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Back to the Future
Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138-at-popapostle-dot-com
Back to the Future: Science Project "Science Project"
Back to the Future #2
IDW
Story by Bob Gale
Script by Erik Burnham
Art by Chris Madden
Letters by Shawn Lee
November 2015

 

In 1984, Marty's school science project is due tomorrow...and he hasn't even started one! Can Doc Brown help him out of a jam?

 

Read the story summary at Futurepedia

 

Notes from the Back to the Future chronology

 

This story takes place in September 1984.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this story

 

Marty McFly

Einstein

Doc Brown

Mrs. Zawadski (mentioned only)

Albert Einstein (mentioned only)

Robert (phone call only)

Robin (mentioned only)

Professor B.O. Beanes (mentioned only)

 

Didja Notice?

 

    In panel 1 of page 1 of the story, a number of objects we will later see in use in Back to the Future can be found. The controller Doc Brown will eventually use to control the DeLorean remotely is in the box of junk Marty is looking through. Doc's sketch of the flux capacitor is seen taped to the side of a cabinet. Doc's mind-reading helmet from 1955 is sitting on top of the cabinet (in fact the lights are glowing on it; does this mean Doc was working on it again recently?). On the shelf behind Marty, the casing that will eventually hold the flux capacitor is seen. On the shelf below it is a radiation suit. Doc's old jukebox is seen near the window. A jumble of canned dog food (presumably Kal Kan) is in a box labeled "Einstein" (Doc's dog).

    Two sticky notes are stuck on the cabinet next to the flux capacitor sketch. One reads, "Do laundry". The other reads, "Call Libyans"...!

   Oddly, what appears to be a model of Hill Valley's clock tower is seen in a box on top of a shelf in the top-right of the page. This would tend to imply that we are seeing the altered timeline caused by Marty's trip from 1985 to 1955 in Back to the Future! Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be any reason for Doc to have a model of the clock tower!

    Even more of an oddity is what looks like the barrel of a Klingon disruptor pistol in a box of junk under the table! And, in the upper-left corner of the page (next to the window), is what appears to be the case that holds the Genesis Device from the 1982 Star Trek movie The Wrath of Khan! (See notes farther below regarding Christopher Lloyd's role in one Star Trek film.)

Doc's lab Klingon disruptor pistol circa 2370
Doc's lab Klingon disruptor pistol, circa 2370
   
Genesis Device case
Genesis Device case

 

    When Doc walks into his lab on page 1 of the story, he is carrying a book labeled "Verne" on the spine. Presumably, this is a book by or about author Jules Verne (1828-1905), one of Doc's favorite writers, per Back to the Future Part III.

    In this same panel, it can be seen that Doc is wearing a watch on each wrist. This is also true in Back to the Future.

 

On page 2 of the story, Marty tells Doc he hasn't had time to design his school science project due to band practice. He is likely not referring to band class at school, but to his rock and roll band, the Pinheads, seen briefly at a school audition in Back to the Future.

 

On page 3 of the story, Marty discovers a statue of the Roman god of the sea, Neptune, in a large cabinet in Doc's lab. This is the same statue seen at the local high school's Enchantment Under the Sea dance in 1955 in Back to the Future. Doc claims he picked it up for a giant fish tank he never got around to building, but it seems awfully coincidental. Maybe, if this is the "new" Marty-influenced timeline as speculated above, Doc bought the statue simply as a reminder of Marty's 1955 visit.

 

In panel 3 of page 3 of the story, a box marked MISC has what appears to be an Atari 2600 game system joystick sitting on top. The system was manufactured from 1977-1992.

 

On page 4 of the story, Marty uses a tissue from a box of Mr. Sneeze to staunch the flow of blood from his cut finger. The brand appears to be another invention of Doc's, a box of tissue designed to be worn like a hat.

 

Doc remarks that electricity and magnetism used to be thought of as two separate things until Albert Einstein's theory of relativity. Doc's statement is not exactly true. The relationship of electricity and magnetism was observed even in the 18th Century and formalized a hundred years later in James Clerk Maxwell's A Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism (1873). Albert Einstein (1879-1955) developed the theory of relativity in physics to basically explain the workings of the universe.

 

    At the end of the story, Doc receives a call from Robert, the owner of a used DeLorean Doc is interested in purchasing. Presumably, this is the exact DeLorean into which Doc will build the time machine. A classified ad for the car from the Hill Valley Telegraph (August 11, 1984) is pinned to the wall next to Doc's telephone (see below). Obviously needs a lot of work! The contact name of "Robert" is probably a tongue-in-cheek reference to Robert Zemeckis, the director of the Back to the Future trilogy.

    The car ad above the DeLorean one is for a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS with some "bullet holes", with contact name "Robin". This would be a Ferrari that was owned by Robin Masters in Honolulu and used by his friend Thomas Magnum in Hawaii in the 1980-1988 TV series Magnum, P.I.! Being a 1978 model, it seems that Robin is selling the Ferrari that was used in the opening credits of the series, as later year models were used in the actual episodes for the show's eight seasons. Of course, it's odd that someone in Hawaii would be advertising in the classifieds of a small town newspaper in California!

 

    What appears to be a business card for Kruge's Pest Control is also pinned to the wall in Doc's lab. It has an address of 2285 Genesis Lane, Hill Valley, CA 95420 and phone number 555-8210. This is, of course, a fictitious business and address. The 555 prefix of the phone number is a long-time convention in Hollywood TV and film. The zip code of 95420 is actually in Caspar, CA, a small town on the coast. Is this meant to suggest that the fictitious Hill Valley is in that area of the state? Hill Valley does not seem to be near the coast from what we see of the environs; in fact, we see in Back to the Future Part III that Hill Valley is fairly close to the desert and there is no desert near Caspar. The same zip is also used for the company called Cusco that Marty works for in Back to the Future Part II in 2015. Also, one of the highways that is marked as passing through Hill Valley in the films is U.S. Route 395, which runs from Hesperia, CA to the Canadian border in Laurier, Washington, at no point coming close to the seacoast.

    The name "Kruge" comes from the role of Klingon Commander Kruge that Christopher Lloyd (Doc Brown) played in the 1984 film Star Trek: The Search for Spock.

 

A short classified ad for a collection of vintage books being sold by Professor B.O. Beanes is also seen on the wall. Professor Beanes was an English teacher character played by Christopher Lloyd in a 1986 episode of Amazing Stories, "Go to the Head of the Class". The episode was co-written by Bob Gale and directed by Robert Zemeckis!

 

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