He was a surgeon, a rock star, a comic book hero, and he came from the ’80s. But enough about Rick Springfield. Buckaroo Banzai, the charismatic character from 1984’s cult favorite "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension"
(starring future Robocop, Peter Weller), achieved the above -- plus he practiced physics, raced cars, roughed-up aliens...all while donning Perry Ellis and Armani threads! Before you get all nerd-stalgic about the sequel that never was (read about "Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League" here), Moonstone Books has come in for the save, releasing brand-new comic-book stories about our favorite hipster adventurer.
“We’re just trying to keep it on — not life support — but we’re trying to grow an audience and see how much interest there is,” said "Buckaroo" creator Earl Mac Rauch, who scripted the movie and says he’s been too much of a perfectionist to ever take a crack at a sequel. But that’s starting to change: Last year, Rauch wrote a three-issue Buckaroo “prequel” called "Return of the Screw," and this fall finds two other tales on deck for release through Moonstone.
The first, "Of Hunan Bondage’s" issue 2 (illustrated by Chew Chan), finds “Buckaroo in China. He has taken [girlfriend] Penny Priddy back to see his Mongolian roots,” says Rauch. “They’re having a nice little sight-seeing vacation until Penny gets kidnapped. [Then] Buckaroo…undergoes a bit of torture.” Meanwhile, in "Buckaroo Banzai: Big Size #1: Wild Asses of the Kush" (illustrated by Paul Hanley), Buckaroo buddy Perfect Tommy is traversing in the Afghan mountains to shoot a documentary on an endangered species of Wild Ass. (Note: a real party animal!) “They get involved with nefarious types who have a link to the World Crime League,” notes Rauch. “Buckaroo comes in where we least expect it. Almost anything can be a Buckaroo adventure.”
So are these technically prequels or sequels? “If you hold me to a strict chronological timeline I’m gonna get tripped up,” Rauch said, giggling. “The whole point of Buckaroo is that we all live in different dimensions, dimensions that are shifting.” Unlike DC and Marvel titles, which adhere to strict codes of continuity, Rauch’s stories are simply sundry escapades that could ostensibly fit anywhere into his Buckaroo-verse.
Presently percolating additions to that canon include "A Tomb With a View" — which delves into the death of Banzai’s dad (“It gives Buckaroo some insight into life affected as a young boy”)—and "Art of Darkness." In the latter, our hero faces Hanoi Xan, the World Crime League kingpin behind the murder of Buckaroo’s parents. “It’s not a lot of action,” says Rauch. “The [plot] might change, but now it’s a catharsis [story] with Buckaroo trying to kill Hanoi Xan. But we try to get in a little bit of philosophy, a little deeper.”
To that end, he’s likewise got a Buckaroo book in the works. Tentatively titled "If You Finally Want a Book in Your Life," it’s “a 1,000 page novel that would be a more comprehensive vision” of his hero’s journey. Only Rauch isn’t nearly close to finishing it. Notes the author: “I’m just really strange in that I don’t like a lot of stuff that I end up writing…so I tend to procrastinate.” Which is explains why Rauch is finally getting his second wind twenty-some years after his breakout: “Comics are short. You know? You can do one and actually finish it. You don’t get tired of it.”
Check back tomorrow for our exclusive preview of the "Buckaroo Banzai" comics!
Who out there is pumped for new Buckaroo Banzai adventures in comics? Talk to us in the comments!