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Mark Trail Defender Turns Tail

Allentown Morning Call columnist Bill White has long been a champion for the Mark Trail comic strip.

If you had access to our archives, you would find that I’ve been defending Mark for 25 years.

And he had high expectations when James Allen took over as cartoonist when Jack Elrod retired.

If anything, my investment in the strip increased when Elrod retired and was replaced by protegee James Allen. I’ve spoken to Allen several times about his ideas for improving and modernizing Mark Trail, including scarier animals, more action and a greater focus on the relationship between a more buff Mark and a much sexier Cherry, who suddenly was shown lounging around in bikinis.

But as time went by, I became increasingly alarmed by its … weirdness.

…there were circus animals loose in Lost Forest as a result of a train derailment, which seemed really stupid until this gave way to the local sheriff’s even stupider tale about the clowns on the train. They were left wandering the countryside, in full makeup and costume, emerging from a cemetery to terrorize children at a bonfire.

Bill finds it harder than ever to defend Mark Trail against its detractors.


But Ralph Graves enjoyed the insane clown posse digression.



Community Comments

#1 P.J. Terryberry
@ 7:40 am

this is my favorite column of the year

#2 Kevin Siers
@ 8:31 am

Great piece from someone who cares about the genre. I’m concerned, though, that Mr. Allen and the writer/artist of Judge Parker are competing to see who can be weirder.

#3 ralph susan
@ 1:53 pm

Judge Parker went so far off the rails a couple of weeks ago that I’m surprised anyone still publishes it. The plot was so bizarre and so right wing that Alex Jones couldn’t have dreamed it up. It had the CIA doing things that it can’t legally do and that no one in his right mind could have dreamed up.

In addition, since the new artists have taken over, it’s often impossible to tell who is who because they’re frequently drawn differently from strip to strip. They look as if they’re a selection of submissions to “Can You Draw This?” ads on matchbook covers.

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