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Dollar Bin Discoveries: Rain & The Sword of Sorcery


Mike: That was not my finest moment. In hindsight, I'm sorry.

Jessika: Welcome to Tencent Takes, the show where we blow off the dust of ages one issue at a time. My name is Jessica Frazier, and I am joined by my co host, the nesting doll of comics factoids, Mike Thompson.

Mike: I don't even know what sound effect to make to that. I'm drawing a blank. I'm sorry.

Jessika: That's just, uh no, that doesn't sound right. It's okay. We'll edit it out anyway. We'll edit the whole episode out.

Mike: We're not editing that out. Don't you lie to me.

Jessika: Well, if you're new to the show, our main, uh, 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. Many 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 enough for us to do a deep dive on at the moment, but we do reserve the right to change our mind later. And each episode will 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, Mike, what are you reading?

Mike: So at ah, the Petaluma Antique fair. A couple of months ago, I came across a guy who made me a pretty solid deal. He sold me a small pile of comics for way less than he should have. And one of the books I came across is the sort of sorcery number one, which is from, like, February 1973. Uh, it features one of the first appearances of Fofford and the Gray Mouser, which have you ever heard of them?

Jessika: No. Sword and Sorcery sounded very familiar. And then you started FOffering around, and I had no, you lost me.

Mike: Yeah. So Fowford is a barbarian, and the Gray Mouser is this kind of like, sneaky little acrobatic thief. And the two of them were the main characters of a bunch of short stories written by a guy named Fritz Lieber. I think it was right around the same time that, um, Robert Howard was writing the Conan stories. I might be wrong on that. They're basically considered sort of like literary counterparts to Conan and the Barbarian. And personally, having read through a lot of the short stories of both, I think that Fritz Lieber's writing is actually a lot better. This M is a comic that actually, um, has them starring in their own story. The first was, I think, uh, an issue of Wonder Woman that came out around the same time. But this is based on one of the stories called The Price of Pain Ease. And the story itself is written by Denny O'Neill. It's penciled by Howard Chicken. And it's inked by the Crusty Bunkers, which was a collective of inkers working out of Neil Adams Continuity Studios. Basically, it's this very kind of breathless fantasy adventure story. It starts off with foxford and the gray mouser. They're in this tavern and they recognize members of the Thieves Guild who are apparently out to collect a reward on them. They end up beating up the thieves pretty handily and there's very swashbuckily action. But the owner of the tavern ends up summoning the local magistrate because during the battle, they wrecked the room and laid out six paying customers on the floor. So they have to escape quickly. And then while they're seeking a place to hide from the law, they break into this mansion that belongs to Duke Danius. Danius. I don't know, um, what to say. A duke. They break into a mansion that belongs to a duke, and they are enjoying its luxuries until the owner actually returns and orders just guards to kill them. They escape again, there's, like, a lot of kind of exposition stuff in between where the Duke is getting a magic axe because he wants to kill Death, I think. And then in the meantime, like, a unicorn has rescued the two. And then it takes them to see some wizards who hire them to seal Death's mask. And eventually the two groups, both the Duke and Fowford and the Gray Mouse or wind up at, ah, Death's castle in front of his throne, where his mask is, but Death himself is not there. The Duke manages to knock out both of these heroes just as Death returns. And then the Duke tries to kill Death. But Death ends, um, up obviously not dying and kills the Duke instead. And then Fowford and Mouser wake up and they get out of Dodge and Fowford reveals that he actually stole the mask. Like I said, it's a very breathless story. It is a lot going on. I've actually boiled it down a lot. There's a lot of other parts that I left out.

Jessika: Oh, my gosh. That was one issue.

Mike: That's one issue. I was sitting there reading through this, and I'm like, good Lord, that's, um, so much. Yeah, it's a lot. But that said, that the story itself. And, like, it's kind of standard pulp sword and sorcery fantasy, but Chicken's art is really cool. It's got that cool 70s fantasy vibe that feels a little Sci-Fi and the costuming and everything feels very alien at times. It's kind of like what we recently discussed in the saga of Kristar, where it's got that other worldliness that kind of went away when Dungeons and Dragons style fantasy took over the genre. And I really liked the way that they drew Death. Like, he's got snakes coming out of his hands and stuff, which was kind of cool.

Jessika: Uh, that's neat.

Mike: Yeah. It's one of those books where I don't know, I just appreciate it for being a really interesting artifact. And I don't know, at some point we might want to talk about the two heroes and how they're an interesting counterpart to Conan. But that probably won't happen anytime soon. So, yeah, it, uh, was a fun one to find, and I'm glad I paid almost nothing for it. Individually.

