Jessika: [00:00:00] I get it. I get it. But it's just early. Early.
Jessika: Hello. Welcome to Tencent Takes the show where we secretly have superpowers, one issue at a time. My name is Jessika Frazier and I am joined as always by my co-host the bearded bookworm, Mike Thompson.
How's it going tonight, Mike?
Mike: I don't think, I've ever felt more attacked by a description that you have given me.
Jessika: Whoa. I thought you were gonna like that one too.
Mike: Oh, no, I totally do. It's just like, like I feel attacked, bearded bookworm. Like, I literally built new bookshelves last weekend.
Jessika: well, listen, [00:01:00] I did know that.
Mike: They look so good.
Jessika: Hey, look. They look really good. You should send me a picture.
Mike: Yeah, yeah. Sure.
Jessika: All right. Well, if you are new to the show, Our main episodes drop every other week and provide in-depth looks into interesting moments in comic books and how they tie into pop culture and history. But today is one of our dollar bin discovery mini episodes that we do in between those deep dives. Now Mike and I spend a lot of time rooting through dollar bins at local shops, looking for interesting stuff just for you guys.
And while a lot of the issues that we find are fun and weird, there may not be enough for us to do a deep dive on at the moment, but we do always reserve the right to change our mind later. Each episode features both of us talking about one random issue that we came across in the dollar bins, what it is, what goes on inside it, and why it is interesting. . So we, [00:02:00] as you know, if you've been listening the past Few Dollar Bin Discoveries, we have landed on themes. We are doing themes for each of these, and I picked the theme this week and it is fantastical facial hair, and I just wanted to let Mike do whatever he wanted with that.
Mike: my beard is long enough now that I could literally turn it up and give myself like the waxy mustache,
Jessika: Yes, do it. Oh my God. You don't even need the wax. Look at that my friends. I'm seeing this. I wish you could all see this. It's, it is fantastical,
Mike: nobody needs to see this. My weird hermit beard. So tonight I am talking about a book that I actually discovered when I was down in San Diego and I was checking out the local chain Comics N Stuff. They just, they had like a ton of weird stuff and I kind of just was trawling through their I [00:03:00] mean they, the square footage of back issues that they have, it is bigger than my house.
And I mean, like my house isn't that big, but it's, it is huge.
Jessika: that's intimidating.
Mike: Yeah. And I mean, I really didn't find anything that I was specifically looking for, so I just started to kinda like, let my fingers wander through them and see what I came across. And so this was one of them. It is called Mirror Walker, and it was published by Now Comics in October of 1990.
You always have to say it that way because now is spelled in all caps.
Jessika: You have to, it has to jolt into your existence every single fucking time.
Mike: Yeah, exactly. But we actually talked about the history of this publisher. Last October when we covered Bats, Cats, and Cadillacs, which is now one of like my favorite series, even though it's only two issues.
Jessika: Yeah, it's a good one.
Mike: But yeah, Mirror Walker was published in October of 1990. It was illustrated [00:04:00] by Barry Daniel Peterson, photographed by Eric Shrimp, written by Marv Wolfman, lettered by Patrick Williams. It featured art direction by Michelle Mock. It was edited by Catherine Llewellyn, and the editor-in-chief was Tony Caputo, and it is billed as the world's
first photo slash animated comic.
Jessika: Oh, what does, what does that mean? I'm curious.
Mike: will, I will happily explain it for you, but I need you to look at the cover and see why I chose this for fantastic facial hair.
Jessika: Oh, it is fantastic. Mike, is this you with longer hair?
Mike: I mean, it's not that far off.
Jessika: Oh wait. I think you have one more finger on each hand
Mike: I do.
Jessika: than this guy does. So this is a fun cover. So this is a predominantly red color. Cover and it has like spirals of mirrors going down, almost like [00:05:00] kind of a tunnel of pieces of mirror within this red spiral and like kind of specks of light and stuff.
And there's a big, it's supposed to look metallic mirror gold letters that say Mirror Walker. And falling into this tunnel, this mirror abyss, I hope he doesn't get cut on these shards, is this gentleman who looks very panicked. he has his hands outstretched and he has quite a luscious beard and mustache situation and hair to about his shoulders.
Yeah, But he does look very panicked.
Mike: it, it's that, that style that was like kind of popular in like the late eighties, early nineties where it was like, a longer all around mullet.
