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Dollar Bin Discoveries: Obscure Fantasy Edition



Jessika: [00:00:00] here's the thing, Mike, I'm just glad that you are the one bringing the chaos this evening. Wow.


Jessika: Welcome to Tencent Takes the show where we wander into the enchanted forests of our mind, one issue at a time. My name is Jessika Fraser, and I'm joined by my co-host the Leviathan of the Library, Mike Thompson.

Mike: I did work in a library. That was my first job outta high school.

Jessika: You did, you did. Were you Leviathan

Mike: No,

Jessika: particularly?

Mike: no. I did wear really tacky aloha shirts a lot though.

Jessika: No, that counts

Mike: Yeah.

Jessika: Well, if you are new [00:01:00] 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 Discoveries mini episodes that we do in between those deep dives, we spend a ton of time rooting through dollar bins at local shops looking for interesting stuff.

And while a lot of the issues we find are fun and weird, there may not be quite enough information for us to do a deep dive on at the moment. We do reserve the right to change our mind later, though. So these episodes feature both of us talking about one random issue we come across in the dollar bins, what it is, what goes on inside it, and why it's interesting. So this week, because we have settled upon doing themes, which I enjoy

Mike: me too.

Jessika: And guys, if you have a theme you want us to try [00:02:00] to check out, please let us know.

Tweet at us like we, I, we cannot guarantee that we're gonna be able to find exactly the niche thing, but we can definitely try.

Mike: Yeah. Like I, I think between the two of us, we have enough weird Comics that we can probably meet most people's demands.

Jessika: Yeah, I could. I could. Yeah, absolutely. I think we could make it work.

Mike: Yeah.

Jessika: We'll, groovy. Yeah. So let us know y'all. But for today, the theme is Obscure fantasy

Mike: I was so excited when you suggested this.

Jessika: Oh, good. I just happened to have this on my counter that I was going to put forth as a dollar bin discovery anyway, and I was like, what do I call this? Oh, obscure fantasy, it is. But we're not talking about me right now. What did you bring first?

Mike: Ooh. All right.

Jessika: Yeah.

Mike: so you were with me when I picked this up. It is Krey [00:03:00] number one from Gauntlet Comics, and Krey is spelled like prey, but with a K at the beginning. yeah, I was gonna say as someone who is a fan of with a K,

Jessika: Yeah.

Mike: it was written by Roland Mann, who we have recently , been interacting with on Twitter, strangely.

Jessika: Oh yeah.

Mike: Yeah. Uh, penciled by Steven Butler. Embellishments were done by Ken Branch. It was Inked by Jack Keefer and lettered by Dan Necrosis. It looks like Gauntlet was the imprint, but it was actually put together by Silver Line Comics and then published by Caliber, which we talked about a year ago with our episode about the realm.

So I'm gonna say this upfront, there is nothing really original about this comic. The story is A) Being that classic trope of the barbarian warrior out for revenge after he's orphaned, except in this book he's been orphaned twice.

Jessika: Oh, he's an extra orphan. Orphan.

Stop.

Mike: he, he's an orphan squared.

Jessika: Oh goodness.

Mike: [00:04:00] yeah. You know, because this is from the nineties and it had to be extreme.

Jessika: Lord.

Mike: Yeah. Well, basically the story begins with a group of mutants. They're, they're orcs, but for some reason they're just called mutants, raiding a human village and razing it. The entire sequence is narration by caption, just telling us what we're seeing. So we're told that the mutants invade they murder and rampage, it's implied there's some sexual assault in one panel, but it feels like a PG-rated alusion to an R-rated subject.

So it's a little weird and uncomfortable as a result. yeah. Anyway, so we see a particular mutant attack a house and kill the man living there before becoming interested in a cool looking sword that was hanging on the wall. It turns out the man's wife is also inside and she's protecting her sleeping baby, but she's also killed.

And then the mutant decides to take the human baby as a spoil, of war alongside the sword, and he raises the kid as his own. So the kid is given the name [00:05:00] Krey, which means battle prize in the mutants' language.

And he's, yeah, you know, he's. Adopted by the mutant who took him. And honestly, this is like the most interesting part of the story. Krey's childhood appears to be a pretty happy one. Like the comic never shows him being bullied or ostracized because he's different and his adopted family seems to care for him in a strong, distant way.

