Minorities in comics and animation: Marcus Jones (“FoxTrot”)

This week’s entry focuses on Marcus Jones, the best friend of Jason Fox in Bill Amend’s comic strip “FoxTrot.”

Background

Marcus, like Jason, has a similar range of geeky interests. He often accompanies Jason on his various activities (going to sci-fi movie premieres in costume, going to summer camp, etc.). Marcus also has four (unseen) sisters, and thus is willing to watch Quincy (Jason’s pet iguana) while Jason’s on family trips. Like Jason, Marcus likes to harass his sisters.

Though he’s the strip’s main non-Caucasian character, his race was only mentioned in the strip itself once. When Jason was trying to draw replacement comic strips for “The Boondocks,” Jason thought Marcus might be of help (which, of course, he wasn’t). Marcus and Jason’s races are referenced as the title for one of the black-and-white strip collections, “Encyclopedias Brown and White.”

As a secondary character, Marcus doesn’t have much focus story-wise. However, he’s gotten much more exposure than Peter and Paige’s friends, Steve and Nicole respectively. Like everyone besides the Fox family, they’ve become infrequently seen since the strip moved to being Sundays-only.

Marcus’ lengthiest appearances so far are probably in two of the strip’s late 90s summer-long storylines. The first storyline involved Jason and Marcus going to a science summer camp (referred to when the Fox family got their first “iFruit” soon after—“we set up that Linux server at camp in, what, 30 seconds?”). There, both friends end up in a rivalry with Eileen (an acquaintance/occasional-rival of Jason’s) and her friends.

The second storyline took place at home, but involved Eileen’s friends from summer camp, plus a mystery that Jason and Marcus try to (poorly) solve. The first storyline’s collected in “Welcome to Jasorassic Park,” while the second’s collected in the “Encyclopedias” book mentioned above. Both books, of course, have been reprinted in bigger treasury editions, with the Sunday strips in color.

(Updated 11/5/16)

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