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Adventures of Jack Burton

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Adventures of Jack Butron: Big Trouble in Merrie Olde England Adventures of Jack Burton
Big Trouble in Merrie Olde England

Novel
Written by Matthew J. Elliott
With illustrations by Jonas Scharf
Cover illustration by Robert Sammelin
December 2017

 

Jack and friends are embroiled in Arthurian legend when they arrive in England.

 

Notes from the Jack Burton chronology

 

This novel takes place not long after the events of Big Trouble in Mother Russia. At the end of that novel, Jack and friends are rescued from the wastes of Antarctica by a British nuclear submarine whose captain wants their help in fighting a werewolf. As our current novel opens, the sub is dropping our heroes off in England, having defeated the werewolf in the interim in an untold story.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Jack Burton

David Lo Pan (mentioned only, deceased)

Wang Chi

Miao Yin (mentioned only)

Wing Kong

Gracie Law

Chang Sing (mentioned only)

Egg Shen

Three Storms (mentioned only, deceased, except for Lightning)

Thunder (mentioned only, deceased)

Lightning

Rip Taylor (mentioned only)

Henry Swanson (mentioned only)

Valentina (mentioned only)

Klokoe (mentioned only)

Captain Gevaudan

Petty Officer Talbot (mentioned only)

Lord Malcolm Morgause

Morgana Morgause

Felix Kingfisher (MI5 director, codename Wart)

Pete (mentioned only)

Min Lo Chan

J. Hardin (mentioned only)

Selina (ITN reporter)

Pellinor

Margo Litzenberger

Eddie Lee

Purry Mason (mentioned only)

Gerald

Mulberry

Roddy (Sir Roderick)

Uncle Chu (mentioned only)

Derek (mentioned only, editor-in-chief and/or publisher of the Berkley People's Herald)

Bobby (Derek's cousin)

Glatisant

Colonel Hesketh-Fletcher

Sergeant Dugdale

Spectral Sisterhood (mentioned only)

Genevieve Bulstrode (mentioned only)

Sir Godfrey Bulstrode (mentioned only, father of Genevieve Bulstrode)

Countess Isabella Scarletina (mentioned only)

Henrietta Crumb (mentioned only)

Samantha (mentioned only)

Irma Burton (mentioned only, deceased)

Clyde

Grammy Evangeline (mentioned only, presumably deceased) 

 

 

 

Didja Know?

 

The full title of this novel is Big Trouble in Little China Illustrated Novel: Big Trouble in Merrie Olde England. It was published by BOOM! Studios, the same company that published the 25-issue Big Trouble in Little China comic book series from 2014-2016.

 

The title of each chapter in the book is from a line of dialog or other text in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

Didja Notice?

 

On the cover, the image of Jack has him wearing a tank top that looks like the one he wore in Big Trouble in Little China. But notice that the image printed on the shirt has been reversed. The interior illustrations are correct, however.
Jack Burton Big Trouble in Merrie Olde England
Jack's tank top in Big Trouble in Little China Jack's tank top with reversed image

 

The book is disrespectfully dedicated to Douglas Q. Weinberger of Hell, Michigan with "He knows what he did." In Big Trouble in Mother Russia, we learned that Weinberger was on Jack's shit list for unspecified reasons. Weinberger is also mentioned by Jack on page 41 of this novel.

 

Chapter I: That's How it Always Begins

 

The illustration on page 10 is a montage of people and things from Big Trouble in Mother Russia, the previous novel in the series. The man near the bottom-left corner appears to be comedian Rip Taylor, about whom Jack boasted of having beaten in an arm-wrestling contest. Jack thinks back on that moment with Taylor in the lunchroom of a Sears again on page 14 and that the man had revealed the pseudonym he used when writing to Penthouse Forum, a companion periodical to the pornographic magazine Penthouse.

 

On page 11, Jack speaks of the Buddhist religion and Nirvana. "Nirvana" is the state of perfect freedom and the release from the cycle of birth, life, and death in Buddhism.

 

Also on page 11, Jack disputes the aphorism "Don't judge a book by its cover", feeling it's a smack in the chops to literature's greatest illustrators such as Paget, Shepherd, Casagrande, and Scharf. He is referring to Sidney Paget (1860-1908), E. H. Shepard (1879-1976), Elena Casagrande, and Jonas Scharf. Paget and Shepard are famed British book illustrators. Elena Casagrande provided the interior illustrations (though not the cover) of Big Trouble in Mother Russia, while Jonas Scharf provides the interior illustrations of our current novel (though, again, not the cover).

 

On page 11 again, Jack states, "Talking figuratively is for pussies and Democrats." "Democrats" is a reference to the left-leaning Democrat political party of the United States. Jack is a confirmed Republican, as previously seen in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

Jack makes a derogatory reference to Detroit, Michigan on page 11. In Big Trouble in Mother Russia, he is said to have vowed to never visit two places in the world: Detroit and the USSR.

 

On pages 11-14, Jack describes portions of his adventure in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

On page 12, Jack mentions an ex-wife in Vegas who had extra-long fingernails on each pinky. Long pinky nails have been associated with being used to snort cocaine from, especially in the 1980s when this story takes place.

 

Jack eats a sandwich made from cheese and Marmite and drinks a can of Tizer.

 

On page 12, Jack reveals that two of his ex-wives put a gun to his head.

 

On page 13, Jack criticizes Lo Pan's riding down a fancy escalator as an entrance to his own wedding (in Big Trouble in Little China) and remarks, "Can you imagine something as piss-poor as riding an escalator on your way to a massively important function? That's how you know the guy was a world-class loser." This is likely a reference to current U.S. president Donald Trump's ride on a golden escalator to announce his candidacy for office in 2015, about 30 years after Jack's remarks.

 

Also on page 13, Jack refers to a clinch he had with Gracie in Antarctica. This took place at the end of Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

On page 14, Jack finishes his Tizer, wishing it was a fifth of Bushmill.

 

Jack tries to name the Three Storms (from Big Trouble in Little China) on page 14, getting Thunder and Lightning correct, but calling the third Pestilence. The actual third storm was Rain. It seems he is confusing the Three Storms with the Biblical Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death).

 

On pages 14-15 , Jack describes his adventure in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

On page 15, Jack proclaims himself a trend-setter in hair couture. This is likely a reference to his mullet haircut.

 

Jack, Wang, and Gracie arrive in England on the Resolution-class nuclear submarine HMS Sue Lawley. The Resolution-class submarines were real world nuclear subs in the UK's Royal Navy from 1968-1996, though there was never one called the HMS Sue Lawley. Sue Lawley (1946-) is a British news broadcaster.

