The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Important Numbers – 88

Posted by BigWords on August 12, 2011

This has come up a staggering number of times, so it is probably time to explain (in full) my take on significant numbers, because it seems that 88 is more than merely the infinity symbol doubled and placed on their side – it’s my personal arc number. It crops up in the oddest places, and when I’m least expecting it, and making note of the appearances makes the sightings more frequent. I’ve made mention of my fetish for the number four (and multiples thereof) numerous times, and the internet has made the appearances of the number more obvious to me.

This post has been delayed time and time again while I wrestled with the thorny subject of unsavory connections to the number, but I’m going to go ahead and completely ignore the little-minded bigots who have hijacked a perfectly good geek number. Any comments pointing out the omission, or attempting to bring the subject to the fore, will be deleted, and the individuals added to my list. Yes. I have a list.

I’m laying this out in the format of a TV Tropes page. No, I’m not going to apologize for that fact – if you’re dumb enough to spend the rest of the day on an archive binge, that’s entirely your fault…

Manga & Anime

The manga Area88 by Kaoru Shintani, which was then made into OAV’s, an anime series, and computer games.
The ‘Mausoleum of Eighty-Eight Emperors’ in Code Geass.
Kamikaze – Imprisoned for a thousand years, eighty-eight fabled beasts seek resurrection from their world so that they can unleash their wrath upon present-day Japan.

Comic Books

The Dick Tracy comic strip featured a character called 88 Keys, who was (quelle surprise) a piano player. He even hid a corpse in his piano at one point…
Marvel Comics’ supervillain Pandemic, who defeated Rogue’s X-Men squad and infected her with Strain 88, hoping to gain her powers.
The “Alternate 88” universe from Zenith, which is home to the supergroup Black Flag – Acid Android Archie, 93 Mantra, D.J.Chill, Domino and Smiley Sun.
A character named 88 turned up in Marvel Comics’ Nomad #23.


The classic, pop-culture soaked, modern pulp film The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai Across The Eighth Dimension has the number 88 showing up regularly. The band even sings Rocket 88 (see below) during a performance.
In the Back To The Future trilogy, the Doc’s tricked-out DeLorean is required to reach 88mph in order to travel through time.
The Dick Tracy feature film gave some screen time to the aforementioned 88 Keys (played by Mandy Patinkin).
In Kill Bill O-Ren Ishii’s army of katana-wielding, Kato-masked heavies is known as the Crazy 88.
88 is also the name of a gang in the remake of Gridiron Gang starring The Rock. Watch Kill Bill instead…
Assassin droid IG-88 from the The Empire Strikes Back, who also appears in an episode of the animated Droids TV series.
88 Keys To Heartbreak.
88 Minutes – a film (ironically, 108 minutes long) which feels much, much longer than eighty-eight minutes…

Live Action Television

Dialogue from the My Name Is Earl episode The Professor

Randy: Says we need a password. I’ll try carrot.
Earl: Why carrot?
Randy: Who would think of carrot?
Earl: You did.
Randy: You’re right. I’ll try carrot 88… no 89. Dammit! I can only think of things I can think of.


The number eight (and multiples thereof) are scattered throughout Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels. Roundworld, for example, has 88 constellations, while 88% is the passing grade score in a test Ponder Stibbons took. Additionally, an eighth son of an eighth son becomes a wizard, while a wizard’s eighth son (the eighth son of an eighth son of an eighth son) becomes a Sourcerer, a very powerful wizard.
There is a novel called The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber.
88: The Narrow Road by Felix Dennis (a get rich quick title)


Rocket 88 by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, which is considered to be the first rock ‘n’ roll song.

The 1949 instrumental track Rocket 88 Boogie by Pete Johnson.
In addition to the song, there is also a band named Rocket 88, who play rock and roll standards.
Record producer and rapper 88-Keys.
Sonic Vs. Taste T, and Public Relation have both recorded songs called Eighty-Eight, while Tapesh recorded one called Bring Back 88.
The 88.
The number crops up in a lot of musical references thanks to the number of keys on a piano…
Dizzee Rascal’s video for Bonkers features a clock which reads 88:88.


In Chinese culture 8 is very important.

