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Dollar Bin Discoveries: Stars & Stripes Edition



Mike: [00:00:00] Oh. I feel so bad for you because you've got too much good beer.

Jessika: I should drop some beer off at your house.

Mike: That would be nice.


[INTRO MUSIC]

Jessika: Welcome to 10 cent Takes the show where we get all patriotic on your ass, one issue at a time. My name is Jessica Frazier and I'm joined by my cohort my, I'm joined by my co-host, the Star Spangled Scholar, Mike Thompson.

Mike: Can we go back to cohort for a minute? Because

Jessika: You are a co. Thanks. Now we can't edit that out. Thanks, Mike.

Mike: it's just my affections are negotiable.

Jessika: That's totally fair. Well, how are you doing [00:01:00] tonight? Feeling negotiable, it sounds like.

Mike: I'm doing good. you know, it's hottest balls outside. So we, basically turned out our little AC units and then just didn't move.

Jessika: I don't have AC like that, so I literally just had to like leave my house because it got unbearable after a while.

Mike: Yeah, we had central AC at our old place. That was real nice for, I think the four or five months that we had it before we moved

Jessika: the dream,

Mike: the dream. Yeah,

Jessika: as we roll into summer, I am not looking forward to it. This is my least favorite

Mike: we made it through June and it was like pleasant, and now all of a sudden God has decided to leave the oven on and just walk away,

Jessika: I always forget, and then summer slaps me in the face one day and I'm just like, this is shitty.

Mike: it's the fucking worst.

Jessika: [00:02:00] Oh, well, if you are new to our 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 Dollar Bin Discoveries mini episodes that we do In between those deep dives. We spend a lot 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 for us to do a deep dive on at the moment, but we always reserve the right to change our mind later on any of these ones that we've covered. So each episode will feature both of us talking about one random issue we came across in the dollar bins, one that fits a theme that one of us chose. We'll talk about what it is, what goes on inside it and why it's interesting. And just for the sake of knowledge, like [00:03:00] usually the ones that we are hosting, like I, I chose this topic, for example. So in honor of the 4th of July, the birth of our nation, this week's theme is stars and stripes. Pew, pew, pew, pew, pew. That's me shooting off all of the guns. Oh, I probably should have gone, like, I can't really make the automatic rifle noises, but that's, that's truly 'murica.

Mike: America. Yeah. But on top of that, we are actually celebrating a pretty big milestone because at the time of recording, we are currently at 9,981 downloads,

Jessika: Holy crap.

Mike: I'm like so excited about this, that means that whenever you're listening to this episode, we'll have crossed the 10,000 mark.

Which is just like mind blowing. We were talking about this before we actually started recording. It is [00:04:00] wild to us that people have downloaded our show that many times.

Jessika: Yeah. So thank you. Every download counts. This is a, a direct result and part of that direct result is us getting really excited. So

Mike: Yeah.

Jessika: us really happy, we get really happy. When we see a bunch of downloads,

Mike: It's really fun.

Jessika: we actually chat, like honestly, it's something we chat about a lot offline.

Mike: Yeah, about once a week when it's not an episode release day one of us will message the other and be like, oh, we're seeing a download spike. Oh, okay. And it's always like someone who went and downloaded one or two of the new episodes and then went and downloaded a whole slew of our back catalog, which is always great.

Jessika: yeah, which is cool. So, and I know that, um, some of our listeners actually, I had a couple people come up to me at some of our trivia, events in North Bay trivia in Sonoma County and told me that they subscribed. And so they are, they said that they haven't listened yet, but they're, they're definitely getting all the notifications about our episodes, so they're gonna start listening.

Yeah. [00:05:00] So that's pretty cool too. So thank you so much for, uh, for listening to us. I think that's really neat. Like,

we're just a nerd.

Mike: Yeah. But we're gonna actually celebrate this. We're gonna do a couple of giveaways, to basically mark the occasion. I am currently going through all of the stuff that I bought over the last year because I finally got some file cabinets that I can stack all my comics in, so I'm putting together two bundles, as I organize everything. And it's gonna be one bundle full of gimmick covers from the nineties, and then the other one is gonna be full of fun dollar bin discoveries. You are eligible to win one of these if you leave a review for us on whatever platform that you're listening on if it has reviews available, and send us a screenshot and we'll put your name into the hat and then do a drawing on July 31st.