 

Page 16 mentions Buckingham Palace. Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the British king/queen.

 

On page 16, Jack remarks of himself and his friends, "We're like McNuggets, not at our best when we're cold." "McNuggets" refers to Chicken McNuggets, a battered and deep-fried processed chicken food served at the McDonald's fast food chain.

 

Jack sophomorically remarks to Captain Gevaudan on page 16, "...I know Gracie enjoyed being surrounded by seamen," and that the motto of the Royal Naval Submarines is "We Come Unseen." He is equating "seamen" with "semen" and the RNS motto with the slang term "come" or "cum", again, meaning semen. "We Come Unseen" is the actual motto of the UK's Royal Navy Submarine Service.

 

Captain Gevaudan drops Jack and friends off in Portsmouth, England.

 

On page 17, Jack reflects on an injury he sustained while restraining the "vulpine Petty Officer Talbot". This refers to the untold adventure he and his friends experienced aboard the submarine between Big Trouble in Mother Russia and now. Considering the submarine adventure involved confronting a werewolf and the fact that "vulpine" means "fox-like", does this mean that Jack was bitten by the werewolf? If so, this traditionally means he will transform into a werewolf during the next full moon! So far, this has not been explored in any subsequent Jack Burton stories.

 

    When Jack and his friends arrive in Portsmouth, an ITN camera crew is there to film them. Jack boasts to the ITN crew that this is his second time on television. His first was an appearance in a non-speaking role on the 1979-1980 TV series Kate Loves a Mystery, as revealed in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

   On pages 181-182, Jack recalls the role, a rapist. Our current novel reveals that it was episode 9 of the series in which he appeared; this would make it the episode titled "The Valley Strangler", no rapist involved as far as I can tell. 

 

The character of Lord Malcolm Morgause of the British Houses of Parliament is a fictitious member.

 

On page 18, Lord Malcolm chastises his mother for dragging him out of chamber in the middle of his rousing speech about the Falklands. This is a reference to the Falkland Islands War between Argentina and the United Kingdom in 1982. It's a bit perplexing why he would have been giving a speech about that particular war since it occurred about 4 years before the events of this novel (from what is presumed of the Jack Burton timeline, that Big Trouble in Little China takes place around 1985-86).

 

Lord Malcolm has a low opinion of television except for nature documentaries on BBC2.

 

Page 19 introduces Felix Kingfisher. The name is a play on the Fisher King of Arthurian legend.

 

On page 19, the name of the lawyer Egg Shen made statements to at the beginning of Big Trouble in Little China is revealed to be J. Hardin. The actor who portrayed the lawyer in that film was Jerry Hardin! The lawyer was referred to only as Pinstripe Lawyer in the film's closing credits.

 

Page 19 reveals that Jack's middle name is Cornelius.

 

Gracie expresses her gratitude to the Royal Navy Submarine Service and refers to the "Special Relationship" in action. The U.S. and U.K. are often said to have a Special Relationship of cooperation in international matters. The term came into use after U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill used it in a speech in 1946.

 

In Portsmouth, Jack and the rest are put on a train bound for London.

 

Page 20 introduces Pellinor, another reference to Arthurian legend. King Pellinor was said to be on an endless hunt for the Questing Beast. The Questing Beast itself appears later in this novel.

 

On page 20, Kingfisher's screen is switched off and covered by the sliding portrait of MI5's founder. MI5 is a counter-intelligence agency in the United Kingdom, founded in 1909 by Major-General Sir Vernon Kell.

 

Page 20 reveals that Margo's as-yet unpublished book Big Trouble in Little China is to be published by Simon & Schuster. On page 23, she is already thinking of a sequel to the book, tentatively titled Big Trouble in Merrie Olde England, the very name of this novel! She later publishes several other "Big Trouble in..." books as well, as revealed in "Encino Man".

 

Chapter II: We May Be Trapped

 

Page 21 mentions Gracie's cat, Purry Mason, first mentioned in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

On page 23, Margo reflects on Eddie getting them both lost in Soho, an entertainment district in the city of Westminster.

 

Also on page 23, Eddie and Margo watch The Benny Hill Show on TV. The Benny Hill Show is a comedy sketch show known for its slapstick, often sexist, humor that ran from 1955-1991 in the UK and syndicated throughout the world.

 

After watching Benny Hill, Margo and Eddie visit London's own Chinatown.

 

On page 24, Margo spots a McDonald's in Chinatown.

 

Gracie tells Wang she would have liked to visit Trafalgar Square while in London. She does, in fact, race through there a bit later in the book.

 

On page 26, Jack remarks on his desire for a bottle of Wild Turkey. Wild Turkey is a brand of Kentucky bourbon.

 

On the train, Wang observes a man seemingly covering his face from Wang and his friends with a copy of the Financial Times, a London-based international business and economics newspaper.

 

On page 27, Jack complains about the British food, wishing for even a mulligan stew. Mulligan stew is traditionally a stew made by American hobos (vagrants), who will all contribute whatever food items they have (meat, vegetables, spices, etc.) to a pot of water and boiled over a fire until the ingredients are cooked enough to eat.

 

On page 30, Gracie tells the Wing Kong members that have captured her and her friends that she understands they've just been Shanghaied, then corrects herself and says "kidnapped". The term "Shanghai", meaning forced conscription by intimidation or violence, came into use in the 1800s due to the abduction of sailors to criminal boats, often destined for the port city of Shanghai, China. The term is considered somewhat racist or derogatory towards the Chinese in modern times, hence Gracie's apology.

 

Chapter III: The Most Dangerous Cut-Throat Den of Madmen in Chinatown

 

In Chapter III, Jack and friends face off against strange Venus flytrap-like plants that crawl like snakes and try to eat them. The illustration of the plants at the beginning of the chapter has them looking an awful lot like the Audrey II man-eating plant from the 1986 film version of Little Shop of Horrors.
Wing Kong flytraps Audrey II
Wing Kong flytraps Audrey II

 

On page 35, the train arrives at Waterloo Station. Gracie considers the cage-like structure and busy foot-traffic the second most inhospitable place she'd ever visited after the New Jersey Transit Authority.

 

On page 37, Pellinor insists on Margo and her friends accompanying him to Camden Market, a collection of thousands of stalls and larger markets in Camden Town.

 

Also on page 37, Jack reflects on a recurring dream he'd had about writing a municipal tax code on the back of a cease-and-desist letter from the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading Squad.

 

Jack recalls his recent experiences in a dungeon beneath the Kremlin on page 37. These occurred in Big Trouble in Mother Russia. The Kremlin is the official home of the Russian President.

 

Page 38 reveals that Jack was briefly married to a botanist/car show modelist who was allergic to Turtle Wax.