Western Animation

The short-lived Back To The Future animated spin-off (see above).
Various Dick Tracy animated series over the years, with 88 Keys playing a greater or lesser role depending on the tastes of the writers.
Number 88 in American Dragon Jake Long. All the students are called by their numbers in the Huntsclan training Academy, but 88 is referred to by his number even when he is not in the academy.
Experiment 88, Decrisper, in Leroy & Stitch. He’s a yellow, kangaroo-like experiment designed to make Jumba’s burnt food less crispy.

Computer Games

Aside from IG-88, who appeared in the original film trilogy, there is a droid named 8T88 in Star Wars Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II.
World of Warcraft guild “The Crazy Eighty Eight of Exodar”.

Web Original

In Arctos Comics‘ universe, The Royal Guard is made up of eighty-eight of the best of all the tir’a warriors.
Panel88, a comic-book company.

Real Life

There are 88 keys on the modern piano (thirty-six black and fifty-two white), and a piano is sometimes referred to as “eighty eight”.
General Motors’ Oldsmobile V8 is commonly known as the Rocket 88
Quavers. Eighty-eight calories of pure genius.
There are 88 constellations in the sky, as defined by the International Astronomical Union.
The traditional bingo call for the number 88 is two fat ladies (not to be confused with the television show)
88 means “bye bye” in Chinese-language chat, text, SMS and IM conversations. “88” is pronounced in Chinese (Mandarin) as “bā bā”, which mimics the English “bye bye”.
Similarly, 88 is used by ham radio operators meaning “hugs and kisses”.
Such is the lure of the number, there is actually a town called Eighty Eight in Kentucky.
The Prayer of Repentance by Reverently Prostrating to Eighty-Eight Buddhas.
Stephen F. Smalley is painting 88 portraits of Henry VIII for an exhibition.
The 88open Consortium was an industry standards group created in 1988 by Motorola to standardize Unix systems on Motorola 88000 RISC processor systems.
’88-level’ is a named condition in the COBOL programming language.
Dale Earnhart Jr’s NASCAR car number
The QBU-88 rifle (often called the ‘Type 88’ rifle) is a Chinese semi-automatic rifle which has appeared in numerous computer games including Battlefield 2, Battlefield: Bad Company, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, Battlefield 2: Modern Combat, Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days, and Operation Flashpoint: Dragon Rising.
The eighty-eight facet diamond – and it is an eight sided diamond, no less.
The de Havilland DH.88 Comet – a twin-engined British aircraft. ‘Grosvenor House’ was the name of the model which won the 1934 MacRobertson Air Race (for which the plane was initially designed), setting numerous aviation records. The DH.88 became one of the pioneers of airmail.
The 88-Inch Cyclotron which is a K=140 sector-focused cyclotron with both light- and heavy-ion capabilities. Protons and other light-ions are available at high intensities (10-20 pµA) up to maximum energies of 55 MeV (protons), 65 MeV (deuterons), 170 MeV (3He) and 140 MeV (4He). Most heavy ions through uranium can be accelerated to maximum energies which vary with the mass and charge state. I’m sure they are being responsible though
Taco Bell’s television commercials, radio spots and print ads featuring franchisees and employees extolling its taco filling. In one of the ads, an employee says, “Our seasoned beef is 88% premium ground beef and 12% signature recipe. If you want to see that signature recipe, go to It’s right there.”
The 88 is an ongoing project that will consist of 88 different works with a common background and each piece measuring 8″x 8″. “It is one work that will be made in 88 pieces which will be sold for $88 each. The intention is to bring the pieces together at the end of the project and party like it’s 1988 but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Why 88? I do what the voices in my head tell me to do. This gallery will feature the pieces from this series, check back and see how it all works out…”
The 88 Drive-in Theatre in Colorado
The 88 Butterfly (Diaethria species)
The 88 Plan, which is designed to assist NFL players under the Bert Bell/Pete Rozelle NFL Player Retirement Plan and who are determined to have dementia.

Additions to the list are welcomed. 🙂


4 Responses to “Important Numbers – 88”

  1. Now I know I’ll be seeing 88 everywhere.

    Thanks Bigwords. 😉

  2. bigwords88 said

    LOL. There are variations everywhere – you just need to open your eyes and you’ll be seeing the signs all around you. It’s just like Final Destination or The Number 23

  3. You have a fabulous blog! I’m an author and illustrator and I made some awards to give to fellow bloggers whose sites I enjoy. It’s not a pass on award. This is just for you to keep. I want to award you the Brilliant Writer Blog Award for all the hard work you do!

    Go to and pick up your award.

  4. bigwords88 said

    Much thanks. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: