Back to the Future has been in at the front of public consciousness recently as the world celebrated “Back to the Future Day” on October 21st 2015. The day Marty McFly travelled forward to was met with celebrations the world over including big screen cinema showings of the trilogy, special edition adverts from future products and DeLorean’s cruising the streets of major cities (although clearly struggling to get up to 88mph in London traffic).
So it was to the delight of many fans that IDW announced a new limited run Back to the Future comic. With an initial four issues, the comics go under the subtitle of “untold tales and alternate timelines,” featuring stories by Bob Gale (co-writer of BTTF with Robert Zemeckis). Having one of the original creators of the franchise writing does more than just give the comics a mark of quality, it shows that the franchise is being protected, with Zemeckis unequivocal about there not being any remakes.
Bob Gale’s afterward in the comic is very telling of just how much care is given to the world and characters the fans have come to love. The stories will not retell the events already known or change the characters. As Gale says “We certainly can’t do them any better here… or in any other medium.” These stories will instead fill in blanks and explore more of what happened in the alternate 1985, a timeline with Biff’s Empire running the show, and how he got away with the murder of George McFly.
Issue one has the complete story of how Marty and Doc Brown first met and starts a second story involving the Doc’s work on the Manhattan Project. The dialogue and stories feel true to the characters and references to Clara, Jules and Verne show a brief glimpse of the Doc working on building the new Flux Capacitor for the eventual steam powered time machine. The comic is exactly what it should be, in fact what all comics continuations of movies should be, an opportunity to show more of the world, more of the characters we love and what they did outside of the tales we have seen without retreading old ground.
The artwork differs as the publishers elected to give different artists the chance to illustrate each story, helping to give each a unique feel, enriching the comic by seeing how each approaches the familiar characters while adding a fresh feel to each story as the reader comes to it.
With such a strong start and such a lot of love behind it, it can only be hoped that IDW decide four issues are not enough and commission more.
Back to the Future issue 1 is in stores now, featuring When Marty Met Emmett with story by Bob Gale (Back to the Future, 1941, Tales from the Crypt), script by Bob Gale & John Barber (Dark of the Moon, Transformers:Robots in Disguise), art by Brent Schoonover (Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D.), inks by Davit Witt, colours by Kelly Fitzpatrick and Looking for a Few Good Scientists with story by Bob Gale, script by Erik Burnham (Ghostbusters, The A-Team), art by Dan Schoening (Ghostbusters) and colours by Luis Antonio Delgado.