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Dollar Bin Discoveries: Captain Nauticus and Animal Castle

Mike: It's one of the few instances where okay, boomer actually is a good thing.

Jessika: Let it be known. Mike said that everyone, no context. It's going in the upbeat.

Mike: All right.

Jessika: Hello and welcome to Tencent Takes. My name is Jessica Frazier, and I am joined by my co host, the Fiendish forager Mike Thompson.

Mike: Uh.

Jessika: I don't know how appropriate I.

Mike: Was going to say. I guess that sounds fiendish. I don't know.

Jessika: Oh, I think it did. I think you did a splendid job.

Mike: All right, excellent.

Jessika: Well, today we are bringing you yet another episode of Dollar Bin Discoveries. So, as you all know, we have talked about this a lot, but we love digging through Dollar Bins at our local shops, and we love looking for weird and interesting stuff, primarily, honestly, that we can bring to you guys and talk to you guys about. But we find a lot of things that are fun and weird, but they may not be fun and weird enough for us to do a deep dive on, though we do definitely reserve the right to change our mind about that and come back to some of these if we decide to later on. But these episodes really do feature both of us talking about one random issue we came across in the Dollar Bins what it is, what goes on inside it, and why it's interesting. So, again, these are many episodes that are meant to provide you with some weekly content between our more indepth discussions about the weirder and interesting moments of comic book history. So thanks for joining us on this adventure. And Mike, do you want to begin our, uh, quest down this road to comic Book Discovery?

Mike: Yeah, this may actually be, I think, the first comic that we come back to for a full length episode from a Dollar Bin Discovery mini.

Jessika: You hear it here first, folks.

Mike: Okay. One of the antique stores in Petaluma has, like, a ton of comic books and one of the, uh, sections, they're basically their Dollar Bins. And I came across Captain Nauticus and the Ocean Force. And if you haven't heard of this, there's a good reason.

Jessika: I have not.

Mike: So this was published in 1994 by the National Maritime Center, and I have what yeah, I have no information about, like, who put it together. There's no credits in the book. Like, none of the comic book databases that I found so far have this information either. So I'm honestly not sure who the creators were on this because there's no credits given in the first book, like, the Wiki pages and things that I found that talk about this don't list anyone CLZ. The app lists Don Shin as the writer and Bill Mouse as the artist, but I don't have any way of verifying that, so I don't know. So this book starts with a space chase where Captain Nauticus and his crew, who go by the names Wave More and Sting.

Jessika: Of course they do.

Mike: Brace yourself. They're from the planet Aquamar.

Jessika: Oh, uh you don't fucking say.

Mike: They are chasing a criminal named Fathom across space, and then basically, they pursue them into a black hole. And the black hole, instead of, you know, squishing them flatter than a pancake, it ends up sucking the two ships across space and throws them into our solar system, where Nauticus's computer identifies our solar system as the one that belongs, to quote the Atlantian legend, trade charts, which whatever, okay, we'll get to this in a second. They land in Chesapeake Bay and they discover that humans have found an old Aqua marion I don't know if that's the right term. That's apparently over 1000 years old. And they've excavated it. And Nauticus and his team are like, well, our people have clearly been to this planet before, so we're adopting it. It's our new home. I don't think that's not how citizen works, but how that works, I don't know. Must be nice. What's your plan?

Jessika: Is this an immigration situation? Is there documentation for that?

Mike: Okay, I'm going to say this. Nauticus is like the epitome of kind of the chisel jaw white guy. So I'm like, I guess if you just say it's your home, it's your home now you know what this sounds about? What?

Jessika: Entitlement that it takes to just quit your job and just move to another state without a plan.

Mike: Yeah, exactly.

Jessika: Just decided to go to New York. Just decided to go to California. Just decided I wouldn't research how expensive both of those places were before I left.

Mike: Yeah. Soon after this, Fathom triggers, I don't know, some kind of power surge near the Mariana Trench. And the team goes there, and they discover they say it's like the remains of Atlantis. It's not obvious. And then inside the ruins, they find, like, a chamber with this kid named Zach who just woke up for the equivalent of, like, a cryostasis tube or something. And apparently this magical crystal was, like, keeping him in stasis, but Fathom stole it. And so the crew brings Zack along with them, and they chase Fathom underwater. And it's like another outer space chase scene, but underwater. And you wouldn't be able to tell if it wasn't like if you hadn't been told that it was underwater. But they blow up Fathom ship. Basically, he ejects right before his ship gets blown up. And then he summoned some kind of giant sea monster to attack the team, and they seem to be doing okay, but then Zack, the kid, gets bored, so he decides to go outside of the ship and basically gets in the middle of the Fray. And the issue ends with Zack about to get eaten by Fathom's monster. He's literally sitting in the mouth and holding the fangs. He's like, oh, no, what do I do?

Jessika: I can't believe that was all one issue. If we're being real, that sounds good.

Mike: It's rough man. It's not great. The, uh, writing is just all this breathless nonsense in the art.

Jessika: I literally was thinking that the way that you've described this before of a child, just like and not really taking a breath to think about what you're saying next, just kind of throwing it down on paper.

Mike: I just felt exhausted reading it.

Jessika: I'm exhausted listening to you talk about it.