Mike: Yeah. Is that the best way to describe it? I feel like it
Jessika: yeah, yeah. I would say so. The character's very like grew esque. I would say that's like kind of like the style he looks like.
Mike: Yeah. So [00:06:00] this is a comic of, it's kind of. Simple animation style characters layered on top of photos as the background, and some of the photos appear to be miniature models while others look like they're just kind of snapshots taken of real world environments.
So we open on what we're told is the mystical dungeon of Kornaforus Wizard of Volpacula. Like the,
Jessika: Say that
Mike: yeah, I know it's, do you remember you were telling me a couple episodes ago about some TikTok where it's like the first like hour when you're reading a fantasy novel and it's like We went to
Jessika: Oh, a hundred percent. There's always like that one character like Greg
Jessika: that like you have no issue with. And the rest of them are just living squiggles in your brain. No, a hundred percent.
Mike: Yeah. so Kornaforus is venting about [00:07:00] how discounted spells never work how you want them to, especially when they're like blue lights specials. Uh, it, it turns out he has been locked into a dungeon for 2000 years as a sentence for his illegal use of magic, such as creating a rampaging army of brooms to try to take over the world.
He is in there. Oh, yeah. It's like the first page of dialogue and you're like, oh, okay. I get the vibe of this comic. I, I see you.
Jessika: he's in the background. Do, do, do, do.
Mike: Oh, there's. There's a whole bit about how he's mad that like his enemies summoned up a magical carpenter who then reduced the brooms to toothpicks. And you see like the toothpicks, like all stabbed into the ground in the corner. It's very cute. So he is also in this dungeon with his hench woman, who we never actually get a name for, but she's locked in the dungeon with him, and she basically is kind of like the more [00:08:00] competent assistant. She's like kind of making fun of him. She
Jessika: we love a woman without a name.
Mike: like, honestly, if she had a name, I would be much happier with this comic.
Like, it's one of those things where I'm like, man, you were so close. You, you almost got it guys. so. She like brings up how he's bad at being an evil wizard, including how he married a princess, but now she's like divorced him and he grouses about how it was supposed to be a really good career move for him.
And then she just wanted to learn a couple of spells. So he taught her some Magic and now she's a full blown witch. And it's like,
Jessika: Right. Of course. Of course she is. That's how that works
Mike: Totally is. Yeah. So some guys selling timeshare condos, they make a brief appearance at the front door to his dungeon, which he like just opens. So I don't know what to deal with it. This doesn't seem like a terribly secure jail. he turns them into snakes and while he is doing that, his hench woman basically starts messing around with a [00:09:00] potion and inadvertently creates a crystal that turns mirrors it touches into doors to other worlds. And so he then immediately uses it to pay a visit to his now ex-wife, and he tries to harass her, and then she blasts him with Lightning and sends him packing back to the dungeon.
Jessika: Fucking good. Get out
Mike: right No, it's, it's really good. Like he is very much a tool.
Like they make it very obvious that like he sucks and he is bad at his job.
Jessika: Fucking good riddance.
Mike: Exactly. but in the sequence, he drops the gem and then he can't find it after it lands on a hand mirror and then we cut to, the real world where Alan Nonsense is on a date with this girl named Pepsi, who is apparently the prettiest woman on his college campus. He's like really into her but she reveals that she's only out with him like, as part of what sounds like kind of a sorority prank.
Jessika: Oh, that's cruel.
Mike: it's not great. But the thing is, [00:10:00] is like he, it's hard to feel bad for him because he is trying, real hard to impress her by reciting like an impromptu love poem while tap dancing on their paddle boat.
Like if he, if he had a tri bee, he would just be tipping it nonstop and like, calling her my lady. It's like, mm, okay.
Jessika: This is the kind of guy who says that nobody likes nice guys.
Mike: Oh, like there is straight up a sequence like it, it's not quite, nobody likes nice guys, but he sits there and he is just like, girls can't seem to like me. And, and then he knows like, guys don't like me either. And I think he's talking about like, just like in general, I don't think it's really kind of a, a queer coding thing, but it's like he's, he's a try hard.
And she actually notes that where like when she rescues him after he knocks over the paddle boat and they wind up in the lake, cuz he gets stuck in the mud head first and she has to pull him out. She's like, yeah, the date's over and you're nice, but like you'll have better luck if you don't try to impress women by pretending to be someone you're not [00:11:00] is basically what she says.