 

Jack apparently likes Sour Patch Kids.

 

On page 39, Gracie wishes there was an Asian version of the Anti-Italian-American Defamation League. This is likely a joking reference to the American Italian Anti-Defamation League, a political advocacy group in 1967. It may also refer to the parody group called the Anti-Italian-American Defamation League mentioned in an episode of The Simpsons (I can't find which episode that was).

 

Also on page 39, Jack says, "As one shepherd said to the other shepherd, let's get the fucking flock out of here." He seems to be misquoting a joke told by the character of Martin Riggs (actor Mel Gibson) in the 1987 film Lethal Weapon, "What did one shepherd say to the other shepherd? Let's get the flock out of here!", though that film opened a couple years after the events of this novel.

 

On page 40, Gracie reveals that the spell of tongues has worn off of her. Egg had cast the spell on her to enable her to speak numerous languages in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

On page 40, Jack remarks on sending Lo Pan to one of the Chinese 85,000 Hells, but Wang corrects him, "84,000." The 84,000 Hells of Chinese mythology were mentioned in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

Chapter IV: Haulin' Ass

 

The "Haulin' Ass" of this chapter's title comes from the words (accompanied by the iconic trucker's "mud flap girl") on the front grill of the Pork-Chop Express.

 

On page 44, Wang remarks that Jack once chugged an entire bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's on a dare. Mrs. Butterworth's is a brand of pancake syrup.

 

On page 45, Jack again has trouble remembering the correct name of the brothel he infiltrated in Big Trouble in Little China, as he did in Big Trouble in Mother Russia. For those keeping score, it was the White Tiger.

 

Also on page 45, Jack muses on opening a sixer of Pabst. Pabst Blue Ribbon is an American brand of beer.

 

    On page 46, Jack reflects on the only childhood pet he ever had not named Pete, a parakeet called Mr. Whiskers; an ironic name considering birds do not have whiskers. In "The Hell of the Midnight Road", we learned that Jack once had a dog named Pete as kid. In Big Trouble in Mother Russia, Jack states that all of his pets have been named Pete; apparently that is not quite true since we now have him thinking of childhood parakeet Mr. Whiskers.

    Jack also names the hell-beast he adopts in "The Hell of the Midnight Road" Pete.

 

    On page 48, Jack considers emitting a Tarzan yell as he attempts to swing on a line of Chinese lanterns from the top of a building to an alley below. Tarzan, of course, is the world-renowned character created by Edgar Rice Burroughs in 1912, a British boy who was lost in the African jungle and raised by apes; in movies, Tarzan is known for sounding a distinctive yell when rushing into danger, particularly when swinging on a vine.

    Jack falls to the alley floor, hoping he did not wind up looking like a cartoon coyote. This refers to the cartoon character Wile E. Coyote, a Warner Bros. character appearing in Looney Toons and Merrie Melodies cartoons, known for failed attempts to use ingenious gadgets or traps that wind up with him falling hundreds of feet from a cliff to the dusty ground below.

 

On page 49, one of Jack's rescuers is said to wield an automatic weapon of the type Jack had wielded back in the States. In Big Trouble in Little China, Jack wielded an Intratec TEC-9 semi-automatic pistol. He is seen clutching such a gun on the cover of this book.

 

Page 49 states that Jack is not actually that acquainted with firearms, preferring a steering wheel or bottle of Fireball between his fingers. "Fireball" is likely meant to refer to Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. This brand of whiskey was introduced in Canada in 1984.

 

On page 50, Jack says he had an ex-wife who collected the entire run of David's Bridal catalogs. Maybe this is meant to suggest that Jack's then-wife wished she could have had a nicer wedding than the one she had with him.

 

Also on page 50, Jack sees that he and his friends were being held in the Fragrant Lotus Casino in London. This appears to be a fictitious establishment.

 

Wang asks their mysterious driver on page 50 if he knows who killed Kennedy and Gracie makes a retort about who killed Spencer Perceval. "Kennedy" is a reference to the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963. Spencer Perceval was Prime Minister of the UK 1809-1812, just as Gracie states here; Perceval was assassinated by John Bellingham, as stated on page 52.

 

On page 50, Gracie reveals that she is a history buff and Jack remarks that he loves it when she says "buff". He is referring to the slang term "buff" which means "naked".

 

On page 51, Jack quotes, "My life, my love, and my lady is the sea!" This is a line from the 1972 song "Brandy (You're a Fine Girl)" by Looking Glass.

 

Also on page 51, Gracie recognizes the National Gallery as they drive past it.

 

Chapter V: Some Radical Alice in Wonderland

 

Felix Kingfisher is the Comeregulus, or director, of MI5. The title of Comeregulus is fictitious as far as I can tell.

 

On page 55, Kingfisher learns that the car chase through London resulted in damage to the statue of Admiral Nelson, it having been broken in half. The statue is part of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. Admiral Horatio Nelson (1758-1805) was a British naval hero who died in the Battle of Trafalgar.

 

Also on page 55, Kingfisher refers to a figure known as the Trismegistus. Trismegistus is Greek for "thrice-greatest" and is often applied to Hermes Trismegistus, author of the Hermetic Corpus that are the basis of Hermeticism.

 

On page 56, Kingfisher mentions to Mulberry the Loch Ness Monster swimming past Parliament 15 years ago, implying that the incident actually took place but was covered up so effectively that no one heard of it or, if they did, does not recall it. The Loch Ness Monster is an aquatic creature of Scottish folklore and alleged cryptid animal similar to a prehistoric plesiosaurus that is said to live in Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. Even if the creature were real, British Parliament is along the River Thames, not Loch Ness; the creature would have to have been transported there somehow. Given the magical events that occur in the Jack Burton stories, however, all of this becomes plausible!

 

Margo is said to have been aware of Liverpool because of its association with the Beatles. The Beatles were a hugely popular and extremely influential British rock band from the city of Liverpool, active 1960-1970.

 

Pellinor drives a Bentley. Bentley is a manufacturer of British luxury cars.

 

Pellinor likes to talk about a soap opera called The Archers, with Margo wondering how she missed it in the British TV listings. She missed it because The Archers is a radio soap opera, a format no longer broadcasting new shows in the United States. The Archers has been running on a regular schedule in the UK since 1951.

 

On page 58, Pellinor points through the horse stalls with his brolly. "Brolly" is a British term for "umbrella". Eddie thinks the British term for "umbrella" is "bumbershoot", a somewhat common misconception. "Bumbershoot" is a humorous term invented in the U.S. as a likely slang term the British would use; the term is largely unknown in the UK.

