Dollar Bin Discoveries: Action Comics & Instruction for Making a Proper Offering to Forgotten Gods
Jessika: My God. Uh, honestly, why was Spidey's Junk so pronounced?
Mike: Hello. Welcome to Ten Cent Takes, the podcast where we trawl through comic book trash one issue at a time. My name is Mike Thompson and as always, I am joined by my co host, the badass of bargains herself, Jessica Fraser.
Jessika: Take me to those dollar bins, baby.
Mike: Uh, how are you doing?
Jessika: I am fan fucking tastic. How are you?
Mike: I'm fine. I can't complain. Uh, today we are doing another episode of Dollar Bin Discoveries, which is when we talk about what we have found while spending a lot of time rooting through dollar bins at local shops looking for interesting stuff. And if you're new to our show, the purpose of these little mini episodes is basically a lot of the issues that we find in the dollar bins are really fun and weird, but there may not be enough there for us to do a deep dive on. Though at the same time, we may decide to come back to an issue that we found and focused on for one of these episodes. These episodes feature both of us talking about one random issue that we came across in the dollar bins and basically focusing on what it is, what goes on inside it, and why it's interesting enough to talk about, even if only for a short period of time. So, like we said, these are mini episodes that are meant to provide you with some weekly content between our more in depth discussions about the weirder and more interesting moments of comic book history. So Jessica, why don't you kick us off and tell us about your latest dollar bin discovery that you feel we should be aware of.
Jessika: I would love to because mine is a real gem. Today. It's issue number one of a three part series called Instruction for Making a Proper Offering to Forgotten Gods, which is underscored as a Gym the Night Adventure.
Mike: I have never heard of any of these things.
Jessika: I have not either, but just you wait because it's amazing. It's by behemoth and happy tank. It was published in March of 2022, illustrated by Igor Wolski, written by Robert Shanicki and Jan Mazzer, colored by spell lettering and design by Robert Shaniki. And I feel like this is best as described on the back cover, though I'll include my own Addendum, of course. So it says things aren't good in the kingdom of Fancy Lake. The crime level is rising rapidly. King and Queen die in a terrible accident and Prince Drakewald, while being a proper ruler just for several minutes, already worries the city folks with the radical ideas and love for the occult. And above all, that an unknown stranger arrives in the capital. We don't know where he came from or who he is, led by a mysterious witch and perhaps the destiny itself. He appears always where there is a need for a hero. All we know is that he is strong and righteous. Well, we also know his name. They call him Jannick Knight. Janic.
Jessika: And the story is really clever and witty. And the main hero, Janic of the story is such a snacky goof. He like literally he's all eyeballs for food. He's, like, constantly stuffing his face with something. Like he's got, like, pastries at one point. He's like, oh, well, it would be a crime to pass up a good deal. And he's like, maybe I'll buy one. And then you see him in the next frame with like, seven pastries and his cheeks full.
Mike: Okay, so it's me at the donut shop. Okay, I get it.
Jessika: It's me at the donut shop too. Shit, I'll buy a dozen and put them in the freezer and be like, snacks for a week, man.
Mike: Oh, uh, man, there's this really great donut shop near our house. And I go there about once a week. And I'm like, all right, well, I'm going to get one donut for me and one for the kids. And I get one for the kids, but then I walk out with like, four for me because I'm like, they're all so good.
Jessika: Well, and they somehow multiply as you're saying it out loud. I don't know how that happens.
Mike: Yeah. I'm like, I don't know what happened, but suddenly, um, here I am with half a dozen donuts, and I have to eat most of them. Oh, no.
Jessika: Oh, no. And just like me, Janak has the attention span of a squirrel, but he also craves saving the day, which maybe isn't me. And there were so many points in the story where I literally laughed out loud or like repeated whatever phrase had been said off of the screen, like out loud because I was laughing so hard about it. And the writing is just superb now. The illustration is amazing thing as well. No notes. It's like it's lush. The colors are vibrant. The story is predominantly like this kind of green kind of color. And there's lots of plants and trees. And then the city scapes are really drawn. Really interestingly too, when there's cityscapes and it's all really immersive. It's a lot of fun.
Mike: This sounds great, man.
