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Jack Elrod retires, James Allen takes over Mark Trail

Another serial comic is changing hands. Long-time Mark Trail cartoonist Jack Elrod is retiring and his assistant James Allen is taking over. The strip has been primarily guided by its creator Ed Dodd and Jack, but a lot of cartoonists have had a hand in the strip over the years including the great Jack Davis was the inker on the strip for one summer in the 1940s.

The Gainsville Times has an article about Jack’s history with the strip. The official handoff is March 31 – two days after Jack’s 90th birthday.

Community Comments

#1 Marie Rouppet
March/13/2014
@ 2:32 am

Does this mean the loveable Jack Elrod ball that has become a strip regular will be replaced?

#2 D. D. Degg
March/13/2014
@ 9:31 am

As seen here from the first week of the strip (April 20, 1946)
http://preview.tinyurl.com/lwgpfhu
the signature ball was there from the very beginning.
It is hoped James Allen will continue the tradition.

#3 Ray Jackson
May/16/2014
@ 8:16 pm

Please let this comic piece retire so that another can take its place. So stupid

#4 Ray Jackson
May/16/2014
@ 8:18 pm

Replace this with another strip

#5 william horton
May/17/2014
@ 10:14 pm

I would like to know who Jack Elrod is… I come from a long line of Elrod’s going back into Germany and Austria and Switzerland…
I have often wondered if he was any kin to my folks…we have a Jack, who is an arty, I am told, tho I don’t recall him, I know I met him as a child…don’t think he was an atty. then, as I am older than him…I have some genealogy data, I might share with him, if he needs it… I have seen queries by him , hunting for it, and I just recently found it..William horton, son of Edith Elrod,Grandson of
ROBERT GARFIELD ELROD & RUTHA MAGDALENA CRAWFORD.
wayofftheroado@gmail.com…P.O. Box 65 Chloe, W. Va. 25235

#6 C Smith
June/2/2014
@ 7:52 am

You earned your retirement jack. Mark Just not the same though. Story line not consistent and draggy.

#7 Ana Maria Serafini
June/3/2014
@ 12:49 pm

Dear James: I like Mark Trail a lot because it teaches many things from the outdoors, something I miss so much when I came to the USA in 1957, with my husband. We were born in Paraguay, South America, He lived in the country side, and I lived close to Asuncion, the capital but, at that time, where we lived, was considered country side. It was not consider a farm but we had a big property with lots of a animals and different plants and trees, which I loved. Our children, here in Maryland, where we live, had a duck, two turtles, a gerbil and dogs, many funny and also sad stories to tell about these animals.
Having said that, I have a few questions for you about Mark Trail. Does Mark gets paid for solving so many problems or his income come from other sources?? and … when is Cherry and him having a baby??
I admire her patience. One of the reason they don’t have a baby yet could be that he doesn’t stay home long enough to produce one. I read Mark Trail in the Washington Post and, in the last few days he became very romantic, which most of the time he is not, he is very composed all the time. I thought he was staying home for a while, but today, he got a call from somebody and I bet he will leave again. Could you please let him have a vacation for a while, he could be teaching something from home so he could enjoy married life for a while. Of course I am just kidding, after all it is your strip and you should do what you want. Have a great day, I plan to go and work in the yard, before it starts to rain. See you, Ana Maria

#8 Michael Gurwitz
June/12/2014
@ 4:12 am

I’ve noticed a change in the artwork, including more dramatic close-ups and expressions on the characters, and now I see why: a new cartoonist has taken over.

Well done, Mr. Allen. I’ve been a fan of this resolutely old-fashioned and stodgy strip for about 10 years, gratuitous exclamation points and all! Don’t ever change Mark Trail: his charm lies in his refusal to move beyond the 1940’s.

One thing would be nice, though: ditch the fishing. I’d like to see Mark become a protector of all wildlife.

#9 Michael Duffy
June/14/2014
@ 10:41 am

Well, at least the artwork has improved dramatically Could it have gotten worse?) but, please, can we not retire this strip (at least for the dailies). The story lines are, and have ALWAYS been, beyond ridiculous (Mark outrunning a grizzly bear with one arm in a sling!!) and dialogue that a six-year old would be embarrassed to write. Keep the Sunday edition and deep-six the rest. (And to think that the Washington Post dumped the great “Get Fuzzy” and kept this dinosaur – unbelievable.

#10 Jerry Taylor
June/15/2014
@ 10:22 am

Mark Trail needs to be put on the shelf. It’s time has passed. So many other great new strips deserve to see the light of day. I say this with great respect.

#11 Shawn Feenershawnfeener
June/30/2014
@ 7:31 pm

While reading the Sunday paper this past weekend, I read the comics and paid special attention to the Mark Trail strip. The topic of this strip wash plastic debris in the oceans. The problem I see with this strip is at the end when Mark tells his audience to do the right thing and dispose of plastic properly by putting it in the trash. I could be mistaken but I thought we should be recycling our plastics instead of throwing it away in the garbage. Considering this is comic is recognized as an environmental comic strip, I would assume the author or the editor would have caught this. I’m not complaining, just wanted to point this out.

#12 Jane Allen
August/2/2014
@ 11:12 am

The Aug. 1, 2014 drawing of the critically injured rhinosorus was heartbreaking. Even though I know this happens I was surprised to see the drawing. I will show it to my grandchildren when they are older so they will realize one artist’s attempt to educate us on the horror of killing for their horns and tusks. I can’t forget the article NatGeo did several years ago. Keep trying to educate us Mark Trail!!

#13 Gabrielle Belanger
October/29/2014
@ 8:22 am

I agree that recent stories about poaching and other environmentally valid topics have given this strip some reason to live on, the writer desperately needs an editor who can insure that it doesn’t sound like it was written before 1980. October 27th has Cheri saying “Oh Mark, this is exciting! I can work on my tan!”. One, Cheri has NEVER had a tan and Two – no one of sound mind works on their tan today. Lines like these destroy any credibility there may be in the relevant story lines that give any meaning to this column’s continued existence.

#14 Dorothy Strong
November/11/2014
@ 12:33 pm

I have always enjoyed the Mark Trail comic strip. I find the Sunday edition very educational. However, the most recent strips show Mark doing some things that a grown man would never do. The ongoing strip which is supposed to take place in Dismal Swamp shows that the author knows nothing about that area. Big sail boat? I have canoed the canal and had to portage into the actual swamp. How did a bull shark get there? Visit it sometime and enjoy the wildlife but I bet you never see a shark in the dark water.

#15 Bill Loth
January/30/2016
@ 9:14 am

I have been reading MARK TRAIL for 35 years (+/-), and this morning it dawned on me that something has changed. So I Googled it, and sure enough – there is a new writer!!! I must say that the strip is declining rapidly! If the writer wants to retain his readership, the strip should go back to stories of nature, and get away from machine guns and terrorists, etc. Most people that read comic strips do so to get away from the REAL WORLD in which there is enough violence already. Also, the characters don’t LOOK the same as the old Mark, Cherry, Doc and Rusty. The artist needs to brush up on his technique. Thanks for the opportunity to vent. I used to really look forward to “Mark Trail”, now, not so much.

#16 kyle whitney
March/3/2016
@ 6:49 am

I absolutely agree with Bill. Enough with the violence. And speed up the pace of the story. One fight took two weeks! Will they ever get out of that cave?

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