The new cartoonist on the venerable nature comic strip Mark Trail debuted today. Jules Rivera delivered a short lesson on how to recognize a poisonous snake, a seemingly helpful hint.

However commenters are having none of it. In a ruckus reminiscent of the commotion over the debut of Olivia Jaimes’ Nancy strip, some readers are having a conniption fit over the fact that a new, modern cartoonist has taken over Mark Trail’s adventures. I won’t bother quoting them, they are about what you would expect, with added rage over the fact that Rivera is a Latinx woman.

Of course there are defenders as well.

 

 

 

 

 

In an interview at the Star Tribune, Rivera assures readers its not a complete reboot:

That being said, she’s also assuring the strip’s loyal readers that she’s not jettisoning everything that has made “Mark Trail” part of their daily routines since 1946.

“I want to respect the legacy,” she said of the long-running strip. “I want to keep what made ‘Mark Trail’ great. I appreciate what the fans appreciate,” including the title character’s love for nature and dedication to protecting the environment.

Now, for sure, Mark Trail was part of a great tradition. I will give the other side recognition with this tweet from author Jenny Boylan:

 

It is true that the old Mark Trail was both precious AND stupid:

It was drawn by Jack Elrod for a couple of thousand years, until he was nearly 90 years old, with the variable yet sturdy line work one might expect, as well as regular forays into the weird.

Mark Trail’s Sunday nature lessons, such as this one about the monkey-eating eagle of the Philippines, were particularly beloved.

Sensitive to reader’s tastes, Elrod did not show the money-eating eagle eating a monkey because that would have been…well, nature is cruel, let’s leave it at that. Crueler than message board commenters even.

Anyway, if Rivera does away with the Sunday animal spotlights I will be a little sad, but I think she’s got this. The old Mark Trail was fun and comfy like your beloved grandpa. Like your beloved grandpa, he will live on in memory, but let’s see what the new world has to bring.

If you really miss granddaddy Trail,  you can still access the archives for a mere $20 a year for a Comics Kingdom subscription. In fact I just paid $20 to get just such a sub and support the carotonists. So new Mark Trail is already making money!

 

11 COMMENTS

  1. Weird nature facts Sunday strips will continue! Jules’ first one will debut in November and she’s bringing us cool facts about an awesome sea creature!

  2. The Comics Curmudgeon blog is where I’ve been reading and laughing at Mark Trail’s adventures for years now, but I’m genuinely enjoying Rivera’s version in a non-ironic way because it’s smart and intentionally funny.

  3. Yay, Mark Trail is now a Sally Force Forth knock off. Before it was terrible – but nostalgic, now it’s just terrible.

  4. I’m am finding reading Mark Trail very difficult now, and because the silliness nauseates me I may have to say goodbye. I’ve been a loyal fan for years, but this change is nothing that interests me. The drawings and the story line thus far are sub par. Alley Oop underwent a successful change that ended up working well for the fans. I believe many readers will be seeking other comics and remove Trail from their daily list. Ed Iacovelli

  5. Come on. The problem isn’t that it’s new, it’s that the writer has no respect for the strip that she’s taken over. The character of Mark Trail was many things, but he wasn’t a buffoon. Now he’s a buffioon.

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