Jessika: But yeah,
Mike: I mean, it's it
Jessika: track so far. Yes.
Mike: Yeah. So anyway, he gets home, he opens up his mirrored medicine cabinet in the bathroom, and then the magical gem falls out into the sink and he sits there and he is like, what is this? And he picks it up and he's like checking it out while he's walking through his living room.
And then he trips and falls through the mirror that he has there, and he winds up like in a dragon's layer where he almost gets roasted by a dragon. He manages to escape. But then he goes back to his bathroom mirror and he pops through the mirror there and he meets. Corny and his hench woman and Corny tries to blast him to get the gem back, but instead ends up like hitting Alan's house and blowing it apart.
So he is basically just standing in the ruins of his home, but he's in like his boxers and that's it. the hench woman is sent over to get it [00:12:00] back. So she crosses into our world and then we get a chase sequence where she is trying to get the gem back from Alan. So we get an extended chase sequence where Alan is running through Chicago, and I know this because you can see the John Hopkins Center in the skyline in one photo, but he is in his underwear.
He at one point steals a bike from , a local kid, and is like then just riding through traffic in his boxers and loafers
Jessika: That's like a, I feel like that's a crime.
I feel like that's an, I mean, like in two ways,
Jessika: probably multiple ways.
Mike: Yeah, well, you know, needs must as the devil drives. so the hench woman, manages to finally catch up with him after he goes into some, I don't know, it's like a skyscraper or something like that. It looks like it's probably some iconic piece of like architecture, but I didn't recognize it.
And then, he tells her like, you interdimensional aliens are all alike. You're evil and mean even if you're beautiful. And she does the whole, you think I'm beautiful line. And then he like runs [00:13:00] away and trips over railing. She dives after him, but because he's still holding the gym, they hit like a window or something and they cross into an undersea environment.
She gets like conked on the head. Alan manages to pull the hench woman out of the water onto an island, apparently does CPR off camera because he's like, ah, I couldn't save her. And then she goes, no, I'm fine. She's like, and uh, by the way, you have a great set of lips. And then she smooches him. And then the last panel is there's an angry set of eyes looking at the newly happy couple from the jungle shadows to be continued only, uh, That never happened cuz uh, you want to guess what the twist here is?
Jessika: Oh no. Not again.
Mike: Correct. Yeah, no. Like it looks like now never printed a second issue and.
Jessika: I've, this is skate man. All over again.
Mike: Well, you know, this is Bats, Cats, and Cadillacs all over again because this
came out Right,
around the same time as bats, cats, and Cadillacs. [00:14:00] And the problem was that they basically, I think, went through bankruptcy, if I remember right, like right around that time. And they wound up like canceling everything that wasn't like a major brand for them.
Mike: We'll get back to that in a second. But one of this is like, this is one of the weirdest things I've ever read. Like it's weird and it's silly and it feels like kind of a cool artistic experiment for the time. Because, you know, you've got these, these photographic backgrounds with these cartoony characters.
It's also, it doesn't really work like, I'm gonna say this right now. Like, it's not, it's not objectively great. it's a cool idea, but like, It just, it's, it's goofy and weird. the story itself has some funny moments, like every time that Corny shows up and vents about how unfair the universe is to an evil wizard like him.
I'd love to know what the plans for this were. I would love to know how it came to be, but you can also tell that this was created by a bunch of dudes because it seems like. Every romantic comedy where some [00:15:00] hapless loser charms his way into smooching, an incredibly hot woman who's like way out of his league, just it's got a fantasy twist.
and that said there are like two real female characters in this. There's Corny's ex-wife, and then there's this hench woman. The ex-wife gets a name. I don't remember what it is off the top of my head, but she gets a name, the Hench woman doesn't.
Jessika: Uh, well,
Mike: yeah, and, and like I'm just like, man, that, uh, that kind of sucks.
Mike: So that said, the one really cool thing about this issue is that there's an ad for Bats, Cats, and Cadillacs in it. And the artwork for that is rad as fuck. So I included a photo for you to check it out. It
Jessika: Oh yeah. That is neat.
