Among the artifacts of cult movies, none is quirkier than 1984’s The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. Released when SF movies were still considered “geek stuff” and not mainstream, it was made to be a cult film, with a dreamy cast — Peter Weller, Ellen Barkin, John Lithgow, Jeff Goldblum, Christopher Lloyd, Clancy Brown — convoluted plotline, and quotable lines galore. The idea was simple: a superstar crossover adventurer, Buckaroo Banzai (Weller) and his colorful sidekicks save the earth from an alien invasion. Mustering all the eccentricity that the ’80s had on tap, the film was somehow both endearing and mystifying. Director WD Richter and creator E. M. Rauch made sure the movie has remained an oddball little-traversed byway of nerd culture ever since — although the ultimate ’80s feel-good closing credits scene has been referenced a few times, most notably in the likeminded Life Aquatic of Steve Zissou (with Goldblum appearing in both).
In the 37 years since its release, there has been plenty of sporadic talk about a sequel, but no movie or TV show — despite Hollywood’s obsession with repurposing every scrap of IP, Buckaroo Banzai remains just too weird and off-kilter to risk millions of dollars on. The closest it came was a series of comics from tiny publisher Moonstone, also written by creator E.M. Rauch. But according to Rauch, the story of Buckaroo Banzai was always supposed to be continued in a series of prose novels.
And now, finally, all these years later, there is an official official sequel: Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League, et al: A Compendium of Evils is a 544-page novel written by Rauch coming in August from Dark Horse. Well, we say it’s written by Rauch, but the credits say it’s “as told by” the Reno Kid.
Relating the further adventures of doctor/adventurer/rock star Banzai, the book picks up where the movie left off:
Still mourning the losses of his beloved Penny Priddy and his surrogate father Professor Hikita, Buckaroo Banzai must also contend with the constant threat of attack from his immortal nemesis Hanoi Xan, ruthless leader of the World Crime League. To make matters worse, Planet 10 warrior queen John Emdall has sent her Lectroid legions against Earth with a brutal ultimatum. Or is her true target Buckaroo Banzai? As the apocalyptic threats continue to mount, only Buckaroo and his Hong Kong Cavaliers stand in the way of global destruction—or in the words of one of the movie’s iconic lines: “Laugh-a while you can, monkey boy!”
Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League is a 544-page hardcover prose novel and will retail for $29.99. It will be available everywhere books are sold August 10, 2021. It is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and at your local comic shop and bookstore.