On the heels of the historic day when fandom got to live out the future of one of their most iconic time travel adventures, we get to go back to Back to the Future yet again thanks to the magic of comic books.
On October 21, 2015, IDW Publishing released the comic Back to the Future Issue #1. The combined efforts of writers Bob Gale and John Barber along with the artwork of Marcelo Ferreira and colors by Diego Rodriguez.
In what is billed by IDW as “Untold tales and alternate timelines,” the declaration by Doc Brown in the third film of the original trilogy that the future has not yet been written, readers and fans alike get to experience an apparent infinite array of storylines. All of this is just fine for fandom as long as the work follows the original idea, which after all was the brainchild of Gale anyway.
The adventures picks up (kinda) where the movies left off except the plot narration is from the viewpoint of Doc “Emmett” Brown rather than that of Marty McFly. The story arc has Doc still in the old west alongside his wife Clara (Clayton) and their two children Jules and Verne. Sure there is the danger that Doc’s interpretations could become as scatter brained as his inventions, but this unique perspective also opens the door for some new and imaginative stories we might not have been able to experience through the eyes of the much younger Marty.
Issue #1 begins with the chapter, “When Marty Met Emmett.” We don’t really learn any earth shattering insights into Marty’s character as he is still expressed as a charismatic youth with typical interests in girls and music. But we do get to see some of the unseen genius behind Doc’s twisted mind. The unsuspecting “test” he uses to assess potential applicants for an assistant position shows that there is a lot more reason behind the Doc’s actions than we are accustomed to.
Readers are also treated with a second chapter titled “Looking for a Few Good Scientists” which shows a much younger Doc in 1943. Again we are enlightened with the image of the eccentric inventor as he himself is being interviewed by government men before finally being introduced to J. Robert Oppenheimer, one of the fathers of the atomic bomb. This puts an interesting twist on the film plotline where Doc steals plutonium to power the time machine. It appears his genius has come full circle.
But who can stop with just one issue?
Back to the Future Issue #2 was released last week by IDW on November 11, 2015 with the chapter “The Doc Who Never Was,” which continues along the old west arc with Doc telling his children stories of his past. This time readers find the government once again pursuing Doc’s services, but the focus centers around the Cubin Missile Crisis and the question of how time travel might be used to save the world.
The second chapter in Issue #2, “Science Project,” spotlights Marty sifting through Docs lab in search of an idea for a school assignment. Though we get to see more of Marty, the highlight is the always distracted Doc who is looking for a unique car he hopes to transform into a time machine. Though not as absorbing as the other stories, it is still a fun read that provides some light and perhaps a much needed humorous touch.
It seems the early issues of this new series of comics from IDW are focused more on Doc Brown than Marty McFly, but it makes sense for the long haul. With all due respect to the latter character, none of these story arcs would work without the time traveling mad scientist. So if we’re going to continue the journey, Doc is the obvious choice to be the one to guide us.
As a fan of the original trilogy, I needed a “new” fix, a new chance to go back to Back to the Future. This is it and it works. Not only has Bob Gale and company given us the opportunity to return to our favorite time paradox saga, they are opening an array of new worlds and possibilities.
Issue #3 comes out in December. You have to wait like the rest of us…unless you have a flux capacitor…