Feeling compelled by the recent controversial comments made by John Carpenter regarding “Friday the 13th”, Joe’s mind turned towards greater things. Those things, were his intense love for “Big Trouble in Little China”, Jade eyes, eternal life and comic book sequels.
“Have ya paid your dues, Jack?” “Yessir, the check is in the mail.”
I’m a big fan of “Big Trouble in Little China” (1986). It’s something that – for me – encapsulates the the entirety of 80’s American faux Chinese mysticism (that’s still pervasive in current cinema, as a kind of stereotype that’s become kind of acceptable) that I’d become fascinated with as a child from watching a tonne of old, long since forgotten kung fu movies, playing Mortal Kombat and pretending I was Lord Raiden whenever my cousins would come around. Directed by John Carpenter and starring Kurt Russell, Dennis Dun & Kim Cattrall; the film is a sort-of action comedy that centers on Jack Burton (Kurt) and Wang Chi (Dennis) as they try to save their love interests from the evil and ancient Lo Pan. Or David. It’s a film that flips convention on it’s head as it plays around with character roles, ultimately pairing off the roles of the gruff “macho man” and apparent ‘star of the show’ – Kurt – with his friend (and the more competent) Wang Chi, which was a revelation amongst action films at the time. But I didn’t understand any of that as a child, I just thought it was cool. So it’s no wonder that – in early 2014 – I’d discovered that there was going to be a comic book sequel published by BOOM! Studios, with Carpenter involved, and the massive talent behind Dark Horse’s “Goon” – Eric Powell – on the first 12 issues, my initial thought was – Cool.
To be honest, that was mixed with a bit of trepidation, that typical “they’re stepping on my grave” feeling one experiences from time to time. But within the first few issues that fear quickly dissipated. Coupled with the same levity, and some absolutely fantastic artwork, both inside and out, and a sense that this was an additive experience that only made my enjoyment of the original movie that much more. If you’ve been on the fence about this, or this is indeed the first time you’ve heard about such a comic, then here’s some reasons to check this ongoing series out.
5 things “Big Trouble in Little China” does right in the first 12 issues…
- It’s funny! – There’s absolute stand out moments in what I’ve read that still make me chuckle, including cutaways to Jack Burton recalling his ever expanding roster of ex-wives.
- The artwork is on point! – From the front covers that evoke the original movie posters, to the artwork by Brian Churilla which evokes the linework of I.N.J Culbard or Herge, and features colouring that pops right off the page. There’s a nice graphical simplicity to things.
- It’s a direct sequel! – It picks up directly where the film left off, with Jack Burton driving away in his truck. Egg Shen is back too!
- It builds upon the movie! – With the additions the comic provides, from Jack’s extended backstory to the exploration of Chinatown’s Black Road, the world of “Big Trouble…” is expanded on seamlessly.
- It’s all in the reflexes! – The writing team have nailed Jack’s witticisms. Look forward to many more one line wonders.
With all of that being said, I’ve only read the first 12 issues, and am aware of a change of creative staff on the next 13 issues, with Fred Van Lente taking the reigns from Powell on writing, and a few others replacing Churilla on artwork. Which means I can’t speak to that side of things, However, if the good fortune the comic seems to have had continues, I have no worries going forward with the series.
There’s only one question remaining…
You ready Jack?
I was born ready.