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Adventures of Jack Burton

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Adventures of Jack Burton: Big Trouble in Mother Russia Adventures of Jack Burton
Big Trouble in Mother Russia

Novel
Written by Matthew J. Elliott
With illustrations by Elena Casagrande
Cover illustration by Oliver Barrett
December 2016

 

Jack winds up in trouble in the Soviet Union.

 

Notes from the Jack Burton chronology

 

Blair Marnell published an interview with Matthew J. Elliott, author of this novel at Crave Online in which it is stated by Marnell (in the comments section) that the novel takes place after Jack meets the hell-beast (which comes to be known as Pete) on his truck in "The Hell of the Midnight Road", but before he attends Wang’s wedding (both occurring in the first issue of the Big Trouble in Little China comic book). In addition, Jack states in his opening monologue that his encounter with David Lo Pan in Chinatown was "a few months back".

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Jack Burton

David Lo Pan (mentioned only, deceased)

Wang Chi

The Three Storms (mentioned only, deceased)

Wing Kong

Pete

Lords of Death

Egg Shen

Jack's grandma (unnamed, mentioned only)

Miao Yin (mentioned only)

Chang Sing

Eddie Lee

Margo Litzenberger (mentioned only)

Mr. Wong (a cook at Dragon of the Black Pool)

Uncle Chu

Gracie Law

Irma Burton (Jack's mother, mentioned only, deceased)

Wolfgang Kessler

Nana Kessler

Pai

General Gleb

Comrade Toy (a Russian alias used by Gracie)

Radek

Douglas Q. Weinberger (mentioned only)

Jack's father (unnamed, mentioned only)

Uncle Melvin (mentioned only, last name presumably Burton, Jack's uncle)

Tastycakes McSugar (a former alias used by Jack as a stripper)

Mr. Brandis (mentioned only, Jack's old high school gym teacher)

Mrs. Hannigan (mentioned only, Jack's fourth-grade Geography teacher)

Valentina

Klokoe

Dr. Wager (Gracie's former psychiatrist, mentioned only)

Uncle Milton (Gracie's uncle, mentioned only, deceased)

Gracie's mother (unnamed, mentioned only)

Barry (Gracie's cousin, mentioned only)

Leftie Lucie (ex-wife of Jack, boxer, mentioned only)

Undersecretary for International Protocol, Henry Swanson

Sarah

Taft

Barish

Monash

Aunt Sylvia (Egg's aunt, mentioned only)

Evangeline Law (Gracie's grandmother, mentioned only)

Gracie's grandfather (unnamed, mentioned only)

Adolf Hitler (?)

 

 

 

Didja Know?

 

The full title of this novel is Big Trouble in Little China Illustrated Novel: Big Trouble in Mother Russia. 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 a pun based on the name of either Jack or Gracie.

 

In the personal opinion department, the novel is a fun read, though I think Jack comes off as too conceited and dopey, even given the character portrayed in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

Didja Notice?

 

On the cover, the image of Jack has him wearing a tank top that looks, at first, like the one he wore in Big Trouble in Little China. But notice that the Chinese figure on the shirt is not the usual one, but an image of Lightning (who returns in this novel)! In an illustration on page 88, Jack is seen to be wearing his traditional tank top from the film.
Jack Burton Big Trouble in Mother Russia
Jack's tank top in Big Trouble in Little China Jack's tank top with Lightning

 

Chapter I: Hit the road, Jack

 

The title of Chapter I was probably inspired by the 1960 song "Hit the road, Jack" by Percy Mayfield.

 

Jack's opening remarks in Chapter I into his CB radio, "Now, I'm not saying I've been everywhere and seen everything..." were also used in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

During his monologue into the CB, Jack claims to have visited every International House of Pancakes in this great nation.

 

Jack also boasts that he beat Rip Taylor in an arm-wrestling contest. Rip Taylor (1935-) is an American actor and comedian and certainly not someone likely to be able to beat a man like Jack in arm wrestling in the first place.

 

Jack states in his monologue that his encounter with David Lo Pan in Chinatown was "a few months back".

 

While driving this night, Jack is wearing his sunglasses still. He figures if it's good enough for Corey Hart, it's good enough for him. Corey Hart is a Canadian singer best known for his hit "Sunglasses at Night".

 

Jack says the Wing Kong have bases in most cities, like the Shriners. Shriners International is a fraternal organization (and affiliated body with Freemasonry) known for the childrens' hospitals it administers. Page 29 hints that Jack has somehow previously made an enemy of the Shriners.

 

In his monologue, Jack refers to his adventure in Little China as "big trouble."

 

Jack remarks that after the Chinatown adventure, he decided it was time to "get the hell out of Dodge." The phrase "get out of Dodge" is generally attributed to the long-running (1955-1975) TV series Gunsmoke, a western set in Dodge City, Kansas.

 

Jack describes Pete as Clyde from the Which Way films crossed with a python. Clyde was the pet orangutan of Clint Eastwood's character (also a trucker) in Every Which Way But Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980).

 

    Pete apparently will, at times, fling his own poop at things. Chimpanzees are also known to fling poop at other creatures, including people, when frightened or upset. Jack remarks that he once saw Pete's poop melt its way through the door of a 1970 Dodge Challenger.

    On page 18, Jack also remarks that when Pete picks his boogers, he can see a soul screaming in torment in each of them, one them looking like Bing Crosby. Crosby (1903-1977) was a popular American singer and actor known for a series of Road movies he made with Bob Hope.

 

In "The Hell of the Midnight Road", Jack says he's named his new pet Pete after his childhood dog. Here, on page 17, he says that all of his pets have been named Pete.

 

Jack says he dresses Pete up in his second-best t-shirt.

 

On page 18, Jack says that when he took on Pete, he imagined them crisscrossing the country getting into BJ and the Bear mishaps. B.J. and the Bear was a 1979-1981 comedy-adventure series about a trucker and his pet chimp. It starred Greg Evigan.

 

Also on page 18, Jack says that the Lords of Death gang of assassins caught up with them in Fresno.

 

Jack claims he never made the switch to New Coke. New Coke was a brand of cola soft drink sold by the Coca-Cola Company from 1985-2002; it did not perform well in the United States and is widely considered a dismal failure. In "The Company You Keep", Jack makes a remark of the if-you-believe-that sort that ends with "I got a trailer full of New Coke to sell you!"

 

Jack mentions the Crips and the Bloods on page 18. The Crips and Bloods are street gangs originally founded in Los Angeles, CA.

 

On page 19, Jack thinks of Pete as Bigfoot's dumber, gassier nephew. Bigfoot is an apelike cryptozoological creature popularly believed to reside in the forests of North America. 

 

Jack thinks it might be time for he and Pete to end their partnership, like Jerry Lewis and Dino. He also thinks of The Day the Clown Cried. Jerry Lewis is a comedian and film actor who has been active since 1931. He and Dean Martin (Dino) were a comedy duo for ten years from 1946-1956. The Day the Clown Cried is a 1972 dramatic film about a clown in a Nazi concentration camp directed by and starring Jerry Lewis which was never released; Lewis felt it came out so embarrassingly bad that he will never allow it to be released.

