response to this Call of the Wild…  Ah such lusty tales he can tell back at the house where Cherry awaits, confused and trembling…