Jules Rivera on Making Her Mark

[Jules] Rivera says that as she researched the strip to prepare her audition portfolio she realized that despite their age differences she and Mark Trail had some key similarities.

“I really liked that at its core Mark Trail was about something very pure that I can get behind,” Rivera says. “It’s about a dude who really cares about nature, right? And who doesn’t like that? It’s awesome.

© North America Syndicate (KFS)

“A lot of the naysayers accuse me of doing whatever I want,” Rivera says. “There is a method to my madness. And in Mark’s case, he is a guy who is undergoing a lot of change. He lost his cushy job at Woods and Wildlife (magazine); he’s trying to rebuild his life, and he’s having a rough go of it.

“It’s a big change that a lot of people aren’t used to,” she says. “They’re used to Mark kind of having an easy time with things. Like, minor problem shows up, he hits a bear with a stick, the end.”

Peter Larsen, at the Daily Democrat talks to Jules Rivera about her new version of Mark Trail, where problems of the modern world (in work and nature) are coming to the forefront.  That is not to say all traditions have been tossed – Mark and Cherry still love each other and nature is still canon. And, after a month and a half, the extraneous foreground creature that was ubiquitous in the Elrod strips returned today (see above) to huzzahs from the critics. But there are and will be changes:

Rivera already is mixing more intentional humor into the storylines, such as a recent veiled reference to a real Florida beach where Mark and Cherry plan to rendezvous that she knows — and he clearly does not — is a nude beach.


“I was actually shocked to find out that Mark Trail had never been surfing before. We had gone through archives and stuff, and I was like, ‘Oh, so he’s been to Hawaii? Has he been surfing?’ And no, it doesn’t seem he’s ever been.

“Like, the second storyline sends him to California. Oh, yeah, I’m definitely getting him on a board. That’s happening.”


Mark Carlson-Ghost recently provided an in-depth look at the history of the Mark Trail comic strip.