 

Chapter II: Jack of All Trades

 

The title of this chapter is derived from the popular aphorism, "Jack of all trades, master of none," a reference to a person who dabbles in many skills, never spending the time to master any one.

 

On page 21, Jack parks the Pork-Chop Express on the side of Highway 41. This is presumably California State Route 41, which runs from Morro Bay to Yosemite National Park.

 

Also on page 21, a Trans Am has to swerve to avoid Jack as he crosses the highway to get to a pay phone. Possibly, this is meant to be the same Trans Am driven by one of the Lords of Death in Big Trouble in Little China. The Trans Am was a pony car built by Pontiac from 1967-2002.

 

Page 21 reveals that the potion given to Jack and his buddies by Egg Shen that made them feel invincible in Big Trouble in Little China was invented by a Gaelic druid during Roman times.

 

On page 21, Jack's thoughts reveal that Egg's druidic potion made him feel as if he could beat up Lou Ferrigno, romance Morgan Fairchild, and solve the TV Guide crossword. Lou Ferrigno is a body-builder and actor, known for playing the Incredible Hulk on the 1978-1982 TV series. Morgan Fairchild is an actress known for starring in various soap operas in the 1980s. TV Guide is a magazine that provides TV listings and TV-related articles (the magazine's crossword puzzles are not known for their difficulty!).

 

On page 22, Jack references a quote by a "great American patriot" who said "A man's got to know his limitations." This line was said by the character of Harry Callahan in the 1973 film Magnum Force. Callahan was played by Clint Eastwood in five films. Jack thinks the man ignored his own advice by going on to star in Paint Your Wagon, a musical western; however, Paint Your Wagon was made in 1969, a few years before Eastwood spoke those words in Magnum Force.

 

Also on page 22, Jack remembers that, after Lo Pan was taken down, Egg had said he was going to take a vacation and then help his cousin who was running a convenience store in Nevada. Egg did mention taking a vacation at the end of Big Trouble in Little China, but no mention of a cousin and convenience store was made at the time.

 

Jack seems to think that there wasn't much of Chinatown left for tourists after the destruction wrought in the battle against Lo Pan's minions. That seems to be an exaggeration, based on what was seen in the Big Trouble in Little China film.

 

On page 23, Jack laments that lately he'd had about as much work as a British dentist. It is a common myth that British citizens have bad teeth.

 

Also on page 23, Jack compares his negotiating skills to those of Donald Trump. Trump was a real estate tycoon who supposedly became an expert negotiator. At the time this novel was written, Trump was a candidate for U.S. president in the Republican Party primaries; he is (as of this writing) now the President of the United States. A satirical version of Trump named Damien Whist makes his first appearance in "The Company You Keep".

 

During their phone call, Jack once refers to Egg as "Hoss". Possibly, this is a reference to the character of Hoss Cartwright on the 1959-1973 western TV series Bonanza.

 

On page 24, Jack calls Egg compadre. This is the Spanish word for "godfather", though has also become used in common parlance to mean a close friend.

 

Egg hires Jack to help him pick up a crate at a private museum in Concord and they are meant to bring it to the Izraya Shipping Company in San Francisco. Izraya Shipping Company is a fictitious business.

 

Page 25 states that Jack's second favorite magazine is Cat Fancy. Cat Fancy was a magazine about cats and cat owners and breeders published from 1965-2015. It is now known as Catster.

 

Page 25 also reveals that Jack had been very upset the day he'd learned that Supertrain had been cancelled. Supertrain was a 1979 TV series that lasted only 9 episodes, about a very large, fast, nuclear-powered, luxury bullet train.

 

Also on page 25, Jack threatens to let Pete just Kerouac his way back to Chinatown. Jack Kerouac (1922-1969) was an iconic American writer, best known for his novel On the Road, based on his own travels across the United States, often hitchhiking.

 

Page 26 states that Jack banished Lo Pan to one of the 84,000 Hells. In Chinese mythology, Diyu is the realm of the dead, which holds 84,000 versions of Hell where souls are held for an indefinite amount of time depending on the severity of one's sins before reincarnation.

 

Chapter III: The Jack Who Came to Dinner

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the 1939 musical play and 1942 film The Man Who Came to Dinner.

 

Page 28 states that Egg's tour bus still looks shot up with bullet holes from the action in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

Page 28 also states that Egg's home has an extremely large arsenal of weapons, which would keep the ATF busy for over a month if they discovered it and had to do an inventory. The ATF is a U.S. federal law enforcement organization, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

 

Page 28 reveals that Pete becomes extremely docile if you buy him everything on the Denny's breakfast menu, like most males. Denny's, of course, is a diner chain with locations all around the world.

 

Also on page 28, Jack worries that putting a collar on Pete would get him in trouble with PETA. PETA is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an American animal rights organization.

 

Page 29 reveals that he and Pete were banned for life from Long John Silver's, an American fish and chips fast food restaurant.

 

Page 29 hints that Jack prefers to wear Wrangler jeans and loves Popeyes' Cajun fries.

 

    On page 30, Jack chides Pete for a time he got drunk on Windex. Windex is a brand of glass cleaner.

    Jack also reminisces with Pete about the time they overtook a Chevy driven by a man Jack thought was Captain Stubing from the The Love BoatThe Love Boat was a 1977-1986 TV series about a romantic cruise ship captained by Captain Merrill Stubing (Gavin MacLeod).

 

Jack wonders why Lo Pan's curse could be lifted only if he married a girl with green eyes. Why not when the Cubs win the World Series? The Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball team is known for its long drought of World Series championships between 1908 and 2016, 108 years! Still, Jack's facetious thought is also shortsighted in that Lo Pan was cursed way back during the reign of Chinese Emperor Qin Shi Huang over 2,000 years ago and the Cubs won their first World Series in 1907, so the evil Lo Pan would probably have been restored to his strong, youthful form and be able release his full evil on Earth long before Jack's birth!

 

Page 31 describes Eddie Lee as stuffed into a dinner suit at Wang's Dragon of the Black Pool restaurant like a husky James Bond. Bond, of course, is a fictional British super-spy created by Ian Fleming (1908-1964).

 

On page 32, Eddie remarks that other restaurants do all-day breakfast, but Dragon of the Black Pool does all-day dinner.

 

Page 32 reveals that Egg hands out free entree vouchers for Dragon of the Black Pool to tourists on his bus tours.

 

At Dragon of the Black Pool, Jack orders Yau Zaa Gwai. Yau Zaa Gwai is a deep-fired strip of dough often served at breakfast in China.

