Mark the Tapir is a character that appears in the Sonic Boom series. He is an anthropomorphic tapir who resides on Seaside Island, and the fanatical, self-proclaimed “number-one fan" of Sonic the Hedgehog. He also works as the retail clerk in Hedgehog Village's video game store, and occasionally moonlights as a tour guide.
Concept and creation
Mark was named after S. Mark Taper, a late 20th century philanthropist. Mark's species was decided by Doug Lieblich, who followed the series' formula of picking rodents as characters. Mark himself was based off the stereotypically obsessed fan-type character, although he was not based on any specific person.
Mark is an anthropomorphic, brown-furred tapir with peach skin at about Sonic's height. He has a wide head with large, light brown eyes, round ears, a short, prehensile snout, and a mop of brown hair on top complete with bangs. Noticeably, he has a small mole on the left side of his snout. He also has a round (if not chubby) torso, disproportionately long arms and short, stubby legs. For attire, he wears brown glasses with white bandages on the sides (which are rather loose and often fall off his face), a blue shirt with white rims, a white collar and a blue and white icon of Sonic's head on the left side, white gloves, and long red shoes with grey soles and white cuffs.
Living alone in a run-down cabin in the woods, plotting to keep Sonic to himself, Mark came to Career Day to meet Sonic. After he introduced himself to him, Mark began following Sonic around, trying intensely to please him, and eventually got Sonic to let him become his assistant. After serving Sonic well, Mark would crash him into a boulder while giving him a lift to a movie. He then bound Sonic in a body cast in his cabin so they could spent all their time together living out Mark's crazy dreams. Though Mark trapped Sonic's team in body casts too when they came looking for him, the heroes broke free while escaping and beat Mark. However, Mark was happy to lose to Sonic.
Mark would eventually vote in a referendum for a new name for the Unnamed Village. He also later took some Gogobas on a walking tour around Tails' property, during which he showed them a FleaBot-infested Amy. Mark later came to work on the day the new Tommy Thunder video game came out. As a result, he got heavily injured while servicing rapid fans that wanted to buy the game. Despite his injuries though, Mark continued his work in the store, all while observing Eggman's attempt to sell his video game.
Mark is a fanatical, disturbed, and mentally unstable psychopath obsessed with Sonic. On the surface, he appears as an overly eager and friendly guy who tries his best to do good deeds, albeit with extreme intensity. He is also a supreme fanboy, geeking out over doing the most mundane things with Sonic and seeking to spend as much time with him as possible. When Mark thinks he has failed to live up to his idol's expectations or missed chances to satisfy his fanboy dreams, he is prone to bouts of mood swings and/or minor self-punishment. Mark is also not one to sit still (especially when Sonic is around), as he always has something going on, and is very observant about details. Outside Sonic and those he deems his friends, Mark behaves rather antisocially towards others.
Beneath his nice-guy facade, Mark is cunning and devious, as exemplified in how he lured Sonic into a false sense of security despite his intensity and getting Sonic to make him his assistant for his own agenda. He also shows pronounced sinister tendencies, not only hurting his idol Sonic to keep him to himself, but also keeping people against their will so they can be his friends. Despite his inexcusable behavior, however, Mark always acts with innocence, showing a complete lack of conscience and empathy.
Powers and abilities
Mark is a cunning manipulator, able to capture Sonic by lulling him into a false sense of security with flattery and servitude and then attacking him out of nowhere. Despite his weight, Mark is also deceptively quick and stealthy, able to quietly sneak up behind Sonic, near-instantaneously, without being noticed. Mark also has some skill in setting booby traps. Mark is also a skilled painter, capable of making a decent life portrait of Sonic, possesses some cooking skills, being able to grill hot dogs, prepare soup, and bake pies, and is a very talented masseur, with Sonic claiming that he is an artist with his elbow.
Sonic the Hedgehog
The self-proclaimed “number-one fan" of Sonic the Hedgehog, Mark has an unhealthy obsession with his idol. Noticeably, he has decorated his home with images of Sonic and written a number of mature and inaccurate fanfics about him. Mark also thinks Sonic is much more important than regular people. Unlike Sonic's other fans, Mark does not criticize everything he does.
