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Adventures of Jack Burton

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Adventures of Jack Burton: Old Man Jack (Part 1) Adventures of Jack Burton
"Old Man Jack" Part 1
Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #1
BOOM! Studios
Written by John Carpenter & Anthony Burch
Illustrated by Jorge Corona
Colored by Gabriel Cassata
Lettered by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Stéphane Roux
September 2017


In the year 2020, a 60-year old Jack Burton is living a protected life after Earth has been transformed by the demonic Ching Dai.


Story Summary


The year 2020 finds Jack Burton in Palatka, Florida, an empty coastal town surrounded by a wall of fire. It turns out that about ten years in the past, Jack inadvertently helped the demon Ching Dai ascend to Earth, where he has turned the rest of the planet into a hellscape. Ching Dai rewarded Jack with Palatka as a shelter from the hell of the rest of the world. Jack has been trapped there alone for all those past years.


One day, Jack hears a sexy female voice from his broken CB radio mic, begging him to come to her aid. Jack falls for it and, for the first time, dares to drive the Pork-Chop Express through the wall of fire and into the Hellpocalypse. Jack follows the voice's instructions to a round hole in the ground, where the woman is supposedly being held and tortured. Jack jumps in and is confronted by a strange little demon; Jack finds he is now in the Hell of Minor Discomforts, the first level of the House of Agony. Jack gives the little demon a taste of his own medicine, then continues to climb farther down to find the woman.


Jack finally comes upon the source of the voice, only to find that it was David Lo Pan the whole time.


Continued in Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack #2.


Notes from the Jack Burton chronology


This story takes place in the year 2020.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue


Jack Burton

David Lo Pan

Pete the Hell-Beast (in flashback only)

mustachioed waitress (unnamed, in flashback only)

Ching Dai (in flashback only)

keeper of the Hell of Minor Discomforts

demon in the Hell for Dudes Who Creep on Women

dog of the demon in the Hell for Dudes Who Creep on Women 




Didja Know?


Big Trouble in Little China: Old Man Jack is a 12-issue limited series published by IDW in 2017-2018.


Didja Notice?


As Jack reminisces about the crazy things he's seen in his life on page 1, the flashback images presented are of David Lo Pan, the Hell of the Upside-Down Sinners, and the Hell-Beast (named Pete by Jack) from Big Trouble in Little China in the first three panels. The fourth panel of a mustachioed waitress is apparently from an unseen adventure.


As our story opens, we find Jack in Palatka, Florida.


On page 2, a restaurant called Greasehole is seen in Palatka. This is a fictitious establishment...I hope.


On page 3, Jack quotes, "No man is an island." This is a line from Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, a 1624 book of prose meditations by John Donne, English poet and cleric.


Though it's about 35 years after the events of Big Trouble in Little China, Jack still wears his trademark Oriental tank top. Perhaps the shirt has been duplicated any number of times in his wardrobe due to the magic that also replenishes his stock of beer in Palatka. 


On page 5, Jack's memory shows the demon god of the east, Ching Dai, rewarding him for his "service". Ching Dai was first mentioned in Big Trouble in Little China as the demonic god worshipped by Lo Pan. As far as I can tell, Ching Dai is a piece of mythology made up for the film. Here, Ching Dai is presented as possessing six arms. Ching Dai


During Jack's memory with Ching Dai on page 5, notice that half of Jack's right arm is missing. We learn the reason for this in "Old Man Jack" Part 3.


On page 7, Jack sits down to read his favorite periodical. We don't see the title, but the front and back covers appear to feature attractive women in jumpsuits posed in front of a semi truck. We previously learned that Jack's second favorite periodical was Cat Fancy in Big Trouble in Mother Russia and Big Trouble in Merrie Olde England.


On page 8, Jack considers his predicament of being trapped behind the wall of fire surrounding Palatka as a classic Chekhov's Cat scenario. He seems to confusing three different principles named after three different people. Jack doesn't know what is on the other side of the wall of fire or whether he can survive driving through it, so he is really thinking of the Schrödinger's Cat thought experiment which demonstrates, in a large scale manner, the indefinite state of two subatomic particles that can be in one of two states, but which are in neither state until it is measured (observed). The other two principles he's confusing it with are Pavlov's Dog and Chekhov's Gun.


Page 12 describes Ching Dai as ruling Earth from his throne in San Francisco's Chinatown.


On page14, Jack says the winch on the front of the Pork-Chop Express got him out of the mud-wrestling massacre of '85.


Jack finds himself in the Hell of Minor Discomforts.


On page 17, Jack remarks that he's seen IKEAs that are more hellish than the Hell of Minor Discomforts.


Jack once again comes upon the reincarnated Lo Pan in the Hell for Dudes Who Creep on Women.


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