Cover A of this issue is a symbolic collage of the
characters featured, not directly related to the events of
the story. Notice that Buckaroo is carrying a six-shooter
and a samurai sword, reflecting his Western and Eastern
heritage; on his right arm, he is wearing pieces of samurai
armor. Perfect Tommy is holding a watermelon, a reference to
the watermelon clamped into a vice in one of the labs of the
Banzai Institute in
Across the 8th Dimension...I'll tell you later.
The story's title is a play on the 1915 W. Somerset
novel Of Human Bondage.
The story opens on the tour bus of the Hong Kong Cavaliers,
making its way between Omaha, Nebraska and Cheyenne,
Wyoming. This means the bus is probably on Interstate 80,
which runs the roughly 500 miles between the two cities.
It's clear the story is opening some time before
Across the 8th Dimension
because Buckaroo's fiancé, Peggy, is with him on the tour bus. They eventually do
marry, but she will die under mysterious circumstances, with
his arch-nemesis Hanoi Xan suspected of her murder.
On page 2, Buckaroo calls Peggy "Little Boots", possibly a
pet name he has for her.
Page 3 states that Buckaroo
was 4 years old when he witnessed his father's death in a
jet car prototype. But the boy presented
"A Tomb With a View"
(where we witness it with him) seems at least twice as old
Buckaroo's mother on page 3 does not bear much of a
resemblance to the one seen in
"A Tomb With a View".
And neither of them look particularly like actress Jamie Lee
Curtis as Mrs. Banzai seen
in the extended version of the film Across the
Page 4 states that Buckaroo's father sent him to live among
the Apaches, but in
"A Tomb With a View",
it is his mother who does it.
Page 4 also states that Buckaroo's surrogate father on the
reservation was Spotted Eagle.
"A Tomb With a View"
suggests that this man was also the chief of the tribe.
Page 5 reveals that Buckaroo headed for Nashville to play
his music when he was just 14 years old.
Buckaroo eventually signs a recording contract with producer-legend
Audio Murphy. This is a play on the name of Audie Murphy
the American WWII hero and later movie star who also had
some success with country-western music.
Page 7 reveals that Buckaroo graduated from
University and then went to medical school at
University's College of Physicians and Surgeons and then
to M.I.T. (Massachusetts
Institute of Technology) for a doctorate in
Jewish-Chinese Physics. Don't know what
Jewish-Chinese Physics is.
Page 8 suggests that the original lineup of Buckaroo's band
was four other grad students from the Boston area (where
M.I.T. is located): "Perfect Tommy" Abbott, "Reno" Salazar,
"Rawhide" Tanner, and "Illinois Mongoose" Kawolski
"Return of the Screw"
Part 1, Illinois Mongoose is said to be someone named
Jimmy Oh). The band
also appears to have gone through at least four different
names before becoming the world-renowned Hong Kong
Cavaliers: BB and the 4 Horsemen, Buckaroo and Hong Kong
Crew, Banzai & the Beantown Cavaliers, and Buckaroo and the
Hong Kong Howlers. (Regarding "Beantown", it is a nickname
Rawhide's nickname is probably intended ironically
considering a "rawhide" is an animal skin which has not been
tanned (the process of producing leather from animal hides)
and his last name is Tanner.
Page 8 also implies that Audio Murphy and Buckaroo's mom
Page 9 reveals that Buckaroo won the Nobel Prize for the
OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER when he was 28 (even though the
device doesn't work yet!).
As the Cavaliers join him on stage for a performance on page
9, Buckaroo shouts, "Gonna rock...rock solid...let's go
through solid rock!" The "go through solid rock" line is a
reference to what he'll soon do with the aid of the
OSCILLATION OVERTHRUSTER in
Across the 8th Dimension.
Buckaroo's double, Wilbur Turnbull, is from
On page 12, Buckaroo tells Wilbur that his heroes were Hank
Williams and Albert Einstein.
Hank Williams (1923-1953) was a country-western
singer-songwriter and musician. We've already
the renowned theoretical physicist Albert Einstein in
"A Tomb With a View",
where he was also a friend of Buckaroo's father, the
original Dr. Banzai.
On page 15, Buckaroo has a hidden laboratory in a restaurant
called The Long March in Changsha, China. As the narrative
states, Changsha is the capital of Hunan province. The
restaurant's name of The Long March is a reference to a
massive year-long military retreat in 1934-35 by China's Red
Army, led by Mao Zedong, from the Kuomintang Army of General
On page 16, Rawhide mentions a tour date in Sioux City and
two canceled ones in Omaha and Dubuque. These are references
to the real world cities of Sioux City and Dubuque in Iowa
and Omaha in Nebraska.
On page 18, Buckaroo mentions the secret yak police may be
tailing them as they ride horses out of Changsha. I'm
presuming the secret yak police are a fictional construct of
the BB universe.
Also on page 18, Peggy comments on Buckaroo's Chinese test
site as being overrun with "red Chinese ants". This is a
somewhat deprecatory reference to the workers of "Red" China
being communists. Perfect Tommy also uses the phrase "chop
suey commie" for similar effect.
On page 19, Buckaroo remarks that the Chinese workers who
are building the tunnel accelerator for his experiment think
they are building an amusement park ride (which it will
eventually become, he says). On page 20, he and his gang are
at a celebration that appears to be for the building of
Buckarooland, presumably the name of the amusement-park-to-be. The sign hanging above the table of the guests of honor
is written in stereotypical broken English: HALLELUJAH
BUCKAROOLAND! RIDE 'EM COWBOYS IN GREAT CIRCLES THROUGH
AMUSEMENT OF THE PEOPLES!!!
On page 20, Peggy makes the comment, "Even when I'm alone, I
feel like there's another with me." This feeling of hers
could be interpreted as the connectedness alleged to exist between
twin siblings, a retro-foreshadowing of the appearance of
her unknown twin sister Penny in
Across the 8th Dimension. They even have the
same haircut. This assumes that Penny actually is/was
Peggy's twin sister and not some alternate fiendish plot by
Hanoi Xan as hinted in some other sources.
At the end of the issue, Buckaroo and Peggy are attacked by
what he refers to as Deathheads (and also remarks that
they're eunuchs). Deathheads are Hanoi Xan's
specially-trained soldiers of the World Crime League.
Although it's not obvious in the one panel appearance of
this issue, in
"Of Hunan Bondage" Part 2 and
later stories, they are depicted as working as couples, with
one man riding on the shoulders of the other, thus making a
two-headed, four-armed attacker!
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