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On October 21st 2015, the day that Doc brought Jennifer and Marty to the future, IDW Publishing launched a comic books series based on Back to the Future.

Initially, the series was meant as nothing more than an anthology, with the first volume, "Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines," plugging in a few continuity holes and offering some World Building. Overwhelming positive response however saw the rise of an ongoing series that lasted for a solid three years.

Tropes used in Back to The Future include:


Main Series

  • Adaptational Villainy: Needles was The Bully in the films. Here, he's a full-on criminal.
  • The Alleged Car: The newspaper ad for the original DeLorean time machine, at the end of "Science Project", shows that the car was, like most DeLoreans infamously were, a total piece of junk before Doc got his hands on it.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Jennifer finally gets to do something.
    • Uncle Joey in the final arc.
  • Ascended Fanon: The comics confirm Cracked.com's theory that Doc Brown burnt down his house for insurance money. Though he had other reasons, well intentioned reasons, money was a primary concern.
  • The Atoner: It's implied several times that Doc's shift to more peaceful sciences is derived from how much harm the Manhattan Project did.
  • Born in the Wrong Century: Clara notes this much about herself and Doc. Specifically they were each born in a time more suited to the other.
  • Butt Monkey: Biff gets put through the ringer in the final arc.
  • Clear My Name: Uncle Joey in the final arc.
  • Framing Device: Many stories set in the early days of Doc and Marty's friendship are told by Doc to his sons.
  • Grandfather Paradox: 1985-A is revealed to be one. As Doc Brown never invented the time machine, how can old Biff give his younger self the Almanac? Doc suspects that he and Marty are protected by some "bubble" of the prime reality but that it'll soon burst.
  • Happy Ending Override: The first arc is not only Marty wanting a new adventure, but also acts as Interquel to Part III, meaning Marty has to juggle his desire for more adventure against ruining the peace and the space-time continuum. The second has Marty's new life falling apart because Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory means that there's bits of it that he doesn't remember.
  • Have We Met Yet?: The first arc takes place after Part III for Marty but before Doc has built the Time Train.
  • Interquel: The first arc and several early adventures of the "present" Doc take place between Marty returning to 1985 from 1885 and Doc showing up in 1885 with the time train.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Did 1962!Doc really did get visited by a Russian Marty who showed him the result of a temporal arms race which then collapsed under the weight of its own paradoxes or was it All Just a Dream? Ultimately, Doc decides that whatever the case, it means that the government can't be allowed to have time travel.
  • No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup: Averted. Doc has backups of his devices (including a second Delorean that's upgraded into a time machine by the first arc's end), and notes that he has the spare parts he needs to build ones of those he doesn't.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • As the technology to swap faces exists, new technology had to be invented to prevent identity theft. In this case, gene scanning.
    • As it turns out, Doc wasn't able to build a fully functional Time Train, especially with full hover capacities, using the materials in 1885 along with one flimsy hoverboard. He made a few trips to 2015 to acquire the necessary technology.
  • Ridiculously-Human Robots: Irving built a bunch based off of Marty's likeness.
  • Ripple-Effect-Proof Memory: Which causes Marty no amount of headaches.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Professor Irving. Oh gods Professor Irving. Why settle for a $10 word when a $10,000 word exists?
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Uncle Joey's jail time. The money that he and Biff were after had been stolen and spent years ago. By Doc!
  • Spotting the Thread: As Jennifer lampshades, Marty is Doc's assistant but he never saw the DeLorean being built. Conclusion? Doc has a second laboratory.
  • Taught By Experience: By the final arc, Doc has gotten tired of the DeLorean being stolen and its power abused, having installed a recall device.
  • Took a Level In Jerkass: Suddenly readapting to a mundane life didn't agree with Marty. He got better.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: As Marty asks, what happened to the Marty who travelled back to 1955 from Lone Pines Mall? It's never really answered. Doc suspects that the changes to Marty's personal timeline are so minor, in a cosmic sense of the word, that nothing really changed.
  • Zeerust:
    • 2015 is still shown how it is in the films but incorporates the internet.
    • 2035 is a massive self-parody of The New Tens.