That is cool. It does look like a movie poster, like one of those eighties movie posters with like the cascading faces of like the, the main characters and the, the villain in the back, you know, with [00:16:00] robes of flowing and a cat jumping midair and
the full moon and a little rat with sneakers
Mike: Yeah, I, I don't know if that's the, uh, I don't know if that's supposed to be like a villain or if that's supposed to be the girl vampire roommate that they
Jessika: Oh, that's right. That's right. I forgot about that.
It's been a
Mike: it's because, because you see the other two and they're like, were animal forms and all that.
It's, but it's just, it's a cool image. So that made me really happy to come across
Jessika: Yeah. absolutely. Oh,
Mike: so yeah. What about you? What fantastic facial hair did you bring to the table tonight?
Jessika: Well, tonight we are going to be talking about Warp from First Comics. Now, I found this comic at that fantastic Outer Planes moving sale that just keeps giving even about a year.
Mike: Oh my God. We got like hundreds of comics from them. Like just, we both, like every time we were there, we [00:17:00] filled up a short box.
Jessika: box. Yes, yes. I literally bought like five boxes from them and I had to keep being like, well, I guess I need a new box this time. Uh,
so this is issue number one of Warp. It's called the coming of Lord Cumulus.
Mike: All right.
Jessika: And I know right. Uh, published in March, 1983, again by First Comics adaptation and Pencils by Frank Brunner. Script was Peter Gillis, ink was Bob Smith, letters by Patterson, colors by Janice Cohen, and editor was Mike Gold.
And this was based on the plays by Stuart Gordon and Barry St. Edmond.
Mike: Wait, so like plays like, like what?
Jessika: yeah, I guess they were plays, but I don't know. We'll see if this actually makes sense.
Jessika: I did [00:18:00] also include a picture. You might wanna pull it up, make it bigger, because there are a couple things to note. Uh, if you just wanna give everyone a descriptor,
Mike: Yeah. All right. Hold on. Let me see.
Jessika: this is that one I sent you some closeups of,
Mike: yeah. Oh yeah, I remember this now. Yeah.
Jessika: you do.
Mike: I, I,
Jessika: Very suggestive.
Mike: I remember this. I don't want to try to describe it for memory, so I'm gonna pull up a larger image. Gimme one sec.
Jessika: Please do.
Mike: Okay, so here we go. Here we go. Warp premier issue by First Comics. the quest begins the coming of Lord Cumulus. Okay, so which one is Lord Cumulus? Is it the guy who we get the full body shot of, or is it the dude
Jessika: No, that's, oh wait, no, it is the full body shot guy. Yeah,
Mike: Okay. Uh, Lord, Lord Cumulus is, um, he is serving a vibe. The vibe is, uh, I'm fabulous and I'm gay. [00:19:00]
Mike: I'm just,
Jessika: is, that seems like the
Mike: that's it's just, it's, I'm gay. That's the only way he can do it. He's got, okay, so he's got like, Knee high boots. His color palette is blue and like canary yellow. he has some, some golden bands on his wrist.
He has a, lovely yellow cape that perfectly compliments his flowing locks of blonde hair. And then he is wearing, um, It's like if Jennifer Lopez's dress from the Oscars, everybody knows which one I'm talking about
Mike: was a one-piece bathing suit. it's got like shoulder spikes and then it is a deep V cut going. Almost all the way down to his crotch. which I mean, I do appreciate it because we get to see the fact that he's got like 16 abs. So that's nice. And then there is a, is it a golden arrow? Is that what that is like outta his crotch?
Jessika: think it's, I think it's just supposed to be a cod piece
or it's [00:20:00] see-through, it's either gold or it's see-through.
Mike: I. Yeah. Like, unless his pubes are that like bright a yellow?
I don't think so, but it's weird. It's like a cod piece that's like almost in this image. It's almost shaped like an arrow pointing down. yeah. I, I have seen this outfit at many gay bars on a Saturday night.
Jessika: Oh yeah.
Mike: Like, I mean, it is,
Mike: It, it, it is what I see the go-go dancers wearing.
Jessika: Yep. I was gonna say complete with knee high boots like this. Yep.
Mike: Yeah, exactly. and, then in the background, there's some dude who looks like kind of a Merlin knockoff. He's got like a, a pentacle on his forehead. I don't know. I don't care. He's clearly not the focus of my attention right now.
Jessika: But Okay. Explain why the facial hair come on.
Mike: Oh, yeah. No. So he's got kind of like the, the Robinhood goatee where, where the mustache hair goes all the way down to his chin.