Jessika: Yeah. This is issue one of three. I got to the end and I literally said out loud, I was like, I want more. So I need to go find these.
Mike: Yeah, shoot an email to Brian. I'm willing to bet that he probably has it in his back issues.
Jessika: Oh, sweet. That's actually a good point. Good call. Out Brian. Everyone is at Brian's comics in Petaluma. If you're in the Bay area of California and the North Bay, it's great. It's great.
Mike: There are dogs. There's an amazing Star Wars mural on the wall.
Mike: The people there are lovely tons of.
Jessika: Really cool back issues we've both found really neat, like, just random items there that we got a lot of kicks out of.
Mike: He also does, every now and then, $5 grab bags, where you just basically pay $5 for a brown paper bag. And then you can stuff as many comics as you want in there. And I found some cool like, I found the first couple of issues of sensational she Hulk there, and this was years ago when nobody cared about her. But now I'm like, yeah, so I paid a fraction of a nickel for this issue. That's in pretty good shape.
Jessika: Damn, that's awesome. Well, and he was the place that I bought the grab box from that was just full of comics. There was a lot of good stuff in there too.
Mike: Yeah. And I mean, like, taking a moment to just kind of wax poetic about our local shop. But he was really great about doing curbside pickups for people at, uh, the start of the pandemic, especially for those of us who are immunocompromised. He was just kind of trying to find stuff to do to kind of keep the shop going. He was doing, like, oh, I will do basically kind of preassembled boxes for $50 where it's, like, 50 comics tied to various superheroes. So it was like, various Flash comics, various Superman comics, various X Men comics.
Jessika: That's so cool.
Mike: And he would ship them wherever he had some really cool stuff. And he's just, like, honestly one of the nicest human beings you could ever hope to meet. So really glad that his store has managed to do okay throughout all of the last couple of years.
Jessika: Yeah, totally. Yeah. So that's me. Hold it up.
Mike: Oh, wow. That's beautiful.
Jessika: Yeah, it's really pretty. And just the character himself is so fun.
Mike: I love that. That illustration style is gorgeous. It's very kind of playful, but yeah, I really like that. I'll have to check it out.
Jessika: Yeah, definitely. I recommend yeah. Well, what do you have for us today?
Mike: Okay, so the one that I want to talk about today is one that I found at Outer Plains when you and Sarah were making hats about a month ago. And this is Action Comics 645. So it was written by Roger Stern and George Perez. It was penciled by George Perez, inked by Brett Breeding, colored by Glenn Whitmore, lettered by Bill Oakley, and edited by Mike Carlin and Jonathan Peterson. And I've included a link for you in the show notes. I want you to look at this cover because it is genuinely beautiful.
Jessika: Let's, uh, see here. Oh, wow. That is gorgeous.
Mike: It's almost like Perez was an artist at the top of his game. Almost.
Jessika: Oh, my gosh, look at the color. Like, that eye grabbing color.
Jessika: Wow. So the COVID is Superman featured in Action Comics, and most of it is, like, a compilation of pictures that are all in sepia tones and then in the right side of it with her face circled in these pictures. It's really, actually a cool effect. There's this gorgeous redhead. Who is Zelois? Who is that?
Mike: No, I'll tell you about it a SEC.
Jessika: I was like, I don't know who this is. Who to say that this is? But she is gorgeous, and her hair is flowing and kind of curling around in this really interesting way. And there's fucking sparkles. And she's got this dark magenta lip, almost black, and there's like this little bing like sparkle in both of her eyes. Chef's m kiss.
Mike: Yeah. So that is Maxima. And this issue is, uh, the first appearance of Maxima. So Maxima is a princess from a planet called Almarac. She is basically as powerful as Superman or Wonder Woman, but her powers come more from psyonic abilities. But she's got, like, flight, super strength, uh, a bunch of mental abilities, things like that. And basically her thing was she was introduced in the late 80s. She really wanted to not really date or marry Superman. She just was like, you and I need to have a kid. Uh, it was all about, like, eugenics and selective breeding. But this issue is like, she comes to Earth looking for Superman because she wants to make him her mate. And she and her I don't know, her kind of right hand woman show up in Metropolis. And her right hand woman is named Sazu. And basically the first thing they do is they show up in an alley in this gang of tufts, just kind of menacing them with switchblades. But it's like from the lens of today, you're like, oh, okay, I know what you're going to do. And then she proceeds to literally melt one of the dude's knives. And then she looks at him and melts his entire face. It's great. It's amazing. I'm like, uh, I really want to post a photo of this on the Twitter account with, like, Happy International Women's Day.