 

On page 58, Pellinor leads Margo and Eddie into Roddy's Rare Records (which has a secret entrance to an underground MI5 base). This appears to be a fictitious business in Camden, possibly a reference to the eponymous store in the 2014 British comedy TV movie Rudy's Rare Records.

 

Eddie asks Roddy if he has any Mandopop and Roddy responds, "Only Na Ying, Jaycee Chan, and Baby Zhang...expecting some Della Ding Dang on Tuesday." Mandopop is Mandarin pop music and the performers mentioned by Roddy are all real people.

 

On page 59, Margo reflects on the British propensity to refer to the subway as the tube. The London Underground rapid transit system is colloquially referred as the Tube. 

 

On page 60, Pellinor leads Margo and Eddie through a hallway lined with painted portraits, explaining that they are his illustrious predecessors. One of the portraits is described as a that of a man so unhappy his lips were curved almost into a snarl and who wore a black jacket with white piping and a large badge of a penny-farthing bicycle. The man's description seems to be that of Number 6 from the 1967-1968 British television series The Prisoner! Number 6 was a British government agent who had angrily resigned his position and is subsequently abducted and forced to live within the boundaries of a bizarre, unnamed village. Number 6

 

On page 61, Margo is reminded of Sebastian Cabot when she first sees the black-bearded Kingfisher. Cabot (1918-1977) was a British actor, best known in the U.S. for his role as valet Giles French on the 1966-1971 American sitcom Family Affair.

 

On page 63, Eddie and Kingfisher discuss the formation of MI5 in 1909 prior to WWI by Major-General Sir Vernon Kell. This is correct, though Kingfisher here proclaims that it is much older and was originally known as the Knights of the Round Table in King Arthur's Camelot. In Arthurian legend, the Knights of the Round Table were responsible for the protection of the kingdom. Camelot was the name of King Arthur's castle and the name is often extended to describe his entire kingdom (Britain).

 

Chapter VI: Keep the Home Fires Burning

 

Discussing Admiral Horatio Nelson on page 65, Jack asks, "...who names their kid Horatio anyway? Isn't that some kind of sex thing?" He is mistaking "Horatio" for the fellatio, the act of oral sex performed on a man's penis.

 

On page 66, Jack thinks, All incarceration and no play made Jack a dull boy. The proverb "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy," has been known in the English-speaking world since at least 1659.

 

On page 67, Wang explains to Jack that he's watching football on TV, but Jack refuses to acknowledge it as football. The game on the television is what is referred to in the U.S. as soccer (called football most everywhere else in the world).

 

Also on page 67, Wang thinks of himself as possibly a nosey S.O.B. (son of a bitch).

 

On page 68, Gracie remarks on her and Jack's recent past, "Boy meets girl, boy abandons girl, boy and girl are reunited in Russia before being taken against their will to Antarctica and transported via werewolf-infested submarine to England," and Jack responds, "Yeah, that does sound like something they already did on Dynasty." Dynasty was a 1981-1989 prime-time television soap opera.

 

On page 69, Eddie tells Gracie that Margo went to see Cats. Cats is a 1981 musical stage play by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

 

Kingfisher says that John Dee had been his organization's expert on all things wizardly until he died in 1607. John Dee is an actual historical figure who was an advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and a scholar of science and magic. He is mostly commonly stated to have died in 1608 or '09, not '07.

 

On page 71, Jack and friends discuss the legendary sword in the stone, Excalibur or Caliburn. Excalibur is the sword won and wielded by King Arthur in legend.

 

Chapter VII: Stirring the Pot

 

Page 75 reveals that Jack once ate an entire box of Fiddle Faddle.

 

Also on page 75, Gracie likens Jack's current expression to that of a Golden Retriever who has just listened to a reading of the works of Virginia Woolf. Woolf (1882-1941) was a British writer. The reference here to a Golden Retriever is probably meant to evoke Woolf's 1933 book Flush: A Biography, told from the point of view of a cocker spaniel.

 

Jack describes his hair style as "party in the front, party in the back." The quote that is usually heard to describe the mullet is "business in the front, party in the back", due to it being cut short to the front and sides and long in the back.

 

When Kingfisher tells his guests about the search for Excalibur on page 76, Eddie remarks that he saw the movie with Helen Mirren. Mirren is a renowned British actress. She appeared in the 1981 film Excalibur.

 

Kingfisher states that there are many forgeries of Excalibur in the world, just as there are of the One True Cross, the Holy Grail, and the Spear of Destiny. The One True Cross, the Holy Grail, and the Spear of Destiny are all alleged holy relics relating to the crucifixion of Christ.

 

Kingfisher states that the Wing Kong had possession of Excalibur and the stone for almost 100 years. The criminal organization used their possession of them to blackmail the British authorities to leave them alone and go after their rivals like the Si-Fan and Red Dragon tongs. Si-Fan is the name of a fictitious tong in the Fu Manchu novels by Sax Rohmer. Red Dragon is another fictitious tong from the 1961 British film The Terror of the Tongs.

 

On page 77, Kingfisher tells Eddie and Margo that Excalibur was forged by Myrddin (Merlin) on the islet of Avalon. In Arthurian legend, Excalibur is not normally said to have been forged by Merlin, but by an elfin sword smith. The Isle of Avalon is where the sword is often said to have been forged, though the island is fictitious or its location lost.

 

Just as Kingfisher states on page 77, Merlin is considered to have been imprisoned somewhere by Queen Nimue or else dead. Queen Nimue is also known as the Lady of the Lake in Arthurian legend.

 

On page 78, Kingfisher mentions Thomas Malory. Malory (1415-1471) was the British author of Le Morte d'Arthur, the most well-known version of the Arthurian legend in modern times.

 

Chapter VIII: Many Mysteries, Many Unanswerable Questions

 

    On page 83, Margo reflects on her intention to someday scatter her mother's ashes on the stage of the Broadway Theater during the performance of Memories in Cats. Presumably, Memories is meant to be "Memory", a song in the musical.

    Margo once tried to do a dry-run of the act with a shoebox of Gold Bond Medicated Powder. 

 

Margo is said to have formerly worked at the Berkley People's Herald. This appears to be a fictitious newspaper, probably meant to be local to the city of Berkeley, known to be one of the most socially liberal cities in the U.S., on San Francisco Bay.

 

On page 84, Margo is considering seeing the Singaporean version of Starlight Express. Starlight Express is a 1984 rock musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Richard Stilgoe.

 

On page 86, Margo sees a moment of Coronation Street on the television and sees a view of a city "even more depressing than Gary, Indiana." Coronation Street is a British television soap opera. The city of Gary, Indiana does have a reputation as being on the decline, with high poverty, high crime, and high political corruption.