Jessika: Huh.

Mike: He is obsessed with proving himself at the Mutant Tribe's combat trials.

And so he trains with his dead father's sword every night after everyone else goes to sleep. And when he is finally old enough for the trials, he participates and he actually seems to kick ass right until a group of human nights find the settlement and attack it. And then it's kind of a mirror image of the scene that we got at the beginning of the book.

Krey's Mutant father is mortally wounded and tells the boy to run away and never forget what he saw that day. And also to take his human father's sword with him. Krey sits there and says that the mutants are his people when dealing with a human knight. And then he ends up killing said human night on his way out.[00:06:00]

And the book ends with him and a few scattered survivors on the run from their village's wreckage.

Jessika: Damn. it's all about like just pillage and towns though.

Mike: Yeah. And you know, like I said, it doesn't feel terribly original, but it's not bad. It's not meant to be a

criticism. It's just kind of like

I've.

Jessika: no, no. no. Sure.

Mike: I've seen variations of this theme so many times.

Jessika: Yeah.

Mike: but I mean, like, honestly the standout is Butler's art.

It's extremely dynamic and honestly it's shockingly good. Like considering it's from a black and white indie book published in the early nineties, like you were with me at the Batcave when I came across this, book in the Dollar Bins and can testify that it is a book that I picked up purely for the cover.

It's like

Jessika: Yes,

Mike: it's super colorful and it shows a young Krey screaming for vengeance while he stands like a top, a pile of mutant bodies with flashing lightning and like an adult version of himself, like, you know, in the sky behind him, like a vision. And it makes sense that the art's so good [00:07:00] considering how Butler was good enough to work for Marvel in the nineties, as well as doing work on Sonic the Hedgehog and Archie Comics.

But, This is also a comic that was clearly produced cheaply. The, the paper seems to be pretty inexpensive newsprint, and the ink has actually rubbed on some of the pages, like as I was flipping it open, it was really funny. Um, I've got some more issues coming in a package from Canada soon of all places, so I'm

actually really excited to check those out.

Jessika: nice.

Mike: overall it's not bad. I'm curious to see where it goes. There's not a lot of issues, but they're pretty easy to find online.

Jessika: Okay. Nice.

Mike: Yeah. And you know, if Roland Mann ever wants to come on and talk about this, maybe we'll bring it back for a deep dive.

Jessika: Ooh, yeah. Hit us up.

Mike: All right. So what about you? what is the D 20 bringing up tonight?

Jessika: Oh goodness. Earthlore, number one, the Reign of the Dragon Lord.

Mike: What

Jessika: Yeah. [00:08:00] Yeah. Written by CJ Henderson. Illustrated by Kevin Ferrell. Finishes by James Fletcher, lettered by Pat Brusso. Edited by Martin Birkenwald.

Published October, 1986 when I was just a wee babe by Eternity Comics.

Mike: Oh, that's really funny. So this is, I, I don't know if Eternity was creator owned books or not, but they got acquired by Malibu, and then Malibu got acquired by Marvel. So theoretically this could be a Disney comic.

Jessika: Oh, oh, well, we'll see if we have any Disney royalty in here. So the story starts off with Eric Ware Dodger, who is a very fierce king, and he's just gotten home from battle, but he's expecting more trouble from a gang of witches. And so he's on guard, even in his castle home, and he was right to be concerned as a reptilian like assassin from the feuding lamonians is sent to try to [00:09:00] kill him in his sleep, but he is slain by the assassin who goes on a killing spree throughout the castle. Jump scene to the next frame. We see another couple of people who have managed to make it away from danger.

A young woman, Alicia. Oh, tell me. Yeah.

Mike: so I'm sorry. This doesn't sound so much like an assassin as it does like the villain from a slasher movie.

Jessika: Um, it was kind of in a, it like there was an assassin, but there was more, like the whole castle got attacked

Mike: Hmm.

Jessika: and this just happened to be the assassin that went into the king's kind of

situation. Yeah. Uh, yeah. No, for real. But it was like, they kind of , they show the one guy like killing the king and then like a wake of bodies, but then like, they don't like, and he rips him apart, like it is black and white, but , king is like toast.