 

Jack recalls his infiltration as an everyday, ignorant schlub at a brothel called White Tigress or White Tiger (he forgets) on page 32. The brothel was White Tiger, run by a Madame of the same name in Big Trouble in Little China. He also recalls that he once landed a non-speaking role in an episode of Kate Loves a Mystery when he delivered frozen meals for the catering service and the director spotted him and said he had the perfect look for a suspected rapist. Kate Loves a Mystery was one of many names for a two-season series (1979-1980) that started as Mrs. Columbo, became Kate Columbo, then Kate the Detective, and finally Kate Loves a Mystery, originally intended as a spinoff from the popular 1971-1978 detective TV series Columbo. Jack was proud he got to meet Don Stroud on the set; Stroud was a supporting actor on the series and has also appeared in many other TV shows and films.

 

On page 33, Jack considers women to be gold medal winners if grudge-bearing were an Olympic sport. The modern Olympic Games (inspired by the ancient Greek Olympics c. 776 BC-393 AD) began in 1896, featuring amateur athletes engaged in numerous sports competitions in representation of their home countries.

 

Jack thinks of two quotes when he thinks of how he left Gracie hanging (at the end of Big Trouble in Little China), "Here's looking at you, kid" and "Forget it, Gracie, it's Chinatown." The former is from the 1942 film Casablanca and the latter from the 1974 film Chinatown, except that the Chinatown quote is "Forget it, Jake, it's Chinatown."

 

Page 34 reveals that Jack's mother was named Irma Burton.

 

Jack worries that women he truly loves could get out of him his deepest, darkest secret, as easily as Winchell's got all his pocket change. It's never revealed what that deep, dark secret is.

 

Page 35 states that Jack perfected a whip-crack sound effect after a lifetime of watching Wagon Train reruns. Wagon Train was a 1957-1965 western TV series.

 

Page 36 claims that no one has ever beaten Jack at Rock, Paper, Scissors. Currently well-known in the west, the hand game is believed to have originated in China hundreds of years ago.

 

Page 36 reveals that Jack was the Dysart's Truck Stop Texas Hold 'Em champ for several years. There is an actual Dysart's Truck Stop in Bangor, Maine, so maybe that's the place he's referring to! Texas hold 'em is a variation of poker. Jack's championship is also mentioned in "The Jack is Wild".

 

On pages 36-37, Jack tells Wang that he knew he could rely on his little buddy and Wang responds that he's glad to see him but, "...I'm not Gilligan and you're not the Skipper." This is a reference to Gilligan's Island, a 1964-1967 sitcom featuring a group of characters shipwrecked on an island, led by the boat's Skipper and his first mate, Gilligan. The Skipper was constantly referring to Gilligan as his "little buddy".

 

On page 40, Jack mentions Pier One and Nixon. Richard Nixon was the President of the United States from 1969-1974.

 

    Jack tells Wang that someone should make a movie of their Chinatown adventure, with Michael Paré as himself and Jack Soo from Barney Miller as Egg Shen, and asking, "What's the chick from the first Police Academy doing these days?" Michael Paré is an actor who looks Jack Burtonish. Jack Soo (1917-1979) was a Japanese-American actor best known for his role as Detective Nick Yemana on the 1975-1982 sitcom Barney Miller. The chick from the first Police Academy (a 1984 comedy film) was played by Kim Cattrall, the actress who plays Gracie Law in Big Trouble in Little China (on page 56, Gracie finds herself in a situation that reminds her of a scene in Police Academy featuring one of her favorite actresses!).

    Later, in "Encino Man", set in 2015, Jack learns that Margo wrote a book about their Chinatown adventure which was then made into a movie starring Kurt Russell!

 

On page 41, Jack sees a photo of Harry S. Truman. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States from 1945-1953. 

 

Page 41 describes Jack thinking of the Kessler family as the Children of the Damned. Children of the Damned is a 1964 science-fiction film about a group of children with telekinetic powers that the British government tries to control, with disastrous results.

 

Carl Lewis is mentioned on page 41. Carl Lewis is a retired track and field athlete for the United States who won numerous gold medals in Olympic and World Championship contests from 1979-1996.

 

Page 42 mentions the Statue of Liberty and The Ropers. The Ropers was a 1979-1980 sitcom, a spin-off from the more popular Three's Company.

 

On page 42, Jack seems to be down on the current day comics except for Joe Piscopo and his impression of Sinatra. Joe Piscopo is a comedian best known for his stint on the TV sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live from 1980–1984. Frank Sinatra (1915-1998) was a singer and actor who got his start in nightclubs and whose repertoire has become a staple of nightclub musical acts.

 

On page 43, Wang comments that Egg gave the authorities a demonstration of Chinese magic during his interrogation about the fateful night in Chinatown. He is referring to the electrical bolts Egg generates between his palms at the beginning of Big Trouble in Little China.

 

Also on page 43, Jack refers to Ruth Buzzi's autobiography and some surprising revelations within. Ruth Buzzi is an actress and comedian. I am not aware of her having written an autobiography.

 

On page 44, Jack mentions Santa. Santa Claus, of course, is the folkloric figure who brings gifts to children around the world on Christmas Eve.

 

As he and Jack walk into the Kessler Museum on page 44, Wang remarks that he thinks he once saw a Twilight Zone like it. The Twilight Zone was a TV series of 1959-1964, an anthology of fantasy, horror, science-fiction, and suspense.

 

On page 46, Jack recalls a day as a teenager when he ate nothing but Cookie Crisp cereal. Cookie Crisp is a breakfast cereal that tastes like chocolate chip cookies, currently produced by General Mills.

 

Wang is worried that the foreman at the museum is wearing red and black, just like the Wing Kong do, but Jack retorts that so do the Atlanta Falcons. The Atlanta Falcons are an NFL football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. Their colors are red, black, silver, and white.

 

Page 49 reveals that Jack has a dream of one day owning an oil-on-velvet painting of the Farah Fawcett poster. Farah Fawcett (1947-2009) was an American model and actress. Most likely, the poster referred to is her iconic red swimsuit poster of 1976, the best-selling poster in history.

Farah Fawcett poster

 

Page 49 states that the radio in Jack's truck is permanently stuck on an NPR station. NPR is National Public Radio, a non-profit radio network funded by public and private sources across the U.S.

 

Chapter V: Gracie Under Pressure

 

The title of this chapter is a play on the popular phrase "grace under pressure", describing a state of being calm and collected in tense circumstances. It supposedly originated from a quote by American writer Ernest Hemingway, "Courage is grace under pressure."

 

This chapter finds Gracie on an undercover assignment for Egg in the USSR, working at the Kremlin. USSR stands for Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the full name of the Soviet Union, which existed from 1922-1991. The Kremlin is the official home of the Russian President.

 

Page 51 reveals that Gracie has a cat named Purry Mason. The name is a play on "Perry Mason", a fictional criminal defense lawyer in novels, movies, and television since 1933, created by Erle Stanley Gardner.

 

Page 52 refers to the blade that was used by Lo Pan as part of the marriage ceremony to Miao Yin and Gracie Law in Big Trouble in Little China as the Burning Blade.