 

Lord Malcolm Morgause wears an Armani jacket. He is a member of Parliament for Wyvern South. He also holds a seat on the National Security Council. Wyvern South appears to be a fictitious district in the UK, the name "Wyvern" probably borrowed from that of a legendary dragon-like creature in British myth (which later appears in the novel). Lord Malcolm is presumably a descendant of Morgause, the mother of Gawain and Mordred in some versions of Arthurian legend.

 

Page 88 mentions the British pop band Duran Duran and a couple of its members, for which Margo gains backstage passes for a concert at the Hammersmith Odeon (officially the Eventim Apollo). Andy Taylor, who has a similar hairstyle to Lord Malcolm, is a former guitarist for the band. Simon Le Bon is the band's lead singer.

 

On page 88, Margo recalls that Eddie once talked about Duran Duran before wandering onto the subject of Barbarella and why he'd never made it past the title sequence. Barbarella is a 1968 science-fiction satire film about a sexy young female agent of the United Earth government; the title sequence features the eponymous character slowly stripping off her spacesuit in weightlessness until she is nude. The band Duran Duran got its name from a character in the film, Dr. Durand Durand.

 

On page 89, the song "Rio" is one of Duran Duran's most successful singles. The songs "Girls on Film" and "Notorious" on page 90 are also actual songs by the band.

 

Also on page 89, Margo reflects on her high school's production of Cabaret. Cabaret is a 1966 musical play.

 

Margo notices that Lord Malcolm has uneven teeth. The British are often considered to have bad teeth, especially in the U.S. Whether this is really any more true for Brits than it is for other western nationalities has been a point of cultural debate.

 

On page 90, Lord Malcolm says the English have only heard of The New York Times and Washington Post as far as American newspapers.

 

Lord Malcolm tells his chauffer to take him and Margo back to Kensington on page 90. Kensington is a district of West London.

 

The chauffer's name of Glatisant is from that of a monster in Arthurian legend, also known as a Questing Beast. Glatisant later transforms into the beast, with the head of a snake and body of a leopard, later in the novel.

 

Glatisant is said to suffer from ichthyosis. Ichthyosis is a genetic skin disorder causing dry, scaly skin.

 

Chapter IX: From Here On, It Gets Pretty Normal

 

Wang begins to develop an appreciation for Tottenham Hotspur. This is a professional football (soccer) team in the London district of Tottenham.

 

    On page 94, Wang finally realizes their quarters are bugged and thinks, "the penny, or whatever the English equivalent might be, dropped." The phrase "the penny dropped" is an idiom used in some British-related countries to mean "a sudden realization."

    The English equivalent of a penny is a penny, the smallest denomination of currency. The American penny is actually the American cent; "penny" is borrowed from the British term!

 

Jack and Min Lo Chan both think the movie Breaker, Breaker, starring Chuck Norris is the best trucker movie ever made. Breaker! Breaker! is a 1977 action film starring Norris as a truck driver.

 

    Jack asks for the Pork-Chop Express to be shipped from the U.S. to England before beginning the adventure of searching for Margo, saying, "Batman's not anything without his trademark vehicle, and damn it, I'm the same."

    Batman is a super-hero character appearing in DC comic books (and other media). He drives a tricked-out vehicle called the Batmobile.

 

Chapter X: These Guys Are Animals

 

On page 101, Margo wonders if Harrods is in Kensington. Harrods is the largest department store in Europe, located in the upper-class residential and retail Knightsbridge district of London, which extends partly into the Kensington district.

 

On page 102, Margo thinks that Lord Malcolm's townhouse looks like the kind of English country manor that would be seen on PBS. PBS is the Public Broadcasting Service of the United States; it is known for showing many shows imported from England.

 

On page 103, Margo thinks that if the amorous Lord Malcolm were wearing a fez with a tassel, it might be sexy in an ironic New Romantic way. New Romantic was a pop culture movement of the late 1970s in England, emphasizing eccentric fashion.

 

Page 105 mentions a story broken by Margo some time back, involving teens huffing behind the local Cracker Barrel. Currently, there is no Cracker Barrel franchise in Berkeley or the San Francisco area. I'm not sure if there might have been one in the 1980s when this story takes place. The closest location at this time is over 60 miles away in Sacramento.

 

In Lord Malcolm's townhouse, Margo finds the bust of a woman that is also a hidden switch for a hidden door into a small room. She is reminded of an old TV show where the main character had a bust of Shakespeare that opened a hidden door leading to...somewhere she couldn't remember. Shakespeare refers to William Shakespeare (1564-1616), widely considered the greatest writer in the English language. The show Margo is thinking of is the 1966-1968 Batman series; the Shakespeare bust opened a door revealing two fireman's poles (the bat poles) leading down to the Batcave.

 

On page 106, Margo reflects that her family could only be traced as far back as the founder of Pittsburgh's first industrial pig farm in the early 1900s.

 

Chapter XI: I Lost a Whole Girl!

 

On page 109, Lord Malcolm's mother tells Margo the family is descended from the great Morgan Le Fay. Morgan Le Fay is a witch in Arthurian legend, some versions also calling her Arthur's half-sister.

 

On page 111, Lord Malcolm's mother reminds him that the Beltane ceremony is coming up soon and will require a sacrifice, for which Margo would be perfect. Beltane is a word for the Gaelic May Day festival, typically held on May 1 to honor the midway point between spring equinox and summer solstice. Ancient traditions may have involved a mock human sacrifice, but actual human sacrifice is unknown in the history of the ritual in current scholastics.

 

On page 112, Jack mentions Bud Light.

 

On page 114, Gracie reflects on a time she got drunk and sang a rendition of John Cougar Mellencamp's "R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A." This is an actual 1985 hit single by Mellencamp.

 

Chapter XII: She's a Wildcat

 

On page 120, Kingfisher claims that MI5 is also the Knights of the Round Table.

 

Chapter XIII: If We're Not Back by Dawn

 

On page 127, Gracie listens to Margo's description of the Questing Beast and thinks it might be a chimera. But she is incorrect, as a chimera is generally said in mythology to have the body of a lion, the head of a goat rising from its back, and a tail ending in a snake's head.

 

When she first sees the Questing Beast on page 128, Gracie exclaims, "Oh, Sugar Honey Iced Tea." This is a polite way of saying "shit".

 

On page 129, Gracie is said to have sworn off ever again drinking Egg's energy juice in addition to home-brewed kombucha. Kombucha is a fermented green tea mixed with cultures of bacteria and yeast.

 

Chapter XIV: Are You Crazy, Is That Your Problem?

 

On page 133, Lord Malcolm's mother tells him to come inside to have his breakfast Weetabix.