And you think like, you're like, oh, king's ready, right. King's sleeping with the, the sword next to his [00:10:00] bed and, and this thing's like,

Nope.

Mike: Yeah. Eternity did some pretty graphic stuff. I think they did the original Evil Ernie books too,

Jessika: Oh. That tracks, you'll, that track, and I'll tell you why later. That does track a little bit. So we did have two people that got away from that whole situation. Uh, a young woman named Alizia had escaped with someone else, I don't know, some knight or something, only to be thrown off of the horse. And having him basically just be like, run! Like, thanks my guy

And so right. So she actually gets saved by who turns out to be her uncle, Lanhar Dilcin.

Who explains that? God, I don't even know if it's d i l c i n, Lanhar l a n H A r.

Mike: yeah, I guess. I don't know.

Jessika: I saw this TikTok earlier where it was like the first couple hundred pages of like a new fantasy [00:11:00] story and it's like we traveled from, we met up with

Mike: Mm-hmm.

Jessika: It's like, yeah, that's how it feels sometimes.

Mike: Yep.

I've been

playing, the Lord of the Ring's Shadow of War game. Cause

Jessika: yeah. There it is.

Mike: it was on PlayStation Plus, as a free game.

Jessika: Mm-hmm.

Mike: I, I can't, with so many of the names, I'm just like, whatever. Just let me kill Orks. Like, just let me do that.

Jessika: How many eyes or ease are in that? Uh, that's, that's Elvin. I can't say that

I.

Mike: Oh, it's so, like, they ha they have a whole minigame, there is a whole minigame where you have to go around the map and find these like words that are used in like a poem and it's in Elvish. And so they're sitting there and like, yeah, no, it's terrible. Like, they're sitting there and like, very seriously saying all these words.

I'm like, this is all gobbledy gook. Who cares?

I'm like, just gimme my legendary armor set so I can move on.

Jessika: seriously. Oh my goodness. [00:12:00] Well, so freaking Lanhar Dilcin explains that he had made a plan with the girl's father, the king, that if the castle was attacked, she would be whisked away to him. So he already knew about this whole situation that she was on her way from the attack. So she talks about how she was taken from her room.

It was explained, she was like literally like abducted in the night by some guy she didn't know, which is like picked up over her shoulder. Very damn zone distress.

Mike: Okay.

Jessika: Ugh. So it's explained to her that her father and brothers were dead and that she needed to get away. So that's the dude that was on the horse.

Right.

Mike: Mm-hmm.

Jessika: Seeya, peace. So we find out that these two, the princess and then the uncle are the soul heirs to this throne now.

So uncle rides off into the distance. Who the fuck knows where he's fucking off somewhere. And meanwhile, Elisia finds a badger who can talk in the [00:13:00] house, who, who let the badger in?

Unsure. But he could barely talk. It's kind of intense. He just, he's like every five words. He's like, breathy, but he's still like, is very robust in his speech. It's like, why are you like this? So the bachelor's name is smug

and he explains that her, uh, but his real name is render as a person. His real name is render.

That is explained. Whatever. So, but while he's a, while, he's a badger. His name is smug. So, explains that her uncle likely went to war with the lemons. Uh, he's also explains that he himself was a human once, as I just said, and his adventures and different personas during his life, including the fact that he used to be her teacher

and yeah.

And he decided to become a badger because he was bored. Like, what?

Mike: This feels like so much weird exposition.

Jessika: It's weird. And so uncle returns, he's back, da, da and while the badger's here. [00:14:00] Not surprised there's a badger there at all. Explains that there was some family drama that started all of this out. Basically, turns out the queen mom had been shacking up with one of the Lamonians.

The Lamonians are again the lizard people, so.

She, somebody had come fen car, a shadow lizard had come to court, but like specifically to cause trouble. So he purposefully like, wooed the queen and like knocked her up. Insert one nipple. We get one nipple with her banging, not the, not the reptile, but her banging someone else to explain that she is in fact loose.

Mike: This is a,

Jessika: I hate it. .

Mike: This

Jessika: It's

Mike: wild.