 

Egg has cast a spell called the Spell of Tongues on Gracie to enable her to speak numerous languages. The term "Spell of Tongues" has come to be somewhat well-used in recent years in fantasy fiction, video games, role-playing games, etc. as a quick and easy way to get a character to be able to speak languages they shouldn't know.

 

Page 54 states that Jack thinks of Golden Corral as fine dining. Golden Corral is a family steakhouse chain in the U.S.

 

A portrait of Stalin hangs in General Gleb's office. Joseph Stalin (1878-1953) cultivated power and formed the Soviet Union from about 1922 until his death in 1953. On page 70, Jack mistakenly assumes this painting of a guy with a bushy mustache is of Gleb's father.

 

Page 55 mentions a potion of courage that Egg keeps in a gourd. This is presumably a reference to the potion he gives to Jack, Wang, and the Chang Sing in Big Trouble in Little China just before the battle with Lo Pan.

 

On page 56, Gracie sees Gleb's robe-costume and wonders if it is Come to Work as Rasputin Day at the Kremlin. Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916) was a Russian mystic who had the confidence of Tsar Nicholas II for about ten years before Rasputin was assassinated.

 

On page 57, Gleb regrets having to become involved with the Karzeleks. In Polish mythology, Karzeleks are diminutive beings who live in mines, guarding crystals, gems, and precious metals. On page 122, they are mistakenly referred to as Russian pixies by Egg.

 

Also on page 57, Gleb thinks he will become more legendary than Alexander the Great and Stalin. Alexander the Great (356-323 BC) was a Macedonian king who ruled one of the largest empires of the ancient world and was never defeated in battle.

 

Chapter VI: Jack in the Box

 

The title of this chapter is a reference to the classic children's toy.

 

Page 59 references beer and Bud. "Bud" is an abbreviation of Budweiser, a brand of beer made in the U.S.

 

Trapped head-to-toe in a hard casing of cockroach mucus, Jack farts and finds that the gas has no way to escape either. Jack laments that the Very Hungry Caterpillar never said anything about that. The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a character in a 1969 children's book of the same name. At the end of the book, the caterpillar spins a cocoon around itself in order to become a butterfly.

 

Page 60 mentions Coors.

 

Page 60 implies that Jack's father is (was?) a Professor of Comparative Anthropology at Princeton University.

 

On page 60, Jack thinks of Pete as looking like Satan's armpit. Satan, of course, is a figure who brings evil and temptation to the world of humanity in the Abrahamic religions.

 

Page 61 makes a joking reference to Cheeto dust in Jack's beard stubble. Cheetos are a brand of cheese puff snack covered in cheese-flavored powder, usually bright orange in color.

 

Page 63 reveals that Jack voted for Reagan twice. Ronald Reagan was President of the United States from 1981-1989. This story is set in 1986.

 

Jack had previously vowed never to visit two places in the world: Detroit and the USSR.

 

On page 63, Jack thinks that the Kremlin looks like Boris Karloff's ancestral home and asks General Gleb if his interior decorator is Count Dracula. Boris Karloff (1887-1969) was an English actor known for his horror roles, particularly for playing the Frankenstein monster in three films in the 1930s. Count Dracula, of course, is the classic vampiric character from Bram Stoker's 1897 novel who appeared in the classic Dracula film of 1931 starring Karloff's contemporary, Bela Lugosi.

 

Page 64 states that Jack had made a few enemies in his life, the worst being Douglas Q. Weinberger of Hell, Michigan. Hell, Michigan is an actual small town in that state.

 

Chapter VII: Jack in the USSR

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the 1968 Beatles song "Back in the U.S.S.R."

 

On page 67, Jack refers to General Gleb as Boris. "Boris" is a name occasionally used as a generic for a male Russian by foreigners ("Ivan" is a more prevalent generic name). Possibly, Jack uses "Boris" because he previously thought of the Kremlin as looking like Boris Karloff's ancestral home.

 

On page 68, Jack makes a comment that his Uncle Melvin brought shame on the Burton family name.

 

When the Russian soldiers reach for their sidearms against Jack, General Gleb tells them, "Nyet, nyet, nyet, nyet," which Jack assumes is Russian for "cool it". Nyet is Russian for "no".

 

    On page 69, Jack remarks, "I mean, John Wayne's dead, I figure I'm the next best example of true American manhood." John Wayne (1907-1979) was a popular American actor, especially known for his roles as tough American cowboys and soldiers. In the study of Big Trouble in Little China, I pointed out that if you listen to the way actor Kurt Russell speaks when delivering much of Jack's dialog, he seems to be doing a bit of an homage to Wayne. Jack seems to be fairly preoccupied with Wayne (and compares himself to Wayne) throughout the novel.

    Wayne's nickname of "The Duke" mentioned on page 96 is accurate. 

 

On page 70, Jack makes a mental note that when he gets back to America he'll send Gleb back a couple of dashboard Jesuses from his personal collection to liven up the place. The dashboard Jesus is a popular automobile interior decoration among some Catholics, especially in the U.S.

 

Also on page 70, Jack tries to make a call to Mutual Fidelity Insurers of Sacramento from Gleb's office. Mutual Fidelity was the insurer of the Pork-Chop Express in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

On page 73, Jack reveals that he used to make extra cash by stripping under the name of Tastycakes McSugar.

 

Also on page 73, Jack tells Wang that if they get out of this mess, they'll become famous and guaranteed to get Platinum Elite status at Marriott Hotels. The Marriott full-service hotel chain does indeed have a Platinum Elite status for guests who have stayed 75 nights at its hotels; it's quite possible that well-known celebrities and public figures could earn this status without having yet stayed the requisite number of nights.

 

Chapter VIII: State of Gracie

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the Catholic term "state of grace", the condition of being free from sin.

 

Page 77 reveals that Gracie lives at Krymsky Val during her stay in Russia. Krymsky Val is a street in Moscow.

 

On page 79, Gracie has to admit that the Kremlin is a more awe-inspiring edifice than that at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is the address of the White House in Washington, D.C.

 

Also on page 79, Gracie yells to Wang, "Come with me if you want to live!" This line used a number of times in the Terminator series of films.

 

Chapter IX: Jack Be Nimble

 

The title of this chapter is based on that of the children's nursery rhyme "Jack Be Nimble".

 

On page 82, Jack finds himself longing for the days when assholes would just tie you to a wheelchair. This refers back to Lo Pan's minions tying him to an old wheelchair for interrogation by Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China.

 

    On page 83, Jack mentions Gorbachev, claiming he tries to read Pravda whenever he can. Mikhail Gorbachev was the leader of the Soviet Union from 1985-1991. Pravda was, at the time, the official newspaper of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union,

    Jack later refers to Gorbachev as "Fearless Leader". Fearless Leader was the dictator of the fictional country Pottsylvania in the 1959-1964 animated series The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show; most of the inhabitants of the country are depicted with Russian-like accents, though Fearless Leader had a more German (as in Nazi) accent.

 

On page 84, Jack asks Gleb for a little détente. The term "détente" was used at the time to indicate the general easing of tension in the Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. from 1969 onward.