There's 31 days in the month. Right.

Jessika: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. This one, yes.

Mike: Okay. Well, I was like, eh, we might have to go back in and edit that, but that's fine. . so seriously, if you [00:06:00] have already left us a review, take a screenshot of it, send it to us. If you want to be entered in and you haven't left us a review, leave us a review, take a screenshot, send it to us, and we'll follow up with you if you're the winner.

Jessika: Heck yeah. And thanks again for listening to us.

Mike: Yeah, we, uh, we never expected to like, kind of hit this milestone, so this was really big for us.

Jessika: Oh yeah, for sure. It's one of those just kind of like ambiguous numbers, so it's exciting. It might be a real thing soon. It will be a real thing soon. All right, well, in honor of 4th of July, like I said, this week's theme is Stars and Stripes. So Mike, what did you bring to the table that encompasses this lovely theme, this patriotic theme of ours?

Mike: Man. it's funny because right after you suggested this, I came across this book as I was like going through the piles of stuff that I've picked up in the dollar bins over the past year. And this is Scout number 11. It is from September 1986, published by [00:07:00] Eclipse Comics. It was created, written and illustrated by Timothy Truman.

It was lettered by Tim Harkins, there is painting by Sam Parsons and it was edited by Catherine Yronwood. And Yronwood is spelled with a Y, which I think is extremely cool.

Jessika: Oh.

Mike: And also, Ben Dunn, who went on to create Areala Warrior Nun, gets shouted out in the credits for doing some additional pencil work.

I'll talk about that at the end of the episode. okay. So Scout is actually this really cool series that takes place in a near future dystopian America. Basically, America is in the middle of a slow moving apocalypse, thanks to a series of ecological disasters, and then a large portion of the international community has wound up sanctioning the US for stealing resources.

it, it also takes place, in the, the near future of 1999.

Jessika: Jesus fucking Christ. Oh my God. Let that one sink in.

Oh, [00:08:00] 1999 was last year, right?

Mike: Yeah, totally.

Jessika: Ugh.

Mike: So the only other issue in the series that I've read is the first issue. What happened was when we went to that Liam Sharp signing at Flying Colors Comics, they had the first 12 issues in a bundle for 20 bucks. And I was like, all right, well I'm picking this shit up.

So,

Jessika: I've got a bunch of these too. Actually. I picked them up at the outer planes one because I was planning on doing like kind of an overhaul about Eclipse at some point in time. So

I'll come down the shoot at some point. I know I'll get on, I'll get on the horn at some point.

Mike: At some point. Yeah. So first comic notes that Russia basically formed a bunch of political alliances that allowed it to comfortably survive everything that's going on, while leaving us stuck between a rock and the hard place, and then as a result, it's hard to assign a label to the setting because it's like sort of near future and then it's like sort of [00:09:00] post apocalyptic, but not quite. But it's very dystopian, so I'm not like, I'm not quite sure how, how to label it, but it's like, but I can give you the vibe for it.

Jessika: totally.

Mike: yeah, the comic stars, Emanuel Santana, who is a member of the Apache Reservation in New Mexico, Emmanuel was basically drafted in what sounds like a rebranding of the Native American boarding schools from like the 18 and 19 hundreds. But in this, he was conscripted to be a part of the National Guard, but then he goes AWOL after a couple of years and he is given a vision that sends him after the great monsters of the Apache.

So he's using all of this military training to help him on this quest. But the flip side is that he's also technically on the run from the US government, like, you know, whatever remains of the US government, I guess.

Jessika: Right.

Mike: think of this comic as Mad Max, but set in the American Southwest and starring a Native [00:10:00] American warrior shaman.

Jessika: Uh oh.

Mike: it's actually like, really good. I like it a lot.

Jessika: Okay. Okay. That's, that's better than I expected you to say. I, I was getting some major red flags.

Mike: it's interesting because I think Timothy Truman is a white guy. don't know if he has any Native American heritage. I. But he seems pretty respectful of the source material. you know, I was reading up on it on Wikipedia. There was a book that they cited talking about Native American representation in Comics, and they actually noted, like they gave it some pretty high praise.

So it's one of those ones where, you know, in the eighties this would probably fly, but if you had someone doing this now, probably not.

Jessika: Mm-hmm.

