Back to Back to the Future

Comics are a wonderful medium for imagination. It’s the cheapest way possible to do a “what if” scenario — what if a man could fly? what if someone could right the wrongs I can’t do anything about? what if my life made sense as a story? what if I could change the past?

Back to Back to the Future

Now, writer David Guy Levy and artist Jeffrey Spokes are exploring the idea “what if the original Marty McFly, Eric Stolz, had stayed on Back to the Future instead of being replaced by Michael J. Fox?” The digital comic is appearing in six parts, with the first three parts free, and the second half $2 an issue to benefit the Young Storytellers Foundation. Part one is available from EW.com, while part two is at IGN.

The first issue is all setup (unfortunately typical of many projects these days), giving the reader background but not yet getting the main characters Bob Gale and Melora Hardin back on the original Back to the Future movie set. That happens in issue two, where they bump into Stolz… and a bit more than that.

Gale co-wrote and produced the movie, while Hardin was the first choice to play McFly’s girlfriend. She had to be let go when the role was re-cast because she was taller than Fox. I found myself curious if Gale and Hardin had anything to do with the project, given how prominently it features them and their supposed decisions and motivations. Levy doesn’t mention them, instead talking about fair use and parody law making this project possible and going so far as to say:

I haven’t spoken with [Stolz] or anyone else from Back to the Future about this project. I would feel too creepy approaching them and saying, “Look what I’ve spent the last decade working on. It’s all about you!

Yet he doesn’t feel creepy, for example, writing Hardin telling Gale she had a boob job. I think that’s in bad taste. His portrayals give the impression that he really knows these people. Since he doesn’t, this approach goes too far. It’s also unnecessarily wordy, with big lumps of exposition dumped into people’s mouths. The art, meanwhile, looks like digitally manipulated photos, which at least means the likenesses are right. It’s a great concept, so I guess I’ll reserve final judgment for how the story ends. My guess right now is that Gale and Hardin learn not to mess with the past.


3 Responses to “Back to Back to the Future”

  1. James Schee Says:

    Just sounds like an odd idea, and not in a “oh that’s neat” but in a “Why?” way. What’s his next project, What if Tom Selleck had accepted the Indiana Jones role?

    I rarely like fictionalizing real people anyway, just generally comes off as creepy to me.

  2. Johanna Says:

    Yeah, real people fanfic falls in a different category for me than using someone else’s characters. It has a lot more potential for misunderstandings or hurt feelings.

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