 

When he sees Lord Malcolm and his mother hugging, their neighbor Colonel Hesketh-Fletcher sees them and grumbles, "So that's how it is in that family." This may be a reference by the author to a scene in the 1986 film Ferris Bueller's Day Off in which the principal of Ferris' high school sees student Sloane Peterson (Ferris' girlfriend) kissed on the lips by a man who is supposedly her father (actually Ferris in disguise) and says the same thing.

 

On page 134, Morgana uses the phrase "lose a stone" in reference to weight. A "stone" is an English unit of mass, equal to 14 pounds.

 

Chapter XV: Does That Sound Like a Great Idea, or What?

 

After the Questing Beast is burned to death in the fire, Kingfisher arranges for one of his knights to remove the body from the house and store it away from the meddlesome eyes of cryptozoologists. A cryptozoologist is one who studies the evidence of cryptid animals, i.e. animals of folklore who are not believed to exist in reality by mainstream science.

 

On page 138, Jack and his crew watch a Hercules C-123 land at the private airfield. It seems the author (or maybe just Jack?) has confused the Fairchild C-123 Provider for a Hercules C-130 (slightly similar in design).

 

Seeking snacks, Jack is disappointed that no British shopkeeper seemed to have heard of Hostess Fruit Pies or Abba-Zaba. In Big Trouble in Little China, Jack is seen eating an apple fruit pie packaged dessert/snack from a wrapper that looks to be a generic version of Hostess Fruit Pie.

 

Jack states he has a library of Cat Fancy back issues under the driver seat of the Pork-Chop Express. Big Trouble in Mother Russia revealed that this is his second favorite magazine.

 

The Pork-Chop Express is returned to Jack on page 138, last seen by him parked outside the Izraya Shipping Company in San Francisco; this was in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

On page 139, Jack and Egg are said to have been tighter than Heather Locklear's jeans during the Chinatown adventure. Locklear is a popular American actress, known for numerous television roles.

 

Egg and Min discuss The Water Margin and Monkey on pages 139-140. These are both Japanese TV shows from the 1970s based on Chinese novels.

 

On page 140, Jack says he has been working on getting an Aspen condo. He is probably referring to the ski resort town of Aspen, Colorado.

 

On page 142, Min says that Genevieve Bulstrode worked at the V. & A. as curator of the Pagan Beliefs Exhibit. V. & A. refers to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

 

On page 143, Min explains that Dr. Bulstrode had Myrddin's laboratory moved from Carmarthen to London. Carmarthen (Welsh for "Merlin's fort") is a town in Carmarthenshire county, Wales.

 

When asked by Egg if he knows the legend of King Arthur, Jack responds that he has seen the Disney movie (well, most of it). He must be referring to the 1963 animated film The Sword in the Stone.

 

In Merlin's laboratory cave on page 144, a cup emblazoned with the image of a red devil and the slogan "Manchester United 4Ever" and autographed by George Best is found. Manchester United is a professional football (soccer) team in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, England, nicknamed the Red Devils. George Best (1946-2005) played with the team at the beginning of his career.

 

Chapter XVI: Guide My Hand

 

On page 147, Jack claims that he was born behind the wheel, literally. He also claims that his father wanted him to go to refrigeration school, rather than follow in his footsteps as Professor of Comparative Anthropology at Princeton University (his father's vocation was first revealed in Big Trouble in Mother Russia).

 

Jack tells briefly of a time he was hired to haul a container filled with E.T. video games out to the desert and just leave them there. This is a reference to the 1982 E.T. video game cartridge for the Atari 2600 game system that was so poorly reviewed and sold so badly, that tens or hundreds of thousands of copies were buried at a landfill (along with other unsold Atari product) in Alamogordo, New Mexico.

 

On page 148, Jack says that the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial was so schmaltzy, he has had a very low opinion of anybody named Elliott ever since. Elliott is the name of the boy who befriends E.T. in the film; it is also the last name of the author of his novel.

 

Jack asks for a Triple-A map of England on page 148. Min responds, "We just call it AA in England." AAA is the American Automobile Association. The similar organization in England is just the Automobile Association. Jack's confusion when Min says it's just AA in England is towards the international fellowship called Alcoholics Anonymous, commonly referred to as AA.

 

When Min tells Jack that there are quite a few U.S. Army bases in England, Jack gets a little choked up and says, "May the wings of liberty never lose a feather." He made this same statement in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

On page 149, Jack reflects that Lord Malcolm's house is not as big as the Taj Mahal.

 

On page 150, Jack muses that, if it weren't for his American accent, he'd just march into Lord Malcolm's house pretending to be with the phone company. He pretended to be with the phone company to gain access to the Wing Kong Exchange in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

Gracie recalls a day when she received a Gorillagram intended for someone else, congratulating her on a successful hysterectomy. A gorillagram is similar to a singing telegram, but performed by an actor in a gorilla suit; there was formerly a company called Gorilla Gram Inc. in the early 1980s.

 

Chapter XVII: The Naked Blade

 

On page 153, Egg reminds Jack of something he once told him: "Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own." But Jack doesn't recall him saying this before at all, remarking, “I have literally no recollection of that, it's like I deleted that scene from my memory somehow.” The scene where Egg first told Jack this was cut from the film Big Trouble in Little China, but can be found in the deleted scenes bonus material on the Special Edition DVD release of the film. Here in the novel, Egg explains away Jack's memory loss as due to a concussion he may have received from the falling ceiling tiles that knocked him out earlier in that film.

 

On page 154, Jack tells Egg he once lied to impress a woman that he held the world record for beer pong only to find that Guinness does record such achievements.

 

On page 155, Jack thinks the interior of Lord Malcolm's house (and probably every house in England) is like a Double Tree Inn, but somehow even fancier.

 

Jack spies a suit of all black armor in a case in Lord Malcolm's house. The Black Knight is a villainous character in Arthurian legend.

 

On page 157, Lord Malcolm comes face-to-face with Jack and declares, "You're that idiot who was on the news! Dick Barton!" Obviously, he got Jack's name wrong; it's possible he mixed it up with that of the eponymous British radio show character on Dick Barton--Special Agent which ran from 1946-1951.

 

Page 158 mentions Dixie Beer.

 

Chapter XVIII: Like the Wind

 

Wielding Excalibur, Jack fights against the Black Knight, cutting off the knights limbs one-by-one. This is an homage to the battle between Arthur and the Black Knight in the 1975 comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which the Black Knight loses his limbs one-by-one, refusing to acknowledge any serious injury until he is limbless, then only conceding, "All right. We'll call it a draw."