Jessika: Perfect.

Mike: Exactly right. So what about you? What are you talking about tonight?

Jessika: I'm talking about gay shit.

Mike: Fucking love it.

Jessika: Gay shit. Yeah. Shit. I specifically bought this from the Dollar Bins because it was very obviously gay shit. Okay. The COVID is like, two women holding hands, and, like, a beam of light is going through them. I'm like, I literally don't care what's happening. I'm buying this comment. I can't open it. I don't care because it looks gay as fuck and I'm on board. I was right. Gay. So it's called Rain, and it was part one of, uh, five part series.

Mike: I've read the first issue of this. It's great.

Jessika: So good. It's so good. So it's from January of 2022. So just earlier this year, beginning of this year, story by Joe Hill, adaptation by David Mbuer, art by Zoe Thoroughgood, colors by Chris O'Halloran, letters by Sean Lee, and based on the novella Reign by Joe Hill. So the story focuses on a couple of women and walking through their story with Yolanda moving in with Honeysuckle. The whole story has this overarching sense of foreboding as a perfectly sunny and pleasant day turns deadly. And, uh, if you want to see this, I don't want to reveal any more than that. If you want to read it, go read it because it's really good. Firstly, again, you know, I love a gay romance story, so, of course I was on board with this one. The two are sweet and they're quirky with one another, and the relationship feels like it's well thought through with each character having a personality outside of the relationship, which is great.

Mike: It's really lovely. I remember this.

Jessika: Yeah. And I liked the build up of the plot. You really could feel something dark and foreboding was happening, even though the story was completely pleasant, 100% pleasant. And you're just like, no, something feels wrong. And there was just this build up to it that was super fascinating. And then the art is gorgeous. The hair was done in a way that I really liked. Yolanda had textured hair and the way that the art was done with her hair being coiled in textures, it was really neat. And I think it was really well thought through as far as that goes, um, from what I know. And I really liked that there were different body shapes and attributes. Like, Honeysuckle has freckles, and these are always emphasized in close ups, and they're always present whenever she's insane.

Mike: Yeah, no, I really enjoyed it. Have you read other stuff by Joe Hill?

Jessika: No, I haven't.

Mike: Okay. So, first of all, Joe Hill is Stephen King's son.

Jessika: Oh, uh, uh, okay.

Mike: Yeah, he's like a very accomplished writer in his own right. He came through Petaluma a couple of years ago because he had his new short story anthology coming out. He came to Copperfield and it was packed. And then, um, had Iggy with me. And so we got a picture of Me and Iggy and Joe Hill. And he signed my copies of Lock and Key, which is the comic that he wrote. It's been adapted into a Netflix series and all that. He is incredibly talented. It's one of those things where I'm like, man, he seems really nice too. And just was really gracious about signing as much stuff as people wanted to give him because I had the first few issues of Lock and Key and he signed all that.

Jessika: Well, shit, Joe Hill hit us up.

Mike: Yeah. Uh, we should see if we can get him on some time to talk. He's really cool and really fascinating. And he was really funny too.

Jessika: Yeah, dude. And I got to say, the storytelling, even in just this first issue, was just it was so well done. And the plot was really driving even when they were just telling these characters story of like, moving in together, this really commonplace thing, like things happening on the street. Like some kid not able to go outside because he's not, you know, because he's on antibiotics and he's sensitive to the sun right now. And just like, little details about the neighborhood.

Mike: Yeah.

Jessika: I think that about wraps up our dollar bin discoveries for this week.

Mike: Yeah, right. I guess so. Yeah.

Jessika: Okay.

Mike: Well, it sounds about right.

Jessika: Well, thanks for so much for joining us. And join us next week for another deep dive. I don't know what we're going to talk about. We'll talk about something cool. So join us then. 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 Jessica Fraser and Mike Thompson, written by Jessica Fraser and Mike Thompson, and edited by Mike Thompson. 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 Evan McDonald and was purchased with standard license from Premium Beat. Our banner graphics were designed by Sarah Frank, who you can find at uh. Lookmomdraws.com, if you'd like to get in.

Jessika: Touch with us, ask us questions, or tell us about how we got something wrong, please head over to Tencentakes.com or shoot an email to Tencent takes@gmail.com. You can also find us on Twitter. For now, the official podcast account is ten cent takes. Jessica is Jessica witha, uh and Jessica spelled with a K. And Mike is Van Sal. 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.

Jessika: I don't have to leave in that for now.

Mike: I don't know.

Jessika: It's a good warning. Lift it up, musk.

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