 

Page 84 mentions the KGB. The KGB was the national security agency of the Soviet Union before its fall in November 1991.

 

Page 84 reveals that one of Jack's ex-wives owned a diner that was later closed down as a health hazard.

 

On page 85, Jack tells Gleb that he kind of tuned out and if he expects him to pay attention, better bust out the Seger. Presumably, Jack is referring to music by Bob Seger, an American rock and roll singer-songwriter.

 

Also on page 85, Jack fears that he's in the midst of a plot to brainwash him, the Russian version of MK-Ultra. Project MK-Ultra was a CIA program to develop ways to gain mind control over a given subject from about 1953-1973.

 

On page 86, Gleb says, "Ty che, blyad?" From what I can tell, this means something like "What the fuck?" but, in that case, I don't know why the sentence would have a comma in it!

 

During the battle between the Russians and the Wing Kong on page 87, Jack almost instantaneously goes from being a prisoner of the Russians to a prisoner of the Wing Kong and he reflects that's he's "switched sides"...like one of his ex-wives did. The phrase "switched sides" can be a euphemism for a person who goes from being in a heterosexual relationship to a homosexual one.

 

On page 89, Gleb gives Jack a small black sphere. Jack figures it's not a Magic 8-Ball because he doesn't think they're sold in Russia. Actually, the Magic 8-Ball is available in Russia, at least these days.

 

Chapter X: Jack Be Quick

 

The title of this chapter is from the second line of the earlier-mentioned "Jack Be Nimble" nursery rhyme.

 

Page 92 reveals that a Mrs. Hannigan was Jack's fourth-grade Geography teacher. Jack thinks it was while in this class and had to go to the bathroom that he invented the word "shitter". The word is believed to have originated in the 1960s.

 

On page 92, Jack tries to talk about John Wayne movies with his Wing Kong abductors, but they haven't seen any of them, not even "the one where he and Ellery Queen put out oil rig fires." This refers to the 1968 film Hellfighters, which co-starred John Wayne and Jim Hutton. Hutton had played the crime-solver Ellery Queen in the 1975–1976 Ellery Queen TV series.

 

On page 93, Jack reflects that "a great man" once said for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This refers to the third of Newton's laws of motion as compiled by English physicist and mathematician Isaac Newton.

 

On page 94, Jack also believes he first coined the term "road rage". According to Wikipedia, it originated in 1987 from newscasters at Los Angeles TV station KTLA while covering a rash of freeway shootings in the area.

 

On page 95, Jack decides he wants the Russian equivalent of a bottle of Jim Beam and a Hungry Man Salisbury Steak.

 

Also on page 95, Wang says that Kitay-garad is Moscow's Chinatown. Kitay-gorad is an actual neighborhood in Moscow. Although the name does roughly translate from Russian as "Chinatown", it is not predominantly populated by Chinese (or other Asians).

 

    On page 96, Valentina says she runs a club in Kitay-garad called Padshiye Angely. This is Russian for "Fallen Angels". This appears to be a fictitious establishment.

    Page 121 reveals that the name of the club refers to the Fallen Angels mentioned in the Ancient Scrolls of Abdul Alhazred, the Mad Poet of Sana'a, who are two all-powerful beings, a king and queen, who first appeared when the world turned upside-down a thousand years ago. The reference to when the world turned upside-down was also made by Egg in Big Trouble in Little China. The other references are largely connected to the Cthulu mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, which refers to: fallen angels; a character named Abdul Alhazred, the Mad Arab; and the (real world) Sana'a manuscript, one of the oldest known versions of the Islamic holy book, the Koran.

 

Chapter XI: Jack of Clubs

 

The title of this chapter is borrowed from the playing card found in the typical Western world playing card deck.

 

On page 97, Jack flips through the morning paper looking for Marmaduke. Marmaduke is a daily comic strip about a large Great Dane dog and the hapless family that owns him, published since 1954.

 

On page 99, Jack mentions the Red Cross. He's probably more specifically thinking of the American Red Cross.

 

Chapter XII: Gracie and Favor

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the British term "grace and favour", referring to a property rented or leased to a subordinate by a monarch.

 

Page 104 reveals that Gracie has joined the CIA. The CIA is the Central Intelligence Agency, one of the major intelligence agencies of the United States government.

 

On page 104, Gracie says she once had a roommate named Groom Lake who was recruited by the CIA but who quit to become an ice road trucker. Apparently, Jack was also married to her very briefly at some point in the past. "Groom Lake" is another name for Area 51, a top secret U.S. military base in the Nevada desert, suspected by some of housing the remains of extraterrestrials and technology of their crashed ships.

 

On page 105, Gracie tells Wang that she took Groom's place at Langley. The CIA's headquarters is in Langley, Virginia.

 

Chapter XIII: Lost in Time and Gracie

 

The title of this chapter is a play on a phrase sometimes heard in science-fiction or fantasy storytelling, "lost in time and space". It may, more specifically, be another reference to Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos.

 

Page 113 mentions Pete wearing a t-shirt with an off-color slogan on it. Possibly this is the same shirt he is later seen wearing in "The Ghosts of Storms", reading "Buy me a drink and I'll tell you I'm 18."

 

On page 113, Gracie thinks she sees the face of Senator Joe McCarthy in the green goo (actually boogers or snot) that Pete smears on Wang's face. Joseph McCarthy (1908-1957) was a U.S. Senator from the state of Wisconsin who alleged that the country had been infiltrated by large numbers of communist sympathizers and he gained some popularity with his, usually unsubstantiated, accusations against other politicians and civilian public figures.

 

On page 114, Egg remarks he conjures portals through the burning of Tane Mahuta leaves. Tāne Mahuta is the name of a giant kauri tree growing in the Waipoua Forest of New Zealand, believed to be 1,250-2,500 years old.

 

On pages 115-116, Gracie reflects on having seen the Wing Kong armed with both guns and "elegant weapons of a more civilized age". This is a callback to Star Wars: A New Hope, in which Obi-Wan Kenobi refers to the lightsaber and the Old Republic with his statement to Luke Skywalker, "...an elegant weapon for a more civilized age."

 

Chapter XIV: A Gracie Odyssey

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by that of the classic 1968 science-fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey.

 

Page 121 mentions a space probe with anatomical charts. This is most likely a reference to the plaques placed on the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft (1972 and '73), featuring a nude man and woman and a chart indicating from where the spacecraft originated in the event it should be intercepted at some point in the future with an extraterrestrial civilization.

 

The Fallen Angels have spider web markings on their bodies. On page 121, Gracie reflects that she hadn't seen any people with spider web markings on their bodies since her cousin Barry sold his comic book collection. She is likely thinking of the comic book characters of Spider-Man and Spider-Woman, though neither of these characters had web markings on their bodies, just their costumes.

 

On page 121, Egg offers Gracie a drink from the gourd, saying, "...you'll feel like King Kong on cocaine." King Kong is a gigantic ape who appears in the classic 1933 film of the same name; it was remade in 1976 and 2005.

