This is the comic strip Mark Trail?

Jules Rivera

Mark Trail 1991Of all of the comic strips in the various newspapers I’ve read in my life, one seemed particularly stilted. Mark Trail, my wife noted, looked old-fashioned even when we were growing up. The three-panel stories advanced the plot incredibly slowly.

The “handsome hero and outdoor man” was created by cartoonist and national parks guide, Ed Dodd. It debuted on April 15, 1946, complete with a Saint Bernard named Andy. While Jack Elrod had become an assistant on the daily strip around 1950, he didn’t get credit until June of 1979. Then in August 1991, Ed Dodd would retire his name from the strip, though Elrod had been doing the work for some time.

Right from the beginning, Tom Hill was the artist for the Sunday pages, though he didn’t get his name in the signature ball until July 1967. He did much of the drawing of the daily strip as well. He kept that job until he died in 1978. Then the creator for the daily strip generally completed the Sunday version as well.

Around 2004, Elrod “took on James Allen as an assistant and trained him to take over the strip when the time came. From 2014 Allen and his writing partner Brice Vorderbrug ran the show. After the July 25, 2020 strip, King Features Syndicate abruptly dictated that the new Mark Trail would end, right in the middle of a storyline. You can read the full chronology here.


Surprise! For the strip of October 12, 2020, Jules Rivera took over. She is the creator of the webcomic Love, Joolz,. Rivera said, “I want to respect the legacy. I appreciate what the fans appreciate,” including Trail’s love for nature and dedication to protecting the environment. But “there are going to be jolts galore.”

And there are, for sure. Mark Trail wants to know if he has a “dadbod”?

Mark Trail.2020

It may be a cliche, but this simply is NOT your parents’ Mark Trail. It looks different, it reads differently. From a story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “Rivera, 37, is of Puerto Rican descent. She is the lone Latinx producing a daily newspaper comic strip, a field that is almost solely the domain of white males. But she’s not intimidated by that because she’s been in that situation before.”

Given the fact that I used to use Mark Trail as a tranquilizer, I’ll be checking out the Rivera version for a while. Go to the Comics Kingdom site and see the past week’s strips for free. Or subscribe for $20/year and access its 60,000 comics archive.

Food and home

Expect something major to break in the first year.

homer-simpson doughnutsY’ know I have several Ask Roger Anything questions, but these from SamuraiFrog struck my fancy:

What are your favorite and least favorite kinds of donuts? And if you don’t like donuts, what is your favorite pastry? And if you don’t like pastry… you’re no fun.

Thank goodness I am fun! There’s a place right across the street from where I work called Cider Belly Donuts. I try to go only once a week. I get a maple, usually. Historically, donut-wise, I generally will go for the glazed first.

I’m not that fond of filled donuts, usually because Continue reading “Food and home”

X is for xkcd

You cannot change the laws of physics,

xkcd is a comic strip by Randall Munroe that addresses issues that either 1) I have thought of but wish I had said better, or 2) hadn’t thought of, but wish I had. He describes xkcd as “a webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”


I mean, I’ve BEEN to this meeting. Totally exhausting. Haven’t you?

xkcd updates every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. “Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).”
Continue reading “X is for xkcd”

April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth

A World Awash in Purple


The 2016 Pulitzer Prize Winners, with links to many of the written pieces!

The Vlogbrothers — John and Hank Green — summarize the tax proposals of the folks who want to be your next President.

John Green: Here’s to civil discourse and David Kalish: Comparing Facebook to a pee-soaked lamp post.

Whose Heritage? Public Symbols of the Confederacy.

Mississippi Interracial Couple Evicted For Being In An Interracial Marriage. In 2016.

Michigan mechanic refuses to serve people from the ‘ghetto’ — but insists he’s not racist – he was a bit coarser than that. “But Jim S. insists he’s not racist — which is exactly what racists usually say. ‘Race has nothing to do with this, let me clarify,’ Jim S. told Mic. ‘What we’re trying to avoid is people who number one can’t afford service.'” In 2016.

Michael Rivest: Thoughts on White Privilege and Colorblindness.

Why You Should Care about Felon Voting Rights.
Continue reading “April rambling #2: Smartest place on earth”

C is for comic strip word creation: sealioning

“Sea-Lioning is an Internet slang term referring to intrusive attempts at engaging an unwilling debate opponent…”


There’s a nifty comic strip called Wondermark, which began in April 2003, created by David Malki ! -yes, he spell his name with an exclamation point. “It’s considered an honorific, and used in the same manner as ‘Jr.’ or ‘PhD’: there’s a single space before it. The exclamation point is not pronounced — though many have tried, often with hilarious results.”

He released The Terrible Sea Lion in September 2014, and it became an instant sensation. Continue reading “C is for comic strip word creation: sealioning”