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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

"Wild Asses of the Kush"
Buckaroo Banzai: Big Size #1
Story: Mac Rauch
Art: Paul Hanley
Covers: Michael Stribling (A), Paul Hanley (B) and (C)


Who is wiping out asses for their aphrodisiac properties? Who is the mysterious Blind Sheik? And just who is Dick Ready?


Story Summary


In the Kush region of South-Central Asia, endangered wild jackasses are being rounded-up for slaughter so their sexual organs can be sold as aphrodisiacs throughout the Orient. Buckaroo and the Cavaliers have assigned themselves to stop it, but find that the World Crime League is the major player behind the poaching.


While Buckaroo goes undercover as the Blind Sheik to infiltrate the native poachers, it turns out another undercover agent is embedded with them, but Perfect Tommy's temper and recklessness almost blow the operation.




Didja Know?


The character of Dick Ready originated in the 1986 pilot script of an unproduced TV series called Heroes in Trouble that was shopped by Earl Mac Rauch and W.D. Richter.


Didja Notice?


On cover A, the phallic-looking electrical device behind Buckaroo is a Tesla coil, a resonant transformer invented by Nikola Tesla in 1891. 


The story takes place in the Kush. This is a mountain range that stretches from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan. It is not clear in which of the two countries this story takes place.


The gun wielded by Michel, the leader of the ass wranglers, on pages 4-6 appears to be a Mauser C-96, a semi-automatic pistol manufactured by the German company Mauser from 1896-1937. This weapon was also the basis for Han Solo's blaster in the Star Wars series.
Michel's gun Mauser C96  
Blastech DL44, Han Solo's blaster (from Parts of Star Wars website)  


The head villain of the story is referred to as the Blind Sheik and Sheik Fakir. There is a real world person often called the Blind Sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman, the blind former leader of the Egyptian terrorist group Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya; he is now serving a life sentence in the United States for the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. The character in this story appears to be 1) fictional and 2) turns out to be Buckaroo Banzai in disguise.


On page 6, one of the Blind Sheik's followers refers to him as standing chief of the Pashto Kush. Pashto is the language spoken by the majority of Hindu inhabitants of the Kush.


On page 7, Reno remarks that wild ass scrotum is worth its weight in gold as an aphrodisiac in Bangkok. Bangkok is the capital of Thailand. As far as I have been able to determine, wild ass scrotum is not generally considered an aphrodisiac, even there.


On page 10, one of Buckaroo's men mentions the Khyber Pass. The Khyber Pass is an ancient and historically important mountain pass linking the countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan, along the old Silk Road trade route.


On page 15, panel 2, there are a number of easter eggs. There is a partially-eaten quarter-watermelon sitting on top of a phone deck. On four of the video monitors there are images of (from left to right) Dr. Lizardo, the BB logo of the Cavaliers, someone who looks a lot like Catwoman, and what appears to be some kind of alien. On the window pane on the left, there appears to be a windshield-wiper blade. Reno is eating from a can of Chata brand Mexican food (I can't make out what type of food is on the label).


On page 16, we see that High Sierra has a couple photos of the Cavaliers and Buckaroo taped up at her work station. The Cavaliers "photo" is actually one of the covers of Buckaroo Banzai: The Prequel #1 ("Of Hunan Bondage" Part 1). The Buckaroo photo is a scene from Across the 8th Dimension.


It would seem that the romance between Reno and Pecos (hinted at in previous stories) is no longer on; she intimates to High Sierra that she is in a relationship with Perfect Tommy.


The lyrics of the song Perfect Tommy is singing on page 17 do not appear to be from any well-known real world song.


Also on page 17, panel 1, there are, impossibly, stars shining through the dark portion of the crescent moon in the sky!


This story suggests that the World Crime League has its own musical band similar to the Hong Kong Cavaliers called the World Class Lotharios. They are signed with the White Culture Label.


On page 27, Tommy tells Dick Ready that their knife fight seems to be a Mexican standoff. A Mexican standoff is a pop-culture term describing two or more opposing parties (usually armed with guns rather than knives), standing off, each with an equal chance of killing one or more of the others at the same time.


On page 29, Dick Ready refers to the Blind Sheik as Sahib. "Sahib" is an Arabic word, essentially meaning "friend" in modern parlance, which has passed into numerous other languages. 


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