 

On page 122, Gracie thinks of Porky Pig sticking his out of the portal to say, "Th-th-th-that's all, folks!" Porky Pig is a character from the Warner Brothers' stable of Looney Toons cartoon characters. He was known for his stutter and would traditionally close out Looney Toons short features by emerging from a hole at the end of the cartoon and speaking those words.

 

Chapter XV: Jack On

 

The title of this chapter is the opposing phrasing of the sex term "jack off". The chapter following is, in fact, "Jack Off".

 

Page 125 reveals that Jack had once married a Vegas boxer named Leftie Lucie.

 

Page 125 mentions Taco Bell.

 

Page 125 also states that Jack once rescued a mange-ridden badger at a roadside rest area in Fife, Alabama. The badger he also named Pete. Fyffe, Alabama is a real town.

 

On page 126, Jack thinks that the Russians hate the freedoms of U.S. citizens. This is a common theme of U.S. government propaganda in regards to the nation's enemies.

 

Also on page 126, Jack thinks that Lo Pan was a guy who made Attila the Hun seem like he just needed some guidance and a pat on the back from Pat O'Brien. Attila the Hun was a notorious 5th Century warlord. Pat O'Brien (1899-1983) was an Irish-American actor who often played elder figures who gave sage words of wisdom.

 

Page 126 reveals that the Harley Davidson cap Jack wore in Big Trouble in Little China is his favorite. He winds up accidentally leaving it behind in a Moscow cab.

 

Also on page 126, Jack dreams of the Washington Generals and making a bet for a can of Crisco not opened since 1912. The Washington Generals were an American exhibition basketball team (similar to the more famous and successful Harlem Globetrotters) from 1952-2015. Crisco is a brand of vegetable oil shortening

 

Page 127 states that Jack had read the complete works of Donald Hamilton, Mickey Spillane, and Don Pendleton. These were all popular American authors, particularly of detective fiction. Jack also claims to like the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Dickinson (1830-1886) is considered one of the most important American poets.

 

On page 127, Jack tells Valentina that he likes green eyes. This is likely a tell that he is fixating on Gracie. Valentina tells him her eyes are green and he sees that this is true, though he could have sworn they were blue; Valentina turns out to be one of the Fallen Angels, so its likely she changed her eye color on the spot in order to aid in seducing him.

 

Chapter XVI: Jack Off

 

The title of this chapter refers to a sex term meaning "masturbation".

 

On page 130, Wang shouts at Valentina, who is about to bed Jack, "Get away from him, you bitch!" This is a callback to a line spoken by Ripley to the alien queen ("Get away from her, you bitch!") in the 1986 film Aliens.

 

Page 130 mentions an unfiltered Camel. This refers to Camel cigarettes.

 

Chapter XVII: The Jack Who Knew Too Much

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by that of the 1934 and 1956 remake film The Man Who Knew Too Much, both directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

 

Page 135 refers to the death of Elvis in a "shitter-related tragedy" and that it sent the cat suit industry reeling. Elvis Presley (1935-1977) was a rock-and-roll singer-songwriter and actor, often called the King of Rock and Roll; he was found dead on the floor of his bathroom in 1977. Presley would often wear highly decorated cat suits on stage during his performances of the 1960s-70s.

 

Page 135 also has Jack reflecting that the guy singing "Guitar Man" in the club leaves as much to be desired as the actor who played Elvis in a TV movie a few years back. "Guitar Man" is a 1967 song written by Jerry Reed, a cover of which was performed by Elvis that same year. The TV movie referred to is 1979's Elvis, directed by John Carpenter and starring Jack Burton himself, Kurt Russell!

 

On page 137, Jack refers to the unconscious blue alien as a "mutant Smurf". A Smurf is a character from the Belgian childrens' comic franchise The Smurfs, about a colony of diminutive, blue beings who live in mushroom houses. "Encino Man" introduces characters that appear to be a take-off of the Smurfs called the Shrooms.

 

Chapter XVIII: Jack the Stripper

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the common name of Jack the Ripper, given to an unidentified serial killer in London in the late 1880s.

 

On page 140, the disco Star Wars theme starts to play at the club. This is an instrumental piece called "Star Wars Theme/Cantina Band" by Meco, released shortly after the hit film in 1977. It remains the highest-selling instrumental single ever released.

 

When Jack walks out onto the stage on page 140, the Elvis impersonator says he looks like the little shit who kicked him in the shin at the World's Fair. This is a reference to the 1963 film It Happened at the World's Fair, starring Elvis Presley, in which a very young, new actor, Kurt Russell, makes a brief appearance as a boy who kicks Elvis in the shin! The World's Fair is an international exhibition of scientific, technological, and artistic achievements of the world's nations, generally taking place every two or three years in a different city around the world.

 

On page 143, Jack strips to "Ride Like the Wind". This is a 1980 song by Christopher Cross.

 

Chapter XIX: You Don't Know Jack

 

The title of this chapter derives from the colloquialism, "You don't know jack" or "You don't know jack shit."

 

On page 147, Jack remarks to Wang, "...it looks as though their guy did tear down that wall like our guy told him to; I definitely haven't seen it anywhere." He seems to be referring to President Reagan's challenge to the Soviet Union's General Secretary of the Communist Party to tear down the Berlin Wall which divided the city of West Berlin from East Berlin from the rest of East Germany. Of course, Jack is in Russia, so he can't see a wall that's over 1,000 miles away! Plus, this story would seem to take place in 1986, based on the release date of Big Trouble in Little China, and Reagan did not make his challenge until June 1987. In 1989, the wall was finally brought down.

 

On page 148, Jack compares the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to a Lego project. Lego is a brand of plastic construction toys.

 

On page 149, Jack and Wang meet the U.S. Embassy's Undersecretary for International Protocol, Henry Swanson. "Henry Swanson" just so happens to be name that Jack used while infiltrating the White Tiger brothel in Big Trouble in Little China. The description of Swanson here is also similar to the disguise Jack wore in that film. Oddly, Jack doesn't seem to recognize the name and get-up as the same as the one he used not long ago. The title of "Undersecretary for International Protocol" appears to be fictitious in the real world of diplomacy, but was used in a 1995 episode of The Simpsons, "Bart vs. Australia".

 

On page 150, Jack reflects on having been denied a MacArthur Genius Grant. This is a cash prize ($500,000 at the time, now $625,000) granted yearly to a number of U.S. residents in any field showing "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction" by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

 

On page 151, Wang mentions G.I. Joe. G.I. Joe is a line of military-based action figures made by Hasbro.

 

Chapter XX: The Empire Strikes Jack

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the 1980 film Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.

 

    On page 153, Swanson mentions Adolf Hitler as having been a member of the Thule Society. This was a German occult group founded in 1918 by Rudolf von Sebottendorf. German leader Adolf Hitler has been thought by many to have been a member, but some historians dispute this. Hitler did join the society's political party, the German Workers Party, and changed it into the National Socialist German Workers' Party (Nazi Party).

