|Writing comics is easy and fun!|
Sometimes, it doesn't take much to transform a mediocre or poor comic strip into a great one. The elements are all there; they just have to be properly arranged for maximum effect. Take Mark Trail and Mary Worth. Currently, both of these long-running serialized strips are mired in very slow-moving, creaky storylines with little appeal to newcomers. The title character of Mark Trail, a nature writer and adventurer, has apparently stumbled onto some kind of crime ring while on his way to study ferrets. Some no-goodniks have kidnapped a very passive blonde woman for reasons that remain unclear. Meanwhile, the heroine of Mary Worth, a sixtyish advice columnist, is taking a cruise with her much younger friend, Toby, and might wind up interfering in the lives of strangers while on the boat.
Ho-hum, right? Pretty standard fare for both series.
What I did with these strips is simply swap the dialogue. Now, both comics are more intriguing. Mark Trail seems to be complicit in a human trafficking operation, while Mary has lost all interest in "helping" others. It's called playing against type, and it works like gangbusters.
For comparison, the originals are here and here.