Biff to the Future

  • Alternate Timeline: A look at what led to the nightmarish dystopia of Part II. This time however, the prime Marty and Doc don't show up to fix things.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Marty suspects this is why Biff's funeral had such a large turnout. Everyone wanted to make sure he was really dead.
  • Asshole Victim: Everyone who dies really had it coming.
    • Biff's grandmother all but embodied Evil Old Folks and was a nice summary of Abusive Parents whose parenting led to her son joining the mafia. The end of issue 1 has her being killed by a conman.
    • Said conman has his head bashed in with a tire iron by Biff. Biff justifies it as being an act of self-defence.
    • Bernie Kessoff, the film producer Biff worked with. While Biff hoped to make it big in Hollywood, Kessoff just drained Biff of his money for his own benefit. After their film turned out to be a Box Office Bomb, Biff wised up and tricked Kessoff into placing a bet at a mob run racetrack Biff had been warned to stay away from.
    • Biff himself in the finale.
  • Breast Expansion: Lorraine. The party girls approved of their quality.
  • The Cameo:
    • The DeLorean (unmodified) appears under a sheet in Doc's garage.
    • Old Man Peabody (the owner of the farm that Marty crashed into) appears as a mental patient, ranting about the alien who crashed in his farm.
  • Chekov's Gun: Doc seeing the exhibit on "Mad Dog" Tannen.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Biff.
  • Corrupt Politician: Richard Nixon of course.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Bernie Kessoff died in an "obvious suicide", shooting himself five times in the head.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: While Biff specializes in this, his crowning moment has to be firing Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (the two reporters who kicked off the Watergate scandal) all because he thought "Watergate" was Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness for "dam."
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Biff is horrified by that he killed Louie the conman before he rationalizes it as self-defence and avenging his grandmother.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Lorraine has watched Biff ruin her family, her town, and herself. When she hears that he's running for President, it's the Godzilla Threshold and she outright tries to kill him.
  • Evil Parents Want Good Kids: Biff comes from a long line of bastards (in both senses of the word) and they all wanted him to clean up his act.
  • Flanderization: 90% of Biff's dialogue is him making malapropisms.
  • Greed: The more powerful Biff becomes, the more power he wants.
  • Heroic Willpower: Rather than talk, Doc Brown voluntarily shut down his higher functions.
  • Historical Domain Character: In his travels, Biff met Frank Sinatra, Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, fired Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, got punched by John Wayne, and dated Marilyn Monroe.
  • Historical Hero Upgrade: Biff gives Mad Dog Tannen one.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident:
    • Mr. Keller suggests Biff does this with the McFlys. First present the image of an all American family then have them killed by "terrorists" to win the sympathy vote.
    • Doc tricks Biff to 1884 where Mad Dog Tannen kills him. Upon Biff's corpse returning to the present, Doc electrocutes his cronies with an electric mat. Since Biff had so many enemies, no one bothers to look into this too much.
  • Mega Corp: BiffCo. It has holdings in casinos, realty, toxic waste management, construction, mental health hospitals, television, power companies and god knows what else. All of it deeply corrupt and all of it Backed by the Pentagon.
  • The Men in Black: Mr. Keller, Biff's Dragon, gives off this vibe.
  • Mythology Gag: The time machine here is built out of an old fridge, its form in the original drafts of the first film.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: To everyone's collective ire, Biff is not just a bully and has some surprisingly intelligent moments.
  • The One That Got Away: Biff says this word-for-word with regards to Lorraine. His second wife is understandably not pleased and storms out.
  • Out-Gambitted: What does Biff in in the finale. He actually thought he could outsmart Doc Brown.
  • Pocket Protector: Lorraine tries to shoot Biff in the heart but the little black book that holds all his illegal deeds blocks the bullet.
  • Politically-Incorrect Villain: Biff's misogyny defies words.
  • President Evil: Biff aspires to be one but gets killed before he can start his campaign.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Biff is still the teenager that he was when he got the Almanac.
  • Raise Him Right This Time: Doc considers doing this upon casually being offered the infant Biff only for his grandmother to take him away.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • A recurring theme is, just because you have money, that doesn't make you a smart businessman. As the Almanac is Biff's cheat sheet, he has no real concept of how to wisely spend and invest money.
    • Biff makes win after win with the Almanac. Eventually, the casinos and race tracks stop taking his bets. As one of them says, "best customers", from a gambler's point of view, are the ones that lose a lot.
    • With Hill Valley's dilapidated state, Doc couldn't get all the resources to make the Delorean time machine and substituted it with a fridge.
    • This Marty has never met Doc Brown so he has no idea what Doc is saying when he describes the events of the first film.
  • Ret-Gone: Doc tries to invoke this with regards to Biff only to learn Biff is a bastard and his parents had a Shotgun Wedding.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money: Biff in a nutshell.
  • Shout-Out: Doc's taxi is styled after Gaston Lagaffe's car.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Doc Brown made this an Invoked Trope so that he could work in solitude.
  • Stalker Shrine: Biff has one to Lorraine that makes up a whole hidden love chamber.
  • Unperson: After he marries Lorraine, Biff makes one out of George.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Ronald Reagan gives Biff the advice to get out of Hollywood, go back home, and put his money to good use.
  • Villain Protagonist: Biff.
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • The Anti-Biff society proposes using the time machine to kill Biff as a baby. Doc overrules this.
    • Biff gets Doc to cooperate by threatening to kill Marty. Doc has no doubt that Biff would follow through on it without any hesitation.

