Sunday, December 12, 2010

I still haven't gotten used to this aspect of Mark Trail strips

You know how, because the strip is nature-related, the second panel of the daily strips often cuts far away from the action (or the "action") to show an animal in the foreground, while the principal characters continue to play out their scenes, dialogue bubbles emitting from deep, deep in the background.

Of course, at first and sometimes second (or third or fourth) glance, it usually looks like whatever animal is in the foreground is speaking the dialogue, and thus Mark Trail often looks like it may just be a completely surreal, insane comic strip with bizarre cutaways and talking animals.

For example, in this installment, a pelican seems to be thanking someone named Matt for being its guide, while a house below answers it.

I saw this particular strip at Josh Fruhlinger's Comics Curmudgeon site, the same place I see most of the soap opera comic strips that I never read (I don't generally read the funnies unless me and a newspaper are physically in the same place at the same time and I have nothing better to do during that time, and even then most of the papers I'm around tend not to have Fruhlinger favorites like Mary Worth and Apartment 3-G).

This particular Mark Trail storyline has been the best I've read/watched Fruhlinger read since the one with that poor fawn getting its ass literally kicked, due to its sexy set-ups that might be more natural in a romantic comedy, or a pornographic film of some kind, or maybe a rerun of Three's Company, but seem strange and awkward in Mark Trail.

For example, in this strip our hero walks out of the shower naked and finds a female visitor has come in and decided to sit and wait for him. Fruhlinger, an experienced Mark Trail parser who probably never has trouble remembering that the animals in the foreground aren't actually speaking the dialogue bubbles that seemed pointed at them, noted the size and placement of Mark's dialogue bubble in the last planet: "Faced by the sudden and terrifying prospect of a woman in his room, Mark covers his genitals the only way he can: by bellowing out the largest word balloon his lungs can muster."

That's a trick that, by the way, can only work in comics.

What a glorious medium.

1 comment:

SallyP said...

Both Mark Trail and Mary Worth have been a hoot lately. I didn't think that Mary Worth could quite match the insane splendour of the late Captain Kangaroo and his fiery fiery death, but the drunken rantings of Jill have been pretty impressive.