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Adventures of Jack Burton

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Adventures of Jack Burton: The Samurai of Wall Street Adventures of Jack Burton
"The Samurai of Wall Street"
Big Trouble in Little China #14 (BOOM! Studios)
Written by Fred Van Lente
Illustrated by Joe Eisma
Colors by Gonzalo Duarte
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Cover by Jay Shaw
August 2015

 

Jack must become the Amazing '80s Ossified Man again to get his truck back from Shido.

 

Story Summary

 

Jack is reintroduced to now mega-successful attorney Gracie Law, who tells him about demented '80s collector Buddy Shido who has possession of the Pork-Chop Express. She has been trying to take down Shido as the man behind the U.S. sub-prime mortgage crisis as well. Jack agrees to impersonate himself as the Amazing '80s Ossified Man in order to be sold to Shido for his collection, then busts out of his containment case inside Shido's collection warehouse.

 

CONTINTUED IN BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA #15

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this issue

 

Jack Burton

Gracie Law

Wang Chi

Buddy Shido

Joystick

Lt. John Attila

The Gadgeteer

Jheri Lee

Miao Yin (mentioned only)

Winona Chi

Egg Shen (mentioned only)

Shido's bodyguards 

 

Didja Know?

 

The issues of this series did not have individual titles. I chose the title "The Samurai of Wall Street" from the nickname of Buddy Shido, whose backstory is given in this issue.

 

Didja Notice?

 

Wang tells Jack that Gracie took on the tobacco companies in a class-action lawsuit over the cartoon spokesweevil Joe Backy. Joe Backy is a play on the Joe Camel (or Old Joe) advertising mascot of Camel cigarettes. Also, here, Gracie seems to be a stand-in for real world San Francisco attorney Janet Mangini, who successfully brought a suit against R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company alleging that the Joe Camel character was aimed at priming children for a future of smoking Camel cigarettes. Here, Joe Backy ("backy" is an occasional nickname for tobacco) seems to be a cross between Joe Camel and Spuds McKenzie, a dog mascot for Bud Light beer from 1987 to 1989.

 

Gracie tells Jack that Buddy Shido modeled his hedge fund management practices on ancient Japanese texts like The Book of the Five Rings. This is probably a reference to The Book of Five Rings, a book on martial arts by Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645)

 

On page 3, "Negamaki" of "Negamaki Tower" is misspelled as "Negimaki".

 

This issue reveals that the Negamaki Tower in which Mr. Shido lives is in Los Angeles' Little Tokyo district. This is an actual district in Los Angeles. Negamaki Tower is fictitious.

 

On page 4, Jack misremembers the title of the movie based on his Chinatown exploits (Big Trouble in Little China) as Something Smells Funny in Chinatown.

 

On page 6, Wang has fallen on the floor and can't get up. This is a reference to a widely-played television commercial in the late 1980s for the LifeCall medical alarm pendant which is a dramatization of an elderly woman falling in her home and calling for help, saying, "I've fallen and I can't get up!"

 

After Wang falls and asks for help, "Michael" calls him "homeslice". "Homeslice" is a slang term for "friend" that originated in black youth culture in the 1980s.

 

    The Lieutenant's name is revealed to be John Attila, leading the odd group of 80's commandos. He tells Jack that he and his team were formerly Alpha Group of U.S. Army Special Forces until they were framed for a crime they didn't commit during the invasion of Grenada and sentenced to a maximum security stockade from which they soon escaped. This is an obvious homage to the 1980s action-adventure TV series The A-Team (even the team leader's name is similar; George Peppard played Lt. Colonel John "Hannibal" Smith). The invasion of Grenada by the U.S. took place in 1983 after a revolutionary party on the island overthrew the rightfully elected government. Our group of commandos here seems too young to have taken part in the 1983 invasion.

    The Alpha Group also rides around in a black van (seen more clearly in "Encino Man" than here), as the A-Team did. 