 

On page 163, Jack muses that Maslow's hierarchy of needs did not place enough emphasis on the need to get the hell out of Dodge. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is a psychological theory of what motivates human behavior.

 

Also on page 163, Jack reflects on the time he forgot his wallet after consuming the Sabana de Invierno at the Señor Frog's in Puerto Rico. Sábana de Invierno is a Mexican flattened steak served with traditional Mexican toppings.

 

On page 164, Jack says his mom was champion of the female and male wrestling circuit in Franklin, PA six years running...and she could play the accordion. Big Trouble in Mother Russia revealed that Jack's mom was named Irma Burton. Franklin is a real city in PA.

 

On page 167, Morgana tells her son she is summoning the razor-winged Alerion. The Alerion is a mythological bird somewhat similar to the phoenix or firebird myths.

 

Chapter XIX: The Wings of Liberty

 

Page 169 records that Jack paused his search for Excalibur long enough to find a place in London that served chicharones. Chicharrón is an Hispanic dish of fried pork belly.

 

Page 169 also records that Jack likes to stock up on Kraft Macaroni and Cheese.

 

On page 170 the side of the Pork-Chop Express' cab is sheared away by the Alerion's wings. The damage is not seen in later stories.

 

On page 171, Jack refers to the Alerion as Polly. This is a reference to the popular use of "Polly" as a generic name for pet parrots. He later thinks of the Alerion as Big Bird. Big Bird is a towering, yellow bird character on the children's television series Sesame Street.

 

At Wyvern U.S. Army Base on page 172, Egg almost crashes the Pork-Chop Express into a concrete bunker bearing a sign reading "Project Rendlesham". Project Rendlesham itself appears to be fictitious, but is probably a reference to the Rendlesham Forest incident of December 1980, in which a number of U.S. and British military personnel claimed to have seen a landed UFO outside of RAF Bentwaters and RAF Woodbridge in the Rendlesham Forest of England.

 

On page 173, Jack sees that the Alerion has metal feathers and wonders if it's some kind of robot chicken. Possibly, this is a reference to the stop-motion animated sketch comedy TV series called Robot Chicken.

 

One of the towns the Pork-Chop is pursued through is called Cricklewood.

 

On page 174, Jack wonders if England has squirrels. England does, in fact, have wild squirrels, as does much of the rest of the world.

 

Also on page 174, Jack wonders how many servings the Alerion would make at a Thanksgiving meal. Thanksgiving is a holiday for giving thanks for one's blessings in various countries. Jack is thinking specifically of the U.S. holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November each year.

 

On page 175, Jack has unintentionally sliced in half a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Gandhi (1869-1948) was an Indian activist who led a passive resistance movement in India against the British overlords of the country during the first half of the 20th century. The statue mentioned here is the famous one at Tavistock Square in the Bloomsbury district of London.

 

Chapter XX: What the Hell is Gracie Law Doing Here?

 

Page 177 reveals that among Gracie's earliest role models were Mahatma Gandhi and Emily Post. Emily Post (1872-1960) was an American writer, known particularly for her books and columns about etiquette.

 

Page 178 reveals that Miao Yin is fond of Duran Duran.

 

Gracie recalls that Jack admitted he cries over the song "Mr. Bojangles". This was revealed by Jack in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

Page 179 mentions a store called C&A, a department store chain mostly known in Europe.

 

On page 180, Gracie recalls that Jack had told her that the most accommodating waitresses in America were at the Friendly's in Billings, Montana. Friendly's is a restaurant chain, but they exist only on the east coast states.

 

On page 183, Morgana comments that the Alerion had an impeccable C.V. before its death. C.V. stands for curriculum vitae, Latin for "the course of my life". It is an overview, usually written, of one's accomplishments, experiences, or qualifications.

 

Also on page 183, Morgana remarks to her son that there are plenty of myrmidons to call upon to serve them. Myrmidons were a people of Greek mythology evolved from ants by the king of the gods, Zeus.

 

At the end of the chapter, Morgana tells her son they will get some assistance from the Lambton Worm. The Lambton Worm is an English legend of a giant white worm that lives in the vicinity of the River Wear, County Durham which devours livestock.

 

Chapter XXI: Feels Like Down

 

On page 185, Jack's thoughts are disparaging in regards to the safety of the New York City subway system. The city's subway system has a (somewhat) exaggerated reputation for crime within its environs.

 

Also on page 185, the Lambton Worm wakes up deep below Penshaw Hill. Penshaw Hill is a hill in County Durham that is part of the worm legend.

 

On page 186, Jack travels to the Russell Square tube station.

 

Page 187 mentions Walgreen's. Walgreens is an American drug store chain.

 

    On page 187, Jack sees a poster for an upcoming film called Overboard, starring the chick from Laugh-In and a male lead he doesn't recognize. Overboard is a 1987 romantic comedy film starring Goldie Hawn and (Jack Burton himself) Kurt Russell! Goldie Hawn was featured in the sketch comedy TV series Laugh-In from 1968-1970.

    It's a bit odd that Jack doesn't recognize Kurt Russell on the poster considering he later recognizes the actor as the guy who played Snake Plissken when Russell appears on the movie poster for Big Trouble in Little China in "Encino Man".

 

Chapter XXII: Just Thrilled to be Alive

 

On page 191, Jack is excited to think his name will likely make it into the papers, though he'd been in local papers before, usually in regards to an "incident" on the beach at Wildwood, New Jersey.

 

On page 192, Eddie makes a remark that the beer he and Margo could get at the nearby pub may not be cold, but at least it will be beer. English pubs do not traditionally serve beer chilled as it is usually served in the U.S.

 

On page 193, Gracie learns that Jack has been taken to Albion Hospital. This appears to be a fictitious hospital, but may be in reference to the London hospital of that name in several episodes of Doctor Who.

 

On page 196, Egg explains that Diyu is the Chinese realm of the dead. This was previously shared in the study of Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

Reading the papers that Gracie photocopied at the House of Commons, Egg states the keystone was stolen thousands of years ago by the Druids of Thule. The Druids of Thule may be a reference to beings in the Primeval Thule book for the Savage Worlds role-playing game.

 

Chapter XXIII: At Least We Know Where We Stand

 

When Egg squeezes some of his herbal concoction into the drip bag on Jack's wrist, Jack retorts, "I can hear the Popeye theme." This refers to Popeye, a comic strip and cartoon character known to eat spinach to dramatically increase his strength at opportune moments.

 

On page 200, Jack refers to Min as the Karate Kid. This refers to the eponymous character in the 1984 film The Karate Kid.

 

Page 204 compares Gracie's disapproving looks at Jack to collectible Precious Moments figurines.

