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Adventures of Jack Burton
Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Adventures of Jack Burton: The Extraterrestrial Highway Adventures of Jack Burton
"The Extraterrestrial Highway"
Big Trouble in Little China #6 (BOOM! Studios)
Story by John Carpenter and Eric Powell
Writer: Eric Powell
Artist: Brian Churilla
Colorist: Lisa Moore
Letterer: Ed Dukeshire
Cover A: Eric Powell
November 2014

 

Jack and Wang are pursued by the Zhang brothers; Miao Yin shows a new side.

 

Story Summary

 

Hiding along the Midnight Road, Miao Yin shows Egg a new side to her personality, revealing that she has some martial arts skills and will no longer allow herself to be pushed around by their enemies.

 

Meanwhile, Jack is saved from a biker brawl by an old friend, Moonie Joe, but Jack and Wang are both unknowingly being pursued by the Zhang brothers, after the bounty placed on their heads by Lo Pan. Jack and Wang plan to lay low by travelling the all-but-abandoned Boot Nail highway and conspiracy theorist Joe warns them about the ghost of the killer alien that haunts that stretch of road. Jack is extremely skeptical.

 

Leaving the bar, Jack and Wang camp on the side of the Boot Nail highway that night. The Zhang brothers come for them but are themselves intercepted by the alien ghost.

 

CONTINTUED IN BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #7

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Miao Yin

Miao Hui (mentioned only)

Egg Shen

Lords of Death (mentioned only)

Lo Pan (mentioned only)

Gracie Law

Jack Burton

Wang Chi

Mable (presumably killed by Zhang brothers in this issue)

Moonie Joe (aka Pres, dies in this issue)

Wing Kong (mentioned only)

Zhang brothers

Steve Terwilliger (dies in this issue)

Boot Nail alien

 

Didja Know?

 

The issues of this series did not have individual titles. I chose the title "The Extraterrestrial Highway" based on a concept that appears in this issue.

 

Didja Notice?

 

This issue reveals that Miao Yin's father is a holy man and warrior named Miao Hui.

 

This issue reveals that Gracie Law is currently in Tibet campaigning for the ethical treatment of livestock.

 

Trying to talk his way out of a fight at the biker bar, Jack says, "Aren't we all Americans? And this kind of conflict between Americans...am I the only one sickened by the idea of the red Ivans having the last laugh?" By "red Ivans", he is referring to the Russian Soviet Union of the time, when the Cold War was still hanging over the world. "Red" refers to communism and "Ivan" is a name occasionally used as a generic for a male Russian by foreigners.

 

Moonie Joe remarks on a time when Jack got beat up by a juggler in Cincinnati.

 

Moonie Joe gives Wang a drink called a sling shot which makes him throw up the bad burrito he'd eaten. As far as I know, this is a drink unique to this bar.

 

The price of gas at a station on page 9 is .93 9/10. This is, in fact, the average price of a gallon of regular gas in the U.S. in 1986 when this story takes place!

 

Moonie Joe tells Jack that the Lords of Death have put a bounty on his head and every lowlife "from here to Tampa" is gonna have their sights set on him.

 

To try to avoid trouble, Jack tells Moonie Joe he's going to take the old Boot Nail Highway, an all-but-abandoned route through the desert that has been bypassed by an interstate. This appears to be a fictitious highway, though the description is apt enough for any number of old highways in the American west.

 

Moonie Joe seems to scoff at the idea that the old highway is "scenic", saying, "...if you're in the Addams Family." The Addams Family is familial group of macabre characters created by Charles Addams in 1938 as a one-panel comic strip and later appearing in TV and film.

 

On pages 11-16, the height of the back rest in the booth Jack, Wang, and Joe are sitting in changes from panel to panel.

 

Jack accuses Joe of thinking that Elvis was a Bigfoot. This refers to famous rock 'n' roller Elvis Presley, who has several far-out conspiracy theories attached to his legend. Bigfoot is a cryptozoological hominid some people believe lives (mostly) in the American northwest.

 

The crashed flying saucer story Joe tells about the Boot Nail highway is a play on the infamous Roswell incident of 1947, down to the government claiming the crashed object was just a weather balloon.

 

Joe says the alien from the saucer crash raided Fat Andy's Western Wear for clothing in an attempt to blend in. Fat Andy's Western Wear is a fictitious business. Jack accuses Joe that his alien story is just him thinking of "Rapture" by Blondie. "Rapture" is a 1980 song by pop group Blondie. The music video of the song features a "Man from Mars" in a suit and top hat.

 

Joe warns Jack and Wang not to pick up any hitchhikers that look like an extraterrestrial dressed like Hank Williams. Williams (1923-1953) was a singer-songwriter known mostly for his country-western songs; or Joe may be referring to that man's son, Hank Williams Jr., also a renowned country-western singer-songwriter.

 

On page 19, Jack remarks, "...I would have paid for front row seats in the vote fight for Reagan had I seen Hellcats of the Navy before that election." Hellcats of the Navy is a 1952 film starring Ronald Reagan as a U.S. submarine commander in WWII. Reagan, of course, later entered politics and was President of the United States from 1981-1989.

 

On page 20, Wang says, "There are stranger things in Heaven and Earth, Jack, than a drunk can dream of." He is rephrasing a quote from Shakespeare's Hamlet, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy."


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