Mike: said, I didn't really find anything to object to. but again, putting in a little caveat, I am a white guy.

I do not have a background in this, but it did not seem disrespectful.

Jessika: Okay.

Mike: So first of all, check out this cover and you will see why I chose it for this [00:11:00] episode.

Jessika: Okay. All right. All right. All right. Let me see. Oh, yep, there it is.

Mike: Yeah.

Jessika: Stars and mother fluffing stripes. Yeah. Okay, so we have Scout, and that's in red letters. The background is like these stripes coming up in the back and stars in the middle, um, with blue with white stars. And then at the bottom there is, you said he's Apache.

Mike: Mm-hmm.

Jessika: So there's, um, our, our guy, our Apache friend, but he is holding an automatic rifle.

He's looking fierce as fuck. He's got like a dagger in his shoe. And this boot, he's got all this stuff attached to his hip. My guy looks prepared and pretty fierce, I'm not gonna lie.

And he's like standing in front of a, like a bison skull. Pretty cool.

Mike: Yeah. This issue story is called Comeback [00:12:00] Baby. It opens with Santana in the desert looking at a dead owl and reflecting about how owls are considered evil in Native American mythology. He notes that the desert is full of them and the desert is only getting bigger thanks to the Greenhouse effect, and how "with every inch it grows, something dies.

New ghosts for owls to carry in their bellies." He notes how the entire world will one day be a desert, and the owls will be happy, and then we see that he's being observed from a distance by military unit. meanwhile, in Las Vegas, we meet the owner of the music spot, the Circus Maximum. He's someone who was only referred to as Mr.

Show Dog. My guess is that he is a Native American spirit wearing a human disguise since that's, a part of the comic, but also his look is so bizarre. He is like super skinny. He has a floppy hat that almost looks like a pith helmet. He has Goggle sunglasses and a bright red Aloha shirt, and he is also smoking a long [00:13:00] stem cigarette holder.

it's a vibe, man. Like it's, it's a look and it also, it gives off a very colonialism kind of vibe. it seems kind of fitting with what they're doing here. Anyway, Show Dog is playing an arcade game in his office. One of his employees barges in in a panic stating how the opening act hasn't arrived yet.

Show Dog looks out. He agrees that the crowd is bad and he tells his assistant to get the Satan Boys ready to go on. And then outside the club, the new Disciple of Soul Blues Band pulls up in their bright pink Winnebago.

Love it. No notes. And they clock the Satan Boys on stage.

The Satan Boys look kind of like, post-apocalyptic punk metal band, kind of like the vibe is what they're giving off it. They, we get one large shot of them, and it's kind of like, I don't know. Imagine, kiss thrown through a couple of like Photoshop filters and you gotten an idea.

Jessika: yes, [00:14:00] yes. I love this.

Mike: so they're just like, fuck these guys. They're gig jumpers. They come on stage, they knock out the Satan boys in front of the audience, and then they just appropriate the equipment from the Satan Boys and use it as their own for their set, as they start playing, they like specifically are like, we'd like to thank the Satan Boys for letting us use their amps.

I'm like, that's pretty good. And Show Dog is like actually really entertained by all this. And he's like, oh no, I like their attitude. You know? Then like, this is good. I like it. And then somewhere else in the southwest we see an understaffed military silo get attacked and we find out that the attackers now have control of the armed nuclear missiles that are there.

now we cut back to Santana, who was attacked by the military group that was watching him. He hightails it out of Theron, his motorcycle, and the group gives chase on their ATVs. They eventually are able to knock him off his bike with a concussion rocket. But when that group of soldiers follow up, Santana manages to kill all of them in an ambush.

And then back at the missile silo, the [00:15:00] leader of the attackers appears to be a blind hermit. Like he's wearing like a hooded robe and he is got, you know, kind of this like swatch across , his eyes. He notes the importance of his mission, and then he double crosses the guys who are kind of the traitorous us soldiers who helped him stage the attack.

They're restrained by his own men. He notes how their hearts are stained with the "worms tongue," whatever that is. Uh, but there's still hope for them. And he removes the bandage over his eyes and tells the men that he wants them to gaze on his face and ponder their sins. It's implied there's something supernatural going on.