Jessika: Yes, that's what I was thinking. I was like, damn, if I had that superpower.
Mike: Oh, yeah, it's great. But yeah, this issue is like the introductory issue. And this was back when they had, like, all the different Superman comics telling one story basically over a short period of time. So it would be like, one story would show up in, like, Superman, and then it would be continued in Action Comics and then in Adventures of Superman, and then Superman, the man of Steel. So this one basically is she shows up on Earth. She finds out that the folks on the Daily Planet might know something about Superman and where he is, but she basically can't get any information from the people there. And she leaves them in this kind of weird, almost kind of like, stupefied state. Like she uses her mental powers to hypnotize them. And then she decides to kind of flush Superman out. And so she causes this. It's not quite a robbery. It's not quite a riot. She just causes chaos at City Hall and holds the mayor hostage. And Superman eventually gets there, he stops her soldiers who have all this power armor and stuff, but it turns out they're all kind of like mind controlled kids. And then Sazu goes after Superman with her telepathic abilities because she's mad that Superman is too merciful. She's like, he didn't kill any of his enemies, so he is not a worthy he's not worthy of Maxima. And then you think kills Maxima, but it turns out that Maxima can just do these psychic projections that are like psychic bodies. And so what happens is Maxima reappears in her spaceship somewhere and then she's just like, I'm going back to Earth and I'm going to punish Sazu for betraying me and Superman better get ready. And that's it.
Jessika: Oh, no. Damn, that's an adventure.
Mike: Yeah. There's something very charming about a lot of the Superman books from this era. I feel like there's kind of a bit of an innocence that got lost when the 90s hit. And the other thing is that because of the way that they were telling the stories, they aren't afraid to sit there and kind of give a little bit more of a slow burn introduction where you have a little bit more of a mystery about what's going on and who someone is. And I really liked that. But Maximum is an interesting character. She shows up later on through the 90s as kind of like a Superman, originally an antagonist and then kind of like an ally. And she eventually joined the Justice League. But her initial costume, it was kind of like a metal swimsuit, which is sort of of the era. But if she was drawn well, like Perez would do or a couple of other people, she had this cape that was very gossamer and it looked almost like butterfly wings.
Jessika: Oh, interesting.
Mike: And it was really cool. And it was one of those things where if you had the wrong artist drawing her, it looked very male. Gazy.
Jessika: Yeah, I get that.
Mike: But at the same time, like, if you had the right artist drawing her, I felt genuinely beautiful. Even though there's a lot of bare skin and stuff, it made her look very flowy and gossamer. And I really liked that.
Mike: Yeah. So, yeah, that's me. I guess that's it for us for today. So thank you for joining us for our dollar bin discoveries. We will be back next week with a Deep Dive episode. So for a Deep Dive episode, it's actually going to be really fun. We're really excited about this one. It's going to be rad and hopefully you guys enjoy it. But until then, we will see you in the stacks.
Jessika: Thanks for listening to ten cent takes. Accessibility is important to us, so text transcriptions of each of our published episodes can be found on our website.
Mike: This episode was hosted by Jessica Fraser and Mike Thompson, written by Jessica Fraser and Mike Thompson, and edited by Jessica Fraser. Our intro theme M was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area sound our credits in transition music is Pursuit of Life by Adam McDonald and was purchased with a standard license from Premium Beat. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who you can email@example.com.
Jessika: If you'd like to get in touch with us, ask us questions or tell us about how we got something wrong, please head over to tencent takes.com or shoot an email to tencent firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on Twitter. The official podcast account is ten cent takes. Jessica is Jessica with, uh, tha and Jessica spelled the K and Mike is Van seoul V-A-N-S-A-U.
Mike: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen. Stay safe out there and support your local comic shop.