Mark Trail

Mark Trail is a newspaper comic strip created by the American cartoonist Ed Dodd. Introduced April 15, 1946, the strip centers on environmental and ecological themes. As of 2020, King Features syndicated the strip to ‘nearly 150 newspapers and digital outlets worldwide.’ When Mark Trail began, it was syndicated through the New York Post in 1946 to 45 newspapers. Dodd, working as a national parks guide, had long been interested in environmental issues. The character is loosely based on the life and career of Charles N. Elliott (November 29, 1906 – May 1, 2000). At the time a U.S. forest ranger, Elliott would go on to edit Outdoor Life magazine from 1956 to 1974. Dodd once said that the physical model for Trail was John Wayt, his former neighbor in north Atlanta. Mark Trail, the main character, is a photojournalist and outdoor magazine writer whose assignments lead him into danger and adventure. His assignments inevitably lead him to discover environmental misdeeds, most often solved with a crushing right cross. Trail lives in the fictional Lost Forest National Forest with his St. Bernard, Andy; veterinarian Doc Davis; Doc’s daughter, and Trail’s girlfriend and eventual wife, Cherry, and their adopted son, Rusty. ‘Mark reflects a reverence for God’s creatures, nature, and the conservation of woods, water and wildlife’. His assignments in later story arcs tended to involve more sleuthing than wildlife photojournalism. Mark Trail – Wildlife photographer and writer for Woods and Wildlife Magazine. In his early 30s; honest and upright; his strongest imprecation was famously ‘What th’?!’ … In 1950, Dodd hired Elrod to work as the strip’s background artist and letterer. … The strip’s popularity grew through the mid-1960s, with Mark Trail appearing in nearly 500 newspapers through the North America Syndicate. Artist and naturalist Tom Hill, who joined Dodd on Mark Trail in 1946, drew the Sunday strip, which was devoted to natural history and wildlife education, until 1978. …”
Mark Trail History, Timeline and Character Index
Ask the Archivist: TRAIL MIX

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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