We don't really see what it is in this issue. We get a closeup of one of his eyes, which seems to be all white and surrounded by scars. But that's it. Finally we see Santana again as he finishes off the last of the soldiers chasing him, one of their radios goes off and notes that the squad leader is coming in and Santana suddenly finds himself facing off against this giant mech that's been kitted out with like a ton of firepower.

And it also has a star of David on one shoulder and an Israeli flag emblem on the other. [00:16:00] And

Jessika: oh,

Mike: yeah, , the mech pilot is a woman named Rosa, who's clearly got some history with Santana. She says that they got the equipment from a friendly power, so obviously it was like on loan to them from Israel. and then she notes that Santana's a wanted man, but she can wipe his slate clean if he'll kill a man for the United States.

And that's where the issue ends.

Jessika: interesting. Interesting.

Mike: Yeah, like I said, I'd only read the first issue of the series before this and now I'm like chomping at the bit to read more because honestly this is excellent.

Jessika: Yeah. Nice.

Mike: I really appreciated how the comic was clearly taking its time, setting up stuff, but it was never dull or left me feeling completely out of the loop.

Like I could be a new reader and still follow what was going on without any problem.

Jessika: That's cool.

Mike: yeah, and the art is beautiful, like remarkably better than a lot of the stuff that we have read from Marvel and DC that was coming out at the same time.

Jessika: Mm.[00:17:00]

Mike: Like just chef's kiss to the art. also I realized at the end of the issue it like, cuz you know how I said they credit Ben Dunn.

Jessika: Yes.

Mike: so what he did, because he was working at a, a Manga magazine at the time. He was the one who penciled in the mec while the rest of the issue is Truman, I think cuz like they both signed like the big kind of full page spread with the mech on it. I thought that was really cool because they brought in someone who's like an artist who could do this when mechs weren't really a common thing in media.

yeah, like I had this series on my list of things to talk about at some point too. So like I think we need to move it up the schedule at some point.

Jessika: Okay. Yeah, let's do it.

Mike: Yeah. So like what about you? Cause I, I'm really curious what you brought this time around

Jessika: Oh, just you white

Mike: okay.

Jessika: Henry Higgins. No, I'm just joking.

Mike: Mm

Jessika: Well, I [00:18:00] found my comic at that amazing sale at Outer Plains

That

we talked about. That was over a year ago. That was May or June

Mike: They, they're now doing an anniversary sale for their first year in their new location.

Jessika: Good Lord. Where has the time gone? So this is issue number one of Howard Chaykin's, American Flagg Special. That's Flagg with two Gs

published November, 1986. The year of my birth titled Time Square.

And that's time with a a two

Mike: I have a trade paperback of Times Squared somewhere on my shelf. I haven't read it yet. I picked it up like from a thrift shop somewhere. I. But it's by Howard Chaykin, so I'm wondering if this is part of that.

Jessika: I think it might be. I think it might be. Yeah. So Rick Oliver was the editorial director, Rick [00:19:00] Obadaiah, publisher. Laurel Fitch was the editorial coordinator. Alex Wald was the art director, and Rick Taylor was the production manager. And we start the issue off with A cat napping.

Literally a man dressed like Santa grabs a cat, puts it in a bag and runs away with it.

Mike: No. Santa

Jessika: yes, Santa did. Yes, Santa did it. He sure did.

This is witnessed by a man wearing a blue hero suit with red and white stripes on the open collar. The hero of our story, Ruben Flagg, two Gs. He notes how strange it is that it happens to be the 4th of July and this guy is wearing a Santa suit and then his colleague gets what looks like a giant spit wad to the face, which it didn't really look like that, if you know what I mean.

Mike: Right.

Jessika: With a note telling Flagg to dress in normal, but warm clothes and join the conga line that was forming [00:20:00] for the 4th of July party as you do.

Mike: I guess, I don't know.

Jessika: So he joins the line and while he's going through the conga line, he falls through a manhole and he falls for like a couple of minutes, but he lands on his feet and he's like, that's weird.

He finds himself in this strange place and it, and it was cold. So Santa pulls him out of danger as some men had been trying to shoot them. And stuns the men with a ray gun, pulls the sand suit off to reveal someone who very closely resembles the monopoly man,

Mike: Okay.

Jessika: and his name is Cosmo and he's, so, he takes Ruben, or we'll just call him Flag.

He takes flag to a place dubbed Times Squared, which is like an alternate version of Times Square.