  

This issue reveals the "Michael Jackson" character to be named Jehri Lee. The "Jheri" part of the name is likely borrowed from the Jheri curl hairstyle popular among many black celebrities of the 1980s, including Michael Jackson. Notice that the character here is always seen with damp stains on the shoulders of his shirt; the hairstyle requires the use of moisturizers which are known to stain the clothing of the wearer and even the furniture it comes into contact with.

 

In the flashback on page 7, the Alpha Group is seen escaping from prison using what appear to be cabbage guns...very large-barreled guns that shoot non-lethal cabbages at the guards. In The A-Team episode "Labor Pains", the team used a wood-chipper to shoot cabbages at evil capitalists who were exploiting field workers. The Gadgeteer uses one again in "Big Trouble in Little Tokyo".

 

The closing statements by Attila as he tells the origin of the Alpha Group on page 7 are similar to the closing lines of the opening credits narrative of most episodes of The A-Team.

 

Gracie believes that Shihdo was behind the sub-prime mortgage crisis that nearly caused a new depression in '08. The sub-prime mortgage crisis was an actual series of events that played a large role in what has been called the Great Recession of about 2007-2010, which affected the entire world.

 

Gracie tells Jack that one of her clients is an NSA whistleblower currently residing in Moscow. This is a reference to former U.S. government employee Edward Snowden, who leaked NSA information to the public about government surveillance programs aimed at the general public in 2013 and had to flee to Russia for asylum, where he still resides.

 

The out-of-his-time Jack, not recognizing what a smartphone is, asks Wang if he keeps Virginia Slims in it. Virginia Slims is a cigarette brand, largely marketed to women.

 

While begging Jack to be allowed to accompany him on his latest adventure, Wang admits that he hasn't fought with anybody since the first Dubya term and that 9/11 really messed with his chi. "Dubya" is a nickname given to George W. Bush, who was President of the United States from 2001-2009. "9/11" is the term commonly used in the U.S. for the day (September 11, 2001) that the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization launched four attacks on U.S. landmarks in the United States, destroying the World Trade Center in New York and damaging the Pentagon. "Chi" is a Chinese term that stands for a being's life essence.

 

On page 13, Wang tells Jack that Egg Shen went back to China and Winona buried herself in the old magic books he left behind.

 

After turning Jack over to Shido's bodyguards on page 17, Winona jokes to give her a good seller review on eBay.

 

Also on page 17, Shido says "Konbanwa, Burton-san" to the sleeping figure of Jack. Konbanwa is Japanese for "good evening" and san is a Japanese honorific, standing for "Mr.", "Mrs.", and "Ms."

 

Shido remarks on a conference call he is on with Macao. Macao is an autonomous territory of China.

 

On pages 18-19, Jack finds himself in a room filled with a bunch of Shido's '80s memorabilia:

 

 
  • The "Whence the Beef?" poster refers to the "Where's the Beef?" advertising campaign of the Wendy's fast food restaurant chain.
 
  • Bolt Cola refers to Jolt Cola
 
  • The portrait hanging on the wall is presumably Ronald Reagan, President of the United States from 1981-1989.
 
  • That's Life, a parody name for the board game The Game of Life.
 
  • Simon, an electronic game
 
  • What appears to be a Cabbage Patch Kid doll and a Garbage Pail Kid doll (though the Garbage Pail Kids line was a series of parody trading cards, no dolls were released at the time)
 
  • Rudy Fluxpin, a parody of the Teddy Ruxpin line of animatronic teddy bear toys
 
  • Lite-Lite, a parody of the Lite-Brite toy
 
  • Rainbow B, presumably referring to Rainbow Brite, an '80s animated series and doll line that continues to this day

 

When Jack successfully manages to reopen the door in the room of colored squares on page 20, he shouts, "Yahtzee!" Yahtzee is a dice game sold in the U.S. by the Milton Bradley Company since the 1950s.

 

On page 21, two of Shido's bodyguards are seen playing a cabinet video game called Ghost Munches, possibly a parody of Pac-Man.


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