    The Thules reportedly did believe in an opening to the hollow core of the Earth in Antarctica as stated on page 154, the Society having been named for the capital city of the lost continent of Hyperborea, Ultima Thule, whose leaders they believed had bored tunnels into the Earth and established an underground civilization that still existed. Antarctica is the icy continent at the South Pole.

 

    On page 154, Swanson shows Jack and Wang the book Unaussprechlichen Kulten (Nameless Cults) by Friedrich Wilhelm von Junzt. The author and his book are fictitious objects in Lovecraft's Cthulu mythos (though first appearing in stories written by Robert E. Howard set in the Cthulu universe).

    In the book, Swanson shows them a woodcut of a Garden of Eden-type scene called Shambalah by the Buddhists and Muslims and New Schwabia by the Thule Society. 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. Shambalah is a mythical kingdom of Tibet mentioned in a number of ancient Buddhist texts.

 

Also on page 154, Swanson refers to the sleeping Parada as a "big slugabed". "Slugabed" is another word for "slacker".

 

On page 155, Swanson remarks, "Women, huh? Ya can't live 'em, and yet they make up slightly over half the population." This is a play on a phrase allegedly coined by the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536), "Women, can't live with them, can't live without them."

 

On page 155, Swanson implies that Atari is more technologically advanced than NASA.

 

Swanson seems to believe that NASA faked the moon landings, remarking on the waving flag on the Moon when there is no air there. There have been conspiracy theories about NASA faking the Moon landings ever since the first one in 1969. Among the evidence cited by conspiracy proponents is that the U.S. flag planted on the Moon during the first landing is seen to wave in the filmed footage and photos, but this has been easily explained and demonstrated.

 

Page 156 reveals that Jack had spent a summer as a Lesbian Outreach coordinator.

 

On page 157, Wang remarks, "A po' Chinese boy can't catch a break in Republican America." He is referring to the Republican Party in the U.S., a conservative party to which then-President Ronald Reagan belonged.

 

On page 158, Jack rams his head into the nose of one of Swanson's men, causing a spout of blood between the man's fingers like the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago.

Buckingham Fountain

 

Chapter XXI: Jack of Hearts

 

The title of this chapter is borrowed from the playing card found in the typical Western world playing card deck.

 

On page 160, realizing that Swanson shot him in the ass with a tranquilizer dart, Jack says, "Son of a bitch must pay." He also said this in Big Trouble in Little China when a member of the Wing Kong tried to run him down with a car.

 

On page 161, Jack is forced to take a minute to stop and think...something he hates even more than drinking SURGE. Surge is a citrus soft drink made by the Coca-Cola Company. Only problem here is, Surge wasn't developed and sold until 1997!

 

Also on page 161, Jack implies that he cried at Mr. Bojangles. This refers to the 1968 song "Mr. Bojangles", originally written and performed by Jerry Jeff Walker and covered by numerous other artists over the years (including Sammy Davis Jr. as stated on page 162).

 

Chapter XXII: Jack in the Saddle Again

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the 1939 song "Back in the Saddle Again", by Gene Autrey and Ray Whitley. It was considered singing-cowboy Autrey's signature piece.

 

On page 166, Jack claims that he can't remember everyone he married.

 

On page 167, an angry Gracie tells Jack, "A flatworm with a lobotomy could fool you." A lobotomy is a neurological procedure that severs the prefrontal cortex of the brain, believed in some mental cases in the past to relieve certain disorders. Jack claims that his cousin had a lobotomy.

 

Page 168 describes Gracie tied behind Jack against the A-bomb, where he can't see her when he turns his head. But the illustration on page 164 shows her tied next to him, not behind.

 

On page 170, Jack thinks the nightclub looks pretty swish. "Swish" is a British term for fashionable or sophisticated.

 

Gracie sees Valentina on page 170 and asks Jack, "Who's the Hustler centerfold?" Hustler is a monthly pornographic magazine published in the U.S.

 

On page 172, Jack claims that the staff of a Jiffy Lube in Wisconsin wanted to kill him.

 

Also on page 172, Jack asks if the silent Parada is a Trappist. A Trappist is a member of the Roman Catholic religious order called the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance. They are generally silent, speaking only when absolutely necessary.

 

On page 176, Jack notes that the Parada's wings are not of the white, featherly type is mother undoubtedly got when she "threw a seven" years ago. "Threw a seven" is a slang term for dying.

 

Chapter XXIII: Jacksploitation

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the term "blackspoitation", a genre of American films in the 1970s about African-Americans in controversial, fictional depictions of their lives.

 

Page 179 reveals that Jack hates to fly. He wonders why anyone would want to leave the States considering they had everything, including El Pollo Loco and the world's largest ball of twine. There are several U.S. cities who claim to have the world's largest ball of twine.

 

On page 179, Jack is not pleased to be on his way to Antarctica, which has terrified him ever since he saw The Thing From Another World as a kid. The Thing From Another World is a 1951 science-fiction/horror film about an alien discovered buried in the Arctic ice. Actor Kurt Russell starred in the 1982 remake from director John Carpenter, set in the Antarctic.

 

As Jack awakens on a plane on page 180, he realizes there is no stewardess around to offer him a "tasty beverage". This may be an homage to a running joke by comedian and late night talk show host David Letterman who would, in various episodes of his late night talk show, encourage viewers and guests to enjoy a tasty beverage.

 

On page 182, Gracie seems to imply that General Gleb killed Brezhnev. This refers to Leonid Brezhnev (1906-1982) leader of the Soviet Union from 1964-1982. He died from general health deterioration, aggravated by smoking, alcohol abuse, and sleeping pill overuse.

 

Chapter XXIV: We Need to Talk About Jack

 

The title of this chapter is presumably a play on the titles of several different novels and films with the title We Need to Talk About(...), mostly about men with mental/emotional issues.

 

On page 183, Gracie informs Jack that they're on a plane fitted with experimental slush hydrogen engines. Slush hydrogen is a liquid/solid hydrogen combination for use as rocket fuel. Jack figures the Soviets stole the experimental fuel idea from the U.S. and blames the Carter administration, referring to Jimmy Carter, who served as U.S. President from 1977-1981.

 

On page 184, Jack indicates to Gracie that "malaise" is a type of dip, like hummus. Possibly, he is referring to aioli, a garlic-flavored mayonnaise. He is also off-handedly trying to refer to President Carter's so-called "malaise" speech of 1979, in which Carter stated a crisis of confidence was affecting the American people after a string of misfortunes over the past decade-and-a-half, including the assassinations of John Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr., the Vietnam War, and the Watergate scandal.

 

Page 184 mentions Keye Luke. Luke (1904-1991) was a popular Asian-American actor.

 

On page 185, Jack is distressed at seeing Pete dressed in a lacy bonnet and dress that looks like it was borrowed from a production of Meet Me in St. Louis. Meet Me in St. Louis is a 1944 musical film about a family in 1903-04.