Jessika: It's so wild. So that is why Uncle Lanhar exists because fun fact, something I haven't told you, he's actually half reptile. He looks like a [00:15:00] mountain man mixed with a lizard person. Imagine Leonardo DiCaprio fighting a bear, but like mixed with a lizard person and he has a tail, a

Mike: weird. Okay.

Jessika: So

Mike: So, so wait, when this weird lizard dude shows up,

Jessika: Yes.

Mike: uh, with

Alicia.

Jessika: they weren't warring at that point in time.

Mike: Okay. So when he shows up and like rescues elisia, is she just like

not freaked out by him? Or does it like take

some

convincing

Jessika: she already knows the uncle? Yeah, she's the

to her. Like, yeah. So, no, no, no. She doesn't freak out. She's like uncle, like he does save her. And he's like, aren't you even gonna ask who you're talking to? So I like, she knew of him, but

like, I don't know that she had actually met him, if that makes, I don't know.

Or hadn't seen him in a long time or something. Cuz she was not like surprised by him. meanwhile, Lanhar goes on to talk about how bad the Lamonians are, how much they're destroying [00:16:00] everything. There's war, they wanna take over the kingdom, hence the attack to the castle, yada yada. Meanwhile, Render who is actually, you know, against smug, the badger has turned back into a human. Yeah. Okay. so then they have dinner and they gear up to fight the good fight. That's, that's how that went

Mike: Oh, is that, is that where it ends? I'm, I

Jessika: That literally is how it ends. Nope. Nope. Period. I didn't just drop off the face of the planet. That's it. and I have number two here,

Mike: Oh, cool.

Jessika: So I will be able to like, get some resolution. I mean, it was interesting. There was just a lot happening and it was in black and white and so that was sometimes like, it was like quite a bit of detail at times.

So it was kind of difficult to absorb or like kind of took a little bit of time to do. Like overall it was fine. It was interesting. I do like the way it was set up. Uh, it starts with a page of prose, kind of just leading into the [00:17:00] story to set it up for the reader. there was quite a bit of exposition throughout the story.

Obviously it made it longer feeling it was only 24 pages, but it felt like I was reading forever. I do think that they did what they needed to, to get the story to unfold properly since it was somewhat complicated.

Mike: yeah, it, it feels. , it reminds me a lot narratively of like those old fantasy stories or fairy tales that were written in, like the medieval times where it's just like

Jessika: Yeah.

Mike: details.

Jessika: Yeah.

Mike: I mean, and it sounds dense.

Jessika: it's based on a story that was kind of passed around like historically for a while and like amongst different circles and got adapted into this comic. Yeah, there was a whole little thing at the end at a Ford by someone else,

Mike: Yeah. Do you know how many issues this series is?

Jessika: you know? I don't,

um, I just know of

Mike: be really

Jessika: and two.

Yeah.

So, yeah, it was, it was interesting though. So we'll see. We'll see. Maybe, maybe [00:18:00] we'll circle back.

Mike: Yeah, no, that sounds really cool, man. Like, I'd, I'd be really interested in checking that out just to see what it's like.

Jessika: Okay. Okay. Well, maybe, maybe we'll, we'll dive a

little deeper if

there's anything there, but Yes, yes, definitely. Definitely.

All right, well, I think that that just about wraps up our episode for this week for our Dollar Bin Discoveries.

Mike: Yeah.

Jessika: Yeah. So join us next week for an in-depth episode. Not sure what that's gonna be yet.

You'll be surprised just like us. and then after that, we'll have another dollar been discovery the week after that. But until then, We'll see you in the stacks.

Mike: 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.

Jessika: This episode was hosted by Jessika Frazer and Mike Thompson, written by Mike Thompson and Jessika Frazer and edited by Jessika Frazer and Mike Thompson. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson [00:19:00] 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's at lookmomdraws.com

Mike: 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 takes gmail.com. You can also find us on Twitter for now. The official podcast account is Tencenttakes all one word.

Jessika is Jessikawitha and Jessika is spelled with a K. And Mike is Vansau v a n s a U. We're also on Hive, Mastodon, Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook. The complete list is in the show notes.

Jessika: If you'd like to support us, please be sure to download rate and review wherever you listen

Mike: Stay safe out there.

Jessika: and support your local comic shop.

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