Citizen Brown

Tales From the Time Train

Transformers/Back to the Future

  • Ascended Extra: When was the last time Rumble had a major role in Transformers?
  • Bigger Bad: Megatron. For most of the story, he only appears in others' flashbacks about how the Bad Future came about and never confronts Marty directly. Starscream is a more direct Big Bad.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Rumble and Ravage just happen to be at the Twin Pines Mall on one particular night in 1985...
  • Crossover Alternate Universe: In the grand tradition of IDW's Transformers crossovers, the story of the Autobots and Decepticons gets bent around to best suit the saga of Back to The Future, which itself only counts the first film.
    • Issue #1 opens with Doc Brown telling everyone to treat it as such.
  • Demoted to Extra: For a Transformers story, Optimus Prime barely has anything to do.
  • Deus Ex Machina: Issue #1 ends with Gigawatt showing up just in time to prevent Starscream from disintegrating Marty.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: Just after Gigawatt managed to scan the DeLorean and was about to escape and change time, Megatron managed to shoot him right in the flux capacitor.
  • Heel Face Turn:
    • Gigawatt was once just a Decepticon number cruncher before he saw how needlessly destructive and cruel Megatron was even after they'd won the war.
    • Biff pulls one in the third timeline, becoming a better person thanks to the Autobots' influence.
  • Just Think of the Potential: Megatron orders the DeLorean brought to him so he can harness Time Travel as a weapon.
  • La Résistance: The Autobots in 2015, joined by Marty and Doc Brown.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Biff gleefully helps the Decepticons stamp the boot of their empire on Hill Valley. Though it's only because he's rightfully terrified of what they'll do to him if they resist.
  • Make Wrong What Once Went Right: After travelling to 2015 with Doc Brown, Rumble summons Megatron. When 2015!Megatron shows that he's nothing more than a sparking wreck, Rumble decides to travel back to 1984 and subvert the initial reawakening of the Autobots and Decepticons.
    • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: And in the end, Marty and Gigawatt fix things by time travelling back to an even earlier point and wake up the Autobots before Rumble arrives.
  • Noodle Incident: Needles tried to rebel against the Decepticons. It didn't work out.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Bumblebee is duelling Rumble and Ravage not fifty feet from Doc and Marty. Naturally they hear this and decide to investigate.
    • Marty tries his trick of throwing a metal disk at Starscream. The trick might be dangerous to a human, but to a Cybertronian, it's barely an annoyance.
  • The Remnant: By 2015, there are four Autobots left.
  • Running Gag: Starscream is introduced to BTTF's manure gag.
  • Sequel Hook: At the end, Marty's truck is hinted to be a Decepticon.
  • Superweapon Surprise: At the end of issue #3, Hill Valley's courthouse is revealed to have been replaced with the towering Decepticon Watchtower.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: As is lampshaded, Doc Brown being such a Friend to All Living Things that he decided to help fix up a Decepticon out of the goodness of his heart.
  • Villain Team-Up: Biff has become an overseer on the Decepticon conquered Earth. Starscream doesn't give him much respect.
  • Wrecked Weapon: In the original timeline, Megatron is the last Decepticon and his fusion cannon gives out when he attempts to execute Doc Brown.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After Rumble changes the past to give the Decepticons an edge, Megatron executes the time traveller while citing this. After all, having two Rumbles would be confusing.