When first hanging out with Sonic, Mark was constantly geeking out over doing the most mundane things with him and tried to show they had a lot in common by mimicking Sonic's actions. Mark was also quite obsequious towards him, constantly complimenting Sonic and happily doing chores for him. Similarly, Mark was quick to blame himself whenever he thought he had displeased Sonic. Upon becoming Sonic's assistant so he could focus on his heroics, Mark built a friendship with him by making works in his honor and pampering him. Regardless, Mark was willing to injure Sonic and keep him trapped in his cabin, all because he wanted to spend all his time with him. Even then, he would relegate Sonic to side-roles when acting out his fanfics about him and punish Sonic for misbehaving. When Sonic turned against him and foiled his plans though, Mark was only ecstatic about being defeated by him.
Tails, Amy, and Knuckles
Because Sonic took more interest in hanging out with his gang than him, Mark did not take kindly to Tails, Knuckles and Amy at first. As such, he would try mooching in on the group when Sonic was with them or keep Sonic away from them entirely. After Mark caught the trio trying to free Sonic though, Mark decided to imprison them and make them his new friends, only for them to escape shortly after.
- "I can't believe I am having lunch with Sonic the Hedgehog. We've even ordered the exact same meal: chili dog, fries and a grape soda."
- —Mark geeking out, "The Biggest Fan"
- "Great having lunch with ya! Maybe next time I can bake you a pie at my cabin, door is always open. Except when it is locked and deadbolted. Then nobody gets in. Or out. Well, bye."
- —Mark hinting his more sinister nature, "The Biggest Fan"
- "This is my first job as Sonic's assistant and I messed it up! I mess everything up!"
- —Mark's response when he thinks he has failed Sonic, "The Biggest Fan"
- Mark's role in "The Biggest Fan" mirrors that of Annie Wilkes in Steven King's novel, Misery.
- Mark does not really care about "SonAmy" (a fanterm for Sonic and Amy being in a romantic relationship).
- The icon of Sonic's head on Mark's shirt first appeared in Sonic Boom CG Style Guide.
- Mark's attire mimics Sonic's appearance; his shirt is blue like Sonic's torso, his gloves are almost the same as Sonic's, and his shoes' parts have roughly the same colors as those Sonic wears.
- Bill Freiberger on Twitter. Twitter (16 December 2016). Retrieved on 17 December 2016. "Tailooey Fan: @WallyWingert is the voice of Mark the Tapir."
- Lieblich, Doug (10 December 2016). "The Biggest Fan". Sonic Boom. Season 2. Episode 57. Boomerang.
- Bill Freiberger on Twitter. Twitter (5 December 2016). Retrieved on 5 December 2015. "Bill Freiberger: 205: Sonic lets Mark the Tapir, a fanatical, self-proclaimed “number-one fan,” become his personal assistant. Mark eventually goes too far."
- Derrien, Jean-Christophe (11 November 2017). "Eggman: The Video Game Part 1". Sonic Boom. Season 2. Episode 103. Boomerang.
- Bill Freiberger on Twitter. Twitter (26 March 2017). Retrieved on 30 July 2018. "Bill Freiberger: S. Mark Taper was a philanthropist in SoCal.His 1962 gift to the LA Music Center resulted in the Mark Taper Forum."
- Bill Freiberger on Twitter. Twitter (30 July 2018). Retrieved on 30 July 2018.
- Alan Denton on Twitter. Twitter (25 March 2017). Retrieved on 25 March 2017. "Alan Denton: Doug Lieblich decided on Tapir for that episode. Usually we go with something in the rodent family"
- Doug Lieblich on Twitter. Twitter (11 December 2016). Retrieved on 12 December 2016. "Mathan Sivanesan: ...Mark the Tapir based off an infamous person from the Sonic community or is he just the overly obsessive fan character? / Doug Lieblich: He's not based on anyone specific. Just an obsessive fan character."
- Bill Freiberger on Twitter. Twitter (14 December 2016). Retrieved on 14 December 2016. "Bill Freiberger: Mark is 100% NOT based on CWC. He is a general fan type. We've done many blue arm jokes in the series. Not a clue."
- Grenier, Benoit (11 March 2017). "Unnamed Episode". Sonic Boom. Season 2. Episode 70. Boomerang.
- Beardmore, Marie (3 June 2017). "Flea-ing From Trouble". Sonic Boom. Season 2. Episode 82. Boomerang.