“discovering mark trail!” or “how bad design can be good!”

i was reading cracked.com earlier tonight, and while looking at one of their many great lists, i was introduced to mark trail. i was actually kind of surprised that i’d never heard of it before.

mark trail is a syndicated comic strip that was first printed in 1946. it’s about the exploits of a photojournalist and magazine writer named, expectedly, mark trail. the strip focuses mainly on environmental and ecological issues, but don’t worry… mark stumbles into plenty of danger and excitement during his adventures!

a few notable things about this comic strip…
-early in his career, jack davis, of ec comics fame, worked on mark trail as an inker.
-in the 50s, and again in the 90s, mark trail had his own serialized radio program.
-mark trail is the mascot of the national oceanic and atmospheric administration, and the official voice of the national weather service and noaa weather and all hazards radio.
-mark trail is the only comic character that has received the honor of having part of a forest named after him. in 1991, congress designated 16,400 acres of the Chattahoochee National Forest as the mark trail wilderness.

all this is well and good, but the real reason i was drawn to mark trail is the outstanding use of word balloons. it’s as if these people don’t understand how the balloons are supposed to work, and instead, just place them wherever is convenient. the result is a lot of rude talking animals butting into conversations.

scott

2 responses to ““discovering mark trail!” or “how bad design can be good!”

  1. I came to this website because of the amazing ‘skeletons of cartoon characters’ article/piece, and clicked on this article because I was amused by the thought of an article about the Mark Trail cartoon strip. (Didn’t Frank Cho do a parody of Mark Trail in his LIBERTY MEADOWS strip for a while…?) Anyway, the word balloon (mis)placements w/the animals really and truly made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the laugh. :)

  2. oh man! i had forgotten about this as well! sooo funny. glad you liked it!

    ps- dunno if frank cho did a parody or not. never really read his stuff.

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