Mike: Yeah. And then case in point, um, the art is really rudimentary too. It's not good. And I never want to sit there and speak ill of people who have actually done the work to create a comic. But the art in this is rough at times. It's okay at the best of times. And it's kind of wild because they clearly put money into this. It's got, like, really lovely glossy pages. I picked up both the regular issue and then they also did, like, a special promo edition that they printed 20,000 copies of. Uh, yeah. And then on top of that, so they have, like, some activities in the back. But my favorite part of this book is that it features an ad where you can buy a season pass to, I guess, the National Maritime Center. And then simultaneously, you'll get four more issues of the comic over the next year. But I have a twist. Are you ready for the twist?

Jessika: M I'm ready.

Mike: There's only one more issue and then that's it.

Jessika: Uh shut the fuck up. Wow. What a fucking scheme. They were all like, hey. They were like, would you like to subscribe to this comic? That we're definitely going to have lots of issues.

Mike: Yeah. It was also published in 1994, which was, like, mid comics industry collapse. So I'm sure that that didn't very good point.

Jessika: Good Lord.

Mike: I really want to learn more about this. And I really I think I'm going to have to reach out to the National Maritime Institute and see if they know anything about this or if there's anyone we can talk to about this because I think that could be a lot of fun.

Jessika: I feel like you've already subjected us to, uh, the marathon. I feel like I need my inhaler. I'm a little out of breath, but I guess I'll just have to have that handy. If we get kind of into it.

Mike: I'll make sure you definitely need to take some because I need to hear about the comic that you found.

Jessika: Oh, don't worry. I'm not wheezing.

Mike: Take a punch. Okay. We can wait. Uh.

Jessika: Well, my fine today is a little darker. It's the first issue of a series called Animal Castle.

Mike: Oh. I think Lance and Jake were talking about this.

Jessika: I think I was wondering if somebody had mentioned it. It was in one of their episodes. I was like, I knew a podcaster, or somebody knew or someone had talked about it. And I found the first issue and I was like, oh, definitely pick this up. I wanted to start with the description, which will likely set the scene pretty well. On the farm, all animals were equal. In the castle, some are more equal than others.

Mike: That's ominous.

Jessika: Uh, it's fucking ominous. So published by Ablaze in September 2019. Written by Xavier Dorison, art by Philippe Stalep, colors by Philippe Stalep and Jessica Bottard. And if you've read Animal Farm, it's a pretty similar premise about, uh, a society of animals they're left to rule a castle where the humans have disappeared, left, been killed off, unknown.

Mike: Um, I'm hearing a lot of question marks.

Jessika: Well, there definitely is a mystery. Nobody really knows what happened.

Mike: Okay.

Jessika: But regardless, the animals now rule the roof, so to speak. And what started out as a democracy turned quickly into a fascist state where the one ruler and army of dog guards keep others in line. All animals must work, and all fruits of labor belong to the state. So the comic opens up with a chicken who's tied to a stake and is attacked by dogs because she saved one of her eggs instead of giving it up to the common good to be sent to their shared storehouse that is only accessible by the government.

Mike: Mhm.

Jessika: Sounds sketchy, right?

Mike: I'm already just kind of like, nope and out of this because I can't stand that stuff. I know that it's good storytelling, but I have a real tough time with hard, visceral cruelty.

Jessika: Yeah, it's hard to read well, and especially because we learned that the animals are given a certain amount of buttons for the work they produce. But it seems incredibly arbitrary the amount of buttons that this work produces. And it's arbitrary between the type of work, et cetera. Basically, the animals also barely have enough to eat because of the way that these buttons are being doled out, even though they're all contributing, so they decide to revolt. And the characters are super well written. Each one has, like, a distinct personality and different amounts of risk they're each willing to take in order to fight for the right for the fruits of their own labor. And if you've read Stray Dogs, which I own, and I've gone through it, I haven't read it all the way through yet, but it's described as having a similar vibe to that. And art wise, I would have to agree, although it's much more violent and raw.

Mike: Mhm.

Jessika: So, I mean, overall it was good, but it was really intense and really thought and emotion provoking. But I think it's one of those ones where I would have to take in sittings, where I would really only be able to read like a single issue at a time per sitting because I think I would get overwhelmed just because I'm such an empath.

Mike: Yeah, and there are certain pieces of media that you have to consume in pieces rather than binging because after a while you just feel gross. Yes, that was what did me in the Game of Thrones was I binge two seasons and I think a day. And I was like, I think I'm good. I don't think I ever need to watch this again.

Jessika: Yeah, I chopped it up and I didn't like, binge too hard on that and I think that's what kind of saved me. Yeah. Well, that's it for this week. Thank you so much for joining us for our fourth dollar bint discovery. We hope you enjoyed it. We will be doing a deep dive next week. Do we know what that one is?

Mike: Yes, we do. I'm keeping you in the dark about that one.

Jessika: That's right. Oh, gosh, I have it. Oh, my gosh. So, yeah, Mike has a veritable treat for us. I'm also going to keep you all in the dark so you don't get curious and looking online at things before we actually go to the content. But Mike is going to give us a great episode. But until then, we will see you in the stacks. Thanks for listening to Tencent 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 was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound. Our credits in transition music is Pursuit of Life by ABCDonald and was purchased with a standard license from Premium B. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who you can

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 or shoot an email to Tencentakes at You can also find us on Twitter. The official podcast account is tencent Takes. Jessica is Jessica with a and Jessica's spell the K and Mike is Van Sele V-A-N-S-A-U.

Mike: If, uh, 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.

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