 

Chapter XXIV: China is Here, Mr. Burton

 

Page 208 mentions Golden Corral meatloaf. Golden Corral is a family steakhouse chain in the U.S.

 

Min says the location of King Arthur's burial is an islet in the Channel Islands called Garth, not appearing on most maps. The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel, though there is no islet of Garth as far as I can tell. Garth was also the brother of Gawain of the Knights of the Round Table in Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.

 

    On page 212, Gerald tells Clyde to get an ordinance survey map of the Channel Islands at Foyle's.

    Gerald also instructs Clyde to ask if Ruth Buzzi's autobiography is back in print yet; Jack pipes up that he has a copy of Buzzi's book in his truck that Gerald can borrow. Jack also refers to the book in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

Jack tells Gerald that his copy of Buzzi's autobiography is signed by Alan Sues. Sues appeared with Buzzi on Laugh-In.

 

Page 213 makes reference to Florence Nightingale. Nightingale (1820-1910) was a British social reformer and the founder of modern nursing.

 

Jack and friends arrive at Canary Wharf on page 213.

 

Chapter XXV: Gimme Your Best Shot, Pal

 

On page 217, Jack reflects on not being able to find volcano burritos in England. This would seem to be a reference to the volcano burrito sold by the Taco Bell fast food chain from 2009 to 2013. Of course, this story takes place long before then, so the author may be using the term in a generic sense, i.e. a burrito with spicier-than-the-normal hot sauce.

 

Also on page 217, Jack hears sounds that sound like "that Jane Fonda workout crap" or maybe "that Jamie Lee Curtis workout crap." Jane Fonda is an actress, activist, and fitness guru who released 22 best-selling workout videos in the 1980s and '90s. Jamie Lee Curtis is an actress and writer, but has never produced a workout video as far as I know; she has also worked with director John Carpenter a number of times.

 

On page 218, Jack fuzzily recalls a horror movie about fog, but can't remember the name of it. He must be thinking of The Fog, a 1980 John Carpenter film starring Jamie Lee Curtis.

 

On page 219, Jack recalls a time he dined on Buffalo Wild Wings and Apple Jacks while watching a gladiator movie.

 

Page 220 reveals that Jack once tasted a urinal cake when he was 14.

 

Jack and friends find the Isle of Avalon to be extremely thick with undergrowth, Gracie commenting, "It's like the Garden of Eden." The Garden of Eden, of course, is the land of paradise created by God for Adam and Eve at the beginning of mankind as described in the holy texts of the Abrahamic religions.

 

On page 223, through the gunshots coming at them from the Wing Kong and fireballs going back from Egg, Jack reflects that Avalon is starting to look like the set of Apocalypse Now. Apocalypse Now is a classic 1979 film set in the Vietnam War; it features a well-known scene in which fighter jets drop loads of napalm on the jungle.

 

On page 224, Lord Malcolm's hair is described as Brylcreemed. Brylcreem is a brand of men's hairstyling products.

 

On page 225, Jack reflects on a Grand Slam Breakfast he got for free at Denny's recently. Denny's, of course, is a diner chain with locations all around the world. One of the chain's most popular and well-known dishes is the Grand Slam Breakfast, made up of two buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, two bacon strips, and two sausage links.

 

Chapter XXVI: Myths and Legends

 

On page 229, Jack thinks that Kingfisher in a white linen suit looks like a villain in a Bogart flick, especially with the cane. This would seem to be a reference to the character of Signor Ferrari (played by Sydney Greenstreet) in the 1942 Humphrey Bogart film Casablanca, an underworld figure dressed in a white suit and carrying a cane.

 

Page 232 mentions General Gleb. He is a Russian General that Jack and friends ran into in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

Also on page 232, Jack says the best of all the Tim Horton's outlets is the one in Glendale, Arizona. However, there was not Tim Hortons in Arizona at all until the Glendale kiosk was opened at Gila River Arena in 2014, long after this story takes place.

 

Chapter XXVII: I Was Born Ready

 

As Kingfisher futilely attempts to lift Excalibur, growing more and more frenetic and aggravated at his failure, Jack is reminded of Yosemite Sam. Yosemite Sam is a cartoon character known for his hair-trigger temper in numerous animated shorts produced by Warner Brothers.

 

On page 237, Jack briefly reflects on his trouble with the Internal Revenue Service.

 

On page 239, Lord Malcolm remarks on the time he tried to speak to Simon Le Bon, but the man was engrossed in reading Melody Maker at the time. Melody Maker was a British weekly music magazine from 1926-1999.

 

Chapter XXVIII: The Pillars of Heaven Shake

 

The illustration on page 240 looks like something of an homage to a classic Star Wars movie poster.
Jack Skywalker Star Wars movie poster

 

On page 241, Jack reflects on a time he swiped a pack of his mother's Old Gold cigarettes and she chastised him for not taking his father's Newports instead. Old Gold and Newport are real world brands of cigarettes.

 

On page 243, Jack thinks of his old teacher Miss Hannigan. Presumably, this is the same fourth-grade geography teacher referred to as "Mrs. Hannigan" in Big Trouble in Mother Russia.

 

Page 243 mentions Space Invaders. Space Invaders is a video game originally released in 1978.

 

On page 244, Jack tells Gracie he's not going to let the world end before he's picked up the money he bet on the Dolphins. The Miami Dolphins are an American professional football team.

 

On page 245 Jack says to his friends, "Remember what I always say: It's all in the reflexes." He also said, "It's all in the reflexes" in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

Chapter XXIX: Remember What Ol' Jack Burton Always Says at a Time Like This?

 

On page 249, Min assures Jack that the government-confiscated Excalibur is being examined by "top...men." This is a callback to the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, at the end of which Indiana Jones is assured by G-Men that the recovered Ark of the Covenant is being worked on by "top men."

 

On page 250, Jack recalls the legend that one who can pull the sword from the stone becomes the King of England. This is roughly true according to many versions of the legend of the sword in the stone. So, possibly, Jack is the true King of England.

 

Egg espouses that the reason Jack was able to lift the sword is because he'd been to the realm of death and back again...even if that visit has not happened yet. Jack will later die in "The Legendary San Francisco Mystic Kung Fu Showdown and Knife Fight" and returns to Earth in "The Luck of the Righteous Fool".

 

On page 251, Jack laments that there doesn't seem to be a single Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville in England. It is true that there are no British locations of the restaurant chain.

 

    On page 254, Jack refers to Watergate. The Watergate scandal led to the resignation of U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1974.

    Jack's crack about good dentistry here is another jab at British teeth.

 

On the last page of the book, it is implied that Jack and friends are heading back to the U.S., not to San Francisco, but to the city of Seattle, where Lightning has reportedly been sighted. 


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