Mike: No, it's a, it's a
good look. I appreciate it.
Jessika: Just Blends right in with that beard there.
Mike: Yeah, no, [00:21:00] it's good. No notes. A plus choice.
Jessika: Yeah, it's definitely, I picked it up for all of the reasons that you just described, one of which was his obscene cod piece, which by the way, I, I need to emphasize that. His cod piece, it's supposed to have some sort of, like, this is supposed to be the glimmer. This is supposed to be what's making it look gold metallic, but it just looks like a cock, like it just looks like a, an erect penis.
It looks like he's standing there with a little schlong.
Mike: everything about this feels like something that you would see on Drag Race, like.
it feel, it feels like a masculine version of what you would see on drag race because like he is, he is clearly not in drag. he is not presenting a gender fluid kind of image. It's just,
Jessika: It's just very over the top.
Jessika: So the plot starts somewhere where you might not expect with a normy office worker named David, who is trying really hard to [00:22:00] climb the corporate ladder and is maybe relatedly dating the boss's daughter who is a bombshell compared to how nerdy this guy is set up to be. Like glasses and all.
Yeah. So he ends up having this splitting headache while he's making out with her and like literally screams in her face, like not a cute look guy. And.
Mike: maybe he's just not really into women. I don't know, maybe.
Jessika: So he explains this a way that he's experienced headaches his whole life, which I get it my guy. I also get headaches, but then he does like an introspective about how these headaches were connected to the years spent in the insane asylum, which yuck already stop.
Mike: Like, I feel like that's something that you should maybe not tell the girl that you're making out
Jessika: No, it's introspective. Introspective. He's, he's showing us, he's showing us the viewer. He's having like a flashback internally. [00:23:00] So he had like a psychotic break that both he and the doctor thought had like cured him from these headaches and like delusions that he had been seeing.
Mike: not how any of this works,
Jessika: It's not, not at all.
I know. They're like, oh, you had this psychotic break, like you broke a fever. It was, they acted like it was a fever, like you broke it. Where this is fine. This is probably fine. So
Jessika: yeah, there was a lot wrong with this. There was a lot wrong.
So meanwhile, he gets another splitting headache, and when he looks back up, he has been transported to what he finds out is a different dimension, and he is being called Lord Cumulus by everyone and is almost seduced and killed by a butterfly winged villain. He's taken by robots to a hideout of a guy named, Loogle Bonda.
And meets a warrior named Sargon who has witty things to say, [00:24:00] like you learn quickly for a man,
Mike: A plus. No
Jessika: which I do like no notes on that. So, It's explained to him that Earth had been acting as an incubator of sorts for him, but that he really belonged to this world that he has now been transported to, and it was now time for him to right the wrongs of the land.
He never really knew. Okay. Right. So that's pretty much where we're at. That's it. But it, I mean, it's an interesting concept. I might see if I can try to find the rest of the series to see where it goes next. The art was good, but it did have the whole women warriors don't need protection around their vital organs kind of vibe,
Mike: mean that's,
Jessika: with just a couple metal coconut halves for a bra and some leather bits hanging around their middle.
Yeah. You know, the scene. But I mean, all in all really, it was a solid read.
So, yeah. Yeah.
Mike: Yeah, [00:25:00] no, I'm, I'm down with it. When we find books that we both enjoy, makes me happy.
Jessika: Yeah, for sure, for sure. Well, folks, that is it for this week for our dollar Bin Discoveries, but check in with us next week for another riveting, full-blown episode, deep dive episode into something. We'll find out what, and 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 Jessika Frazier and Mike Thompson, written by Jessika Frazier and Mike Thompson, edited by Mike Thompson and Jessika Frazier. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson Johnson of Bay Area Sound. Our credits and transition music is Pursuit of Life by Evan McDonald and was purchased with a standard license from Premium Beat.
Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who you can find at lookmomdraws.com.
Jessika: If you'd like [00:26:00] 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 takes gmail.com. You can also find us on Twitter. For now, the official podcast account is Tencent Takes. Jessika is Jessika Witha, and Jessika spelled with a K, but she's rarely there. And Mike is Van Sal, v a n s a U. We're also on Hive, Mastodon, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. The complete list is in the show notes.
Mike: If you'd like to support us, be sure to download, rate and review wherever you listen
Jessika: Stay safe out there.
Mike: and support your local comic shop.