Friday, May 2, 2008

The Greatest Worst Comic

A thank you to, of all things, Cracked Magazine for tuning me into this comic strip.

Mark Trail is a comic strip that has been around for just over 60 years. The strip revolves around it's title character, a photojournalist and erstwhile conservationist. He also helps people solve injustices against animals. He has also been in his early 30's for many decades (even Charles Schultz allowed his characters to age a few years).

The strip tends to suffer from a few glaring flaws. First, the humans aren't drawn terribly well. There are some body ratio issues. In addition, every evil human in the strip is given sideburns and long hair. Secondly, while the strip follows a story line, every Sunday is devoted to some wonder of nature, effectively killing the momentum of the story. Finally, as it is a nature strip, there are some beautiful drawings of animals, however, the animals are drawn in instead of the humans, causing one to believe that either the humans have transmorgified or that the animals are suddenly capable of speech.

Allow me to show a few examples from the most recent storyline, which involves a pet kidnapping ring.

Here are the kidnappers planning the kidnapping of a puppy. Note the sideburns and ponytail (how evil!) Oddly, the kidnappers appear to be in cahoots with a local sparrow:

The next day shows that perhaps it's the sparrow who is the brains of the outfit:

Here's a Friday strip, where the plan to kidnap the puppy is set in motion:

Here's the Saturday strip, where it looks like the plan might work:

Oh no! Will the puppy fall for the ruse? Quick, let's find out on Sunday, where all comic strips have more room to tell a story:

Yay! The puppy.....uh....what the hell? A MONKEY EATING EAGLE? BAD HAIR DAY? What does this have to do with anything? Did I tune into that show with the Crocodile Hunter's scary looking daughter? Oh well, it turns out that the puppy is indeed kidnapped, so now it's Mark Trail to the rescue! Though for some reason, he lets a wild rabbit do the questioning for him:

And those hands in the final panel? What can he do with those tiny little things?
Notice how in this final example his hands have grown back to a more normal size, but HORRORS, the poor girl's mother has transformed into a goose!

Will Mark Trail be able to find the kidnapped puppy and return him safely? How many more animals are involved with this scheme? Will the girl's mother return from going south for the winter in time to continue being a mother? (At least you could make a nice down pillow from her.) Time will answer all these questions, and I will be happy to bring you the answers to them, provided you don't actually get the comic strip in your newspaper.

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