Comics

Mark Trail vs. Eminent Domain

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You know the post-Kelo message is getting around when even the hero of Mark Trail comics has thrown his backwoods-chiseled frame into the fight against eminent domain:

Put aside Mary Worth, and catch up on the whole storyline:

Trail and "Longtime St. Bernard Friend" are just trying to get back to the forest. A three-point deer listens in as Trail's old friend "Doc" says no to building a nature-destroying road to a local casino. Jack Elrod takes a Sunday break to celebrate the osprey. Doc's nemesis Sam Hill, who seems to be Doc himself wearing Mr. Weatherbee's suit, threatens to use his political connections to force a road through. Hill/Weatherbee uses the familiar excuse that the road will "benefit everyone." Even the squirrels fear the new highway. Trail arrives, begins unpacking travel bag full of identical tan workshirts. Is that pheasant ruffed grouse afraid of the road, or because "Crystal Lake" is the setting of the Friday the 13th series? Hangdog Doc is already giving up hope of fighting Sam Hill's powerful political friends. A brief interlude to explain why the Alaskan Malamute is better than a snowmobile. Today's issue.

Trail has delivered country-style ass-whuppings in the past: Can he use the same methods agains Big Government?

The Comics Curmudgeon's Mark Trail collection.

A brief history of time anomalies in the Mark Trail universe.

Latest state-level action on curbing eminent domain abuses.

Thanks to Alan Vanneman for the Trail tip.

NEXT: Gillespie on CNBC, 10:45AM ET

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  1. What do you call a Gannett newspaper that isn’t USA Today? A Mc-McPaper?
    Anyway, Sinincincinnati is deprived of Mark Trail, Mary Worth, and most importantly, sin.

  2. What is Lost Forest, anyway? Is it the Trails’ private family preserve? Is it held in some conservation trust? Enquiring minds want to know.

  3. Serafina, it’s an anarcho-capitalist utopia 🙂

  4. Hmm. Elrod’s site calls it Lost Forest National Park, but also refers to Mark’s charming country house on the Lost Forest Game Preserve.

  5. I’d live there. Especially since there’s an international airport close by.

  6. This is Nature on meth.

  7. That’s some deep symbolism there with the eagle/hawk going after that marmot.

    I’ll check back with the strip in a month or two–by that time Mark’s conversation with Mr Baldy might be just winding down.

  8. I’m also confused: Is this a private game reserve, or a public wildlife refuge? In which case, it wouldn’t be an eminent domain issue.

    If it is public land, this is not a story of the Little Guy defending his Hard-earned Assets, but a tale of the Greedy Guy who wants to preserve publicly-funded open space for his own use.

    And at the risk of being accused of nit-picking, that’s a ruffed grouse, not a pheasant.

  9. I heard this cartoon caused massive rioting in New London, CT, with eminent domain extremeists burning down embassies and the offices of the Cato Institute around the world.

    When will Mark Trail stop provoking people?

  10. I always envisioned a Mark Trail movie with Henry Rollins as Mark Trail. He would spout off nature facts in an intense voice while whupping ass on dognappers and eminent domain abusers.

    Mark Trail and Gil Thorp are today’s most underrated strips.

  11. When I read Mark Trail or Rex Morgan MD, I like to pretend the last panel is intended as a traditional punchline.

    Try it. You might find it funny.

  12. When I read Mark Trail or Rex Morgan MD, I like to pretend the last panel is intended as a traditional punchline.

    Try it. You might find it funny.

    I had been doing the same thing for years (as a child), although unintentionally. In fact, this explains my childhood frustration with comics like Mark Trail and Mary Worth. I never got their punchlines. (Like, where’s the joke?)And if those comics aren’t supposed to be funny, why mix them in with the humor ones? It just confuses everything.

  13. Pretending the last panel as a punchline doesn’t save Fred Basset.

  14. When I read Mark Trail or Rex Morgan MD, I like to pretend the last panel is intended as a traditional punchline.

    Try it. You might find it funny.

    Heh. I just tried it on the Mark Trail comic above, and I actually LOLed. But maybe that’s just because I’m cynical about taxes.

    I had been doing the same thing for years (as a child), although unintentionally. In fact, this explains my childhood frustration with comics like Mark Trail and Mary Worth. I never got their punchlines. (Like, where’s the joke?)And if those comics aren’t supposed to be funny, why mix them in with the humor ones? It just confuses everything.

    I know what you mean. For many years, I’d assumed that Doonesbury was supposed to be one of the humorous ones.

  15. Read Mark Trail while understanding that Trail is actually Captain Willard from Apocalypse Now. After he killed Kurtz, of course.

    Ditto Mary Worth. Only she’s “Photojournalist”.

  16. Pretending the last panel as a punchline doesn’t save Fred Basset.

    Sadly, I had to withstand teasing from classmates when my dad wrote into the local paper pleading with them to keep Fred Basset.

  17. Sadly, I had to withstand teasing from classmates when my dad wrote into the local paper pleading with them to keep Fred Basset.

    Ha, ha!

  18. I was just envisioning Werner Herzog directing Billy Bob Thornton in a film version of Mark Trail.

    Then I realized that in a sense he already has.

  19. Lost Forest is Doc’s, Mark Trail just sponges off him.

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