Four Letter Nerd

4LN Comic Review – Back to the Future #1

Series: Back to the Future
Writers: Bob Gale, John Barber, and Erik Burnham
Artists: Dan Schoening and Brent Schoonover
Publisher: IDW

Summary from Comixology:

“Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines,” part 1: BttF creator/screenwriter Bob Gale returns with all-new tales from the twisting and turning timeline that made Back to the Future a, well… TIMELESS pop-culture phenomenon! Take a trip back to 1985 and be there when Doc Brown and Marty McFly first meet, and then jump even farther back, to 1945, to witness Doc’s involvement in the super-secret Manhattan Project.”


If you’ve flipped on the TV at all in the last day or so, you are aware that today is the exact date that Marty McFly traveled to in the dystopian future in Back to the Future II.  Jokes have popped up all over the internet that do everything from lament the lack of hoverboards to comparing Donald Trump to Biff Tannen’s future self.  Seeing as how I am a big fan of the franchise, I couldn’t help but pick up this issue that contains two all new stories about one of America’s favorite film franchises.  One thing that makes this book even more exciting is that Bob Gale, the creator and screenwriter for Back to the Future, is heavily involved.  In fact, he wrote both stories in this issue with the scripts being written by John Barber and Erik Burnham (check out our interview with him about his recent Galaxy Quest miniseries).

The first story was particularly exciting because focuses on the circumstances surrounding the beginning of Marty’s friendship with Emmett “Doc” Brown.  The first Back to the Future movie just assumes that the audience can grasp that this teenage kid and this mad scientist are friends, which is true, but it never explains how it happens.  Close friendships, at least in my experience, don’t tend to develop between straight-laced-but-rough-around-the-edges teenagers and impossibly-smart-yet-possibly-insane geriatric inventors that live alone in a cluttered garage.  The story was the perfect balance between nostalgia and newness.  Gale and Barber write a fun, intriguing story that sets up one the weirdest, most interesting friendships between two unlikely heroes.  Brent Schoonover’s art sort of reminds me of Raúl Allens, which I mean as a compliment – I love Allen’s work over at Valiant.  It blends a sense of nostalgia in with bright, poppy colors that is perfectly in sync with the tone of the films.


The second story, with its script written by Erik Burnham, is about the beginning of Doc Brown’s involvement with Project Manhattan.  If you fell asleep in history class, Project Manhattan was a top secret project responsible for developing the atom bombs used at the end of WWII.  This story, while shorter and less in line with the overall tone of the films, provided really interesting backstory to the man responsible for both the Flux Capacitor and the expanded use of the exclamatory phrase “Great Scott!?”


If you are a fan of the Back to the Future films, this is the comic for you.  It is full of the stuff that made the movies so enjoyable, and allows you to travel back in time (get it?) and see these characters before… or after… before?  Either way, you get to see them before the shenanigans that take place in the movies.  I am really excited to see what happens in the next issue.  With time-travel sort of being the main plot of the film, there is a TON they can do with the series.  Head on down to your local shop and pick this issue up.  Don’t let anything get in between you and this issue, even if it’s Lybian terrorists in a mall parking lot in 1985.


Music Pairing –

Well, if you’re going to listen to something while reading Back to the Future #1, it should absolutely be this.

About author View all posts

Cam Clark

Cam is a husband, father, and a fan of many things. In college, he wrote his senior thesis on Mythological, Philosophical, and Theological Themes in Star Wars, and now spends his days causally specializing in Star Wars, Tolkien, and cubical work. No relation to Bill Clark.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *