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Mark Trail Sundays Still Wild Kingdom – but Bent

Sure, Blondie and Garfield may have larger circulation numbers,
but the biggest thing in the funny papers these days is Jules Rivera’s Mark Trail.


© NAS/KFS

Hundreds of comments every day on the Comics Kingdom website, with the traditionalists foursquare against the new Mark Trail and being joined by The Snarkers. I understand – It is not the exact strip Grandma has been reading for the past thirty years and The Snarkers have to work extra hard find things to be sarcastic about. But to be honest it is the first time in decades I actually look forward to reading Mark Trail every day.

I will not pass total judgment on Jules’ Mark yet (It is still the first week), though I will say it appears Jules is having fun and I’m joining in. The staid and boring characters are now engaging and have actual personalities. The art is fresh and alive instead of stiff and stoic. Mark and Cherry, so far, seem to be a young couple enjoying life.

Let’s remember that the first week of the strip had Mark “saving” Cherry from an attacking bear. Fun!


© N. Y. Post/KFS

But for the neo-traditionalists there is good news: the Sunday Mark Trail page will continue as an Animal Planet-like educational effort. Unfortunately for those fuddy-duddies it will be more lighthearted than it has been in the past.


Mark Trail is © North America Syndicate/King Features Syndicate

Jules’ first Sunday strip will appear on November 8, 2020 but at the Comics Kingdom blog Jules gives us a look at how she plans on tackling the “Science Sundays.” The sample page she shares is an early experiment. Jules explains her planned approach:

This was the art test I did for the Science Sundays, based on one of the previous artists’ comics on Pablo Escobar’s hippos. I wanted to take that artwork and kick it up a notch. All the notches. Actually I went full Miami Vice with the colors, on account of the material. Also, I’m influenced by GTA Promo artwork. I love how colorful those things are. Anyway, I wanted to rewrite the strip but with a more Joolz vibe. Like, hi, let’s appreciate how absolutely bananas it is Colombia has hippos because a singular drug cartel king also happened to be a hippo daddy.

That’s insane.

And that’s the level of insanity we can expect from Mark Trail in general.

Yeah, Jules is gonna have fun. And by all appearances so are we.
That previous hippo strip? It’s from May 10, 2020. Compare:


© NAS/KFS

Her upcoming November 8 Science Sunday debut brings to mind that Friends episode where Monica got stung. It ends with the admonition to “Keep your pants on and stay safe out there!”
Jules makes education FUNdamental!

King Features is hyping the new Trail. Check out their current syndicate page:

Community Comments

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#1 Cailin Walsh
October/14/2020
@ 7:28 pm

The May story concludes the hippos are an environmental hazard. The new story concludes they are an environmental boon restoring the river to an earlier state. Healthy or hazardous? Does it vary based on your politics? Age? Regardless, I like the new styling and modernizing. I’m looking forward to the new stories. I would also like Comics Kingdom to add the very earliest Mark Trail to its vintage section. As in interpretations of environmental impact, there’s room for different views.

#2 Brett Mount
October/15/2020
@ 2:41 am

I’m amazed at the confidence Jules Rivera is displaying with Mark Trail.There is no trepidation, she is showing she deserves to be there.

Amongst many other things I did not expect to see was Mark Trail being good in 2020, but here we are.

#3 Carlo Coratelli
October/15/2020
@ 11:35 am

I’m sorry, but I’m not impressed with the new cartoonist. Yes, the characters maybe are fresh and different from the previous version, but the excess of humour is not a good thing for a strip as Mark Trail. I love serious adventures, and I not needed of another Alley Oop (Alison Sayers completely destroyed the strip).

I want to wait, but the beginning is not good, for me.

I’m not conservative. I love when an old comic strip get a reboot, but the legacy of these classic comic strip need respect.

#4 Tara Gallagher
October/15/2020
@ 11:58 am

I misread that as the traditionalists and the Snakers, thinking this was a name the fans of new pin-up Mark were calling themselves.

I, for one, am enjoying the reboot and am a happy Snaker.

#5 Perry F. Gawen
October/23/2020
@ 11:30 am

Jules Rivera may be a good cartoonist but she is making a mess of the long-time Mark Trail story. It almost seems a joke and, actually, that’s what I originally thought it was. Mark Trail’s history is too long and too good to be replaced with this new version. I read Mark Trail when I delivered The Washington Post in 1954. Has always been one of my favorites but now………….just another comic strip. Sorry Jules but you have messed Mark Trail up!

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