 

On page 186, Egg relates that he, Pete, and the Chang Sing are stuck in Amsterdam (at the Amsterdam International Airport according to page 190).

 

On page 188, Jack reflects you should never believe anybody who says, "there's no better vacation destination than Colonial Williamsburg."

 

Chapter XXV: Amazing Gracie

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the Christian hymn "Amazing Grace", written by John Newton in 1779.

 

Page 189 reveals that Gracie's grandmother is named Evangeline Law. She and Gracie's grandfather lived in an apartment above the HQ of the Larry Storch fan club. Larry Storch is an American comic actor best known for his portrayal of the bumbling Corporal Agarn on the 1965-1967 sitcom, F Troop.

 

Page 189 also reveals that so far, none of Gracie's cases as a lawyer have actually wound up in court.

 

On Page 190, Gracie reflects on Jack once telling her that heroism could be measured by how many suicide fries a person could eat in one sitting. Suicide fries are french fries covered in extremely spicy hot sauce.

 

On page 190, Gracie decides that if she survives the current predicament, she will celebrate with a ginger ale and some Wheat Thins.

 

On page 191, Gracie reflects that she knew a lot of girls like Valentina in college, every one a total B. The term "total B" stands for "total bitch".

 

On page 192, Gracie mentions twenty-second U.S. President Grover Cleveland, social reformer Susan B. Anthony, and Native American scout Sacagawea. These are all prominent figures in U.S. history of the 19th Century.

 

On page 193, Gracie makes joking reference to the Chinese Hells of the Hell of Standing on Electrical Output Plugs With Your Bare Feet and the Hell of Not Being Taken Seriously In Your Job Because Of Your Elfin Good Looks And The Fact That You Don't Have To Watch What You Eat To Keep Your Figure.

 

On page 194, Gracie reflects on hearing that the last movie she saw was originally supposed to be a Western, but the script was updated to take place in the modern day to make it more commercial. This is more-or-less what happened with the script for Big Trouble in Little China!

 

The illustration on page 196 depicts Wang's hands as being tied to his airliner seat armrests with rope. But page 195 says he is handcuffed!

 

Chapter XXVI: Low Jack

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the LoJack Vehicle Recovery System, a radio transceiver allowing a vehicle to be tracked in the event of theft, its name being the opposite of "hijack".

 

On page 199, Egg reveals he was once a writer of Hallmark Cards.

 

Egg gives Jack the gourd containing the druidic potion on page 200 and warns him to take only a sip, not the whole thing, continuing, "only one guy ever did that before now...ever hear of Tunguska?" "Tunguska" is a reference to the real world Tunguska event of 1908, an immense explosion believed to have been caused by the air burst of a small asteroid or comet in the atmosphere a few miles above the Tunguska region of Siberia in Russia. The Tunguska Event is also mentioned in the Snake Plissken Chronicles, with "The Tunguska Touch" implying that the event was due to alien activity in the area. Yet Jack Burton will have a crossover story with Snake Plissken in the Big Trouble in Little China/Escape From New York mini-series also from IDW, with the Tunguska discrepancy left unmentioned.

 

On page 203, Jack thinks of the fighting Karzeleks as angry Hummel figurines.

 

On page 204, Jack figures if he gets out of his current scrape alive, he ought to get his ass to Reno. Reno is a city in the U.S. state of Nevada known for its casinos.

 

Also on page 204, Jack feels as if he's been marched over by Hannibal. Hannibal (247-181 BC) was a Carthaginian general, considered to be one of the greatest military leaders in history. Possibly his most well-known achievement is his march across the Alps with his troops and war elephants at the beginning of the Second Punic War.

 

On page 206, Jack references Little Boy Blue. "Little Boy Blue" is an English nursery rhyme from at least the 18th Century.

 

Also on page 206, Jack and his crew see a man in a black uniform with eagle logos and having a little mustache emerge along with a troop of uniformed men from the ice and snow of Antarctica. From the description, it's implied to be Hitler himself, who would be about 87 years old at this time if he lived. There are any number of conspiracy theories that state Hitler did not commit suicide in the bunker in Berlin, but was secreted out of Europe to live out his life incognito in some other part of the world, occasionally said to be a secret Nazi base in the Antarctic.

 

Chapter XXVII: Once You've Had Jack, You Never Go Back

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the American idiom "Once you go black you'll never go back", a reference to another race having sex with a black person.

 

On page 210, Jack mentions D.B. Cooper. This was the popular media epithet of an unknown man who extorted a large amount of money and escaped a jet plane in mid-flight over the woods between Seattle, WA and Portland, OR in 1971. He has never been caught or identified.

 

On page 212, Jack thinks of himself and his crew as being in the Arctic, but they are actually in the Antarctic. The Arctic is the north polar region of the Earth, the Antarctic, the south polar region.

 

Jack mentions Valeria on page 212. Presumably, he means Valentina.

 

On page 214, Jack has a vision of he and Gracie in their declining years playing bingo in Miami. Miami is a city in Florida known as a retirement hot-spot.

 

Chapter XXVIII: I'm All Right, Jack

 

The title of this chapter probably refers to the idiom "I'm all right, Jack." According to Wikipedia, the phrase  "is a well-known English expression indicating smug and complacent selfishness, with an implied "fuck you!".

 

On page 220, Swanson refers to "all the Joe six-packs". "Joe six-pack" is a term sometimes used to refer to an average person in the U.S.

 

On page 221, Jack refers to a bowtie as a "dickie". This is a British term.

 

On page 222, Swanson mentions Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan is a country in the South Caucasus region of the globe.

 

Chapter XXIX: Jack, The Giant Killer

 

The title of this chapter is inspired by the English fairy tale "Jack the Giant Killer" from the 18th Century.

 

On page 227, Swanson asks if anyone has some Ace bandages. ACE (All-Cotton Elastic) is the brand name of an elastic bandage, but has taken on the genericized description of any type of elastic bandage.

 

On page 233, Jack says, "I have a bad feeling about this." This is most likely a reference to the phrase uttered in a number of the Star Wars films and ancillary stories.

 

On page 234, Jack says to Gracie and Wang, "We really shook the pillars of Heaven, am I right?" He said nearly the same thing to Wang near the end of Big Trouble in Little China.

 

Chapter XXX: Frozen Jacksickle

 

The title of this chapter is probably a reference to frozen popsicles, popularized by the Popsicle brand.

 

Seeing no signs of civilization in Antarctica on page 235, Jack is reminded of Galveston. This is presumably a reference to Galveston, Texas.

 

On page 235, Jack takes consolation in knowing that Lightning is finally gone for good. Unfortunately for him, Lightning returns in various forms in several issues of the IDW comic book series.

 

On page 236, Jack says he regrets nothing except the time he drank a whole can of spoiled Clamato. Clamato is a canned beverage made of tomato juice, clam broth, and spices, often used in cocktails.

 

Also on page 236, Jack remarks that during this time he was supposed to be hauling a load of Cheez Whiz to Denver.

 

On page 237, Jack mentions Kalamazoo.


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