And

he's introduced to other It is. I know. I thought so too. So he's introduced to other folks [00:21:00] as they zip through town and in this car, like fearing for his fucking life. In that car, he gets a glimpse of Shalamar, who is Cosmos fiance, and there is some unsavory talk about how she hasn't just been around the block.

She built it. So we find out that he's in a totally different place where time works differently as it's explained to him that it's like Christmas time, not the 4th of July, like it is where he's from. So we also get the lowdown about the ransom notes that have been going around and the string of safes that have been broken into.

We also get a shot of a kosher butcher where there are a couple of people like arguing vaguely, which will come up later. So Sha Chala bars is meeting with this guy named Fabio and is paying him for him to give her something. But we we're not really told at that point yet. the cat's there and we're also getting active thought Buggles from the cat, like the cat is like making some moves, plan to get the fuck out of there.[00:22:00]

Mike: Okay.

Jessika: He jumps down and pushes a glove onto his paw, allowing him to basically have one hand and he threatens one of the men shouting at them to get the guy in charge on the phone. He's like pointing a gun in this guy's face,

this fucking cat right. Just random looking, just normal cat. So Fabio's phone rings and Shalamar shoots him taking away his pills that he had been about to take, and she leaves the room slamming the door behind her.

The henchman find Fabio dead in the kosher deli he owned. And Fabio's sister, Aunt Rose starts shooting at all of them, causing them to back down. Aunt Rose is kind of a badass

Mike: I can get behind this.

Jessika: Right? Exactly. So they go and find the cat who still has a gun aimed in the face of one of the men.

But he jumps into Flagg's arms when they get there. Aunt [00:23:00] Rose just starts taking care of the situation and another guy enters the scene, a real Voldemort type with like a melted off face and no nose. But he is apparently one of the, the good guys I guess. And we finally got some scenes of them walking into the distance of Time Squared, presumably to go home after their success in fighting their missing kitty.

So this was definitely not what I thought it was gonna be when I first picked it up. Like it went in wild directions. I did not expect, I really thought there was gonna be more like America Grunt, you know, like, but that wasn't really the vibe. It was kind of just like interesting and sometimes comical and the talking cat with a glove pulling a gun on someone that sent me, like, here I come outer space. And what I liked most about this comic is it was super bright. The art was really cool, I [00:24:00] mean, especially when they got into times Squared, all of the like lights and everything, it just was like really neat, like the way that they made the neon look and all of the, the signs and everything to really convey the, the same vibe, um, but just like a little different from Times Squared

or Times Square.

Mike: Yeah. Chaykin's got a really nice art style too. It's very versatile.

Jessika: Yeah.

Mike: he did the art for the world of Krypton comic that we talked

Jessika: Mm. Yeah.

Mike: And then, yeah. And then I've looked at other stuff that he did, which was different from that. It, he's cool. Like, I like a lot of his stuff that he does.

Jessika: Yeah. I, I actually think you might enjoy reading this one, so I'll throw it on the borrow pile for next time I see you.

Mike: Oh, cool. Looking forward to

it.

Jessika: Well, sounds like that was our episode. we will have another deep dive this next week. Can we confidently say, is that Beauty and the Beast next?

Mike: Yeah.

Jessika: All right, well we [00:25:00] are gonna be talking about Marvels Limited series from 1984 to 1985, Beauty and the Beast. So that'll be fun.

And then we'll have

Mike: I don't know about that.

Jessika: Um, it'll be something

it'll

Mike: thoughts about that series.

Jessika: I also do, I do as well. And then after that we're gonna have another dollar bin discovery, and then we're gonna talk about another beauty and the beast. Cuz listen my friends, we went down a rabbit hole. We sure did.

Totally different beauty and the beast.

So yeah. So yeah, get your, uh, get your fairytale, fairytale hats on and join us. But you know, until then, we will 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 Jessika Frazer and edited by Mike Thompson. Our intro theme was written and performed by Jared Emerson [00:26:00] 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 Look Mom draws.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 Tencent, takes all one word. Jessika is Jessikawitha, and Jessika is spelled with a K, and Mike is Vansau, v A n s A U.

You can also find us on Instagram, Mastodon, Facebook, TikTok, and Blue Sky. A full list of our socials will be listed in the show notes.

Jessika: If you'd like to support us, 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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