Anyone pining for a Back to the Future IV ought to just read IDW’s ongoing series of “Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines” comics. Co-written by Bob Gale, they weave in and out of the trilogy and its characters with new backstory (my favorite so far being Clara’s story in #5) and “extended universe” stories.
I don’t think I’ve ever read comics before, at least nothing outside of the Christian subculture I grew up in. Not sure how these compare to the best of them in style and substance, but as a BTTF nerd I find them delightful, and a much better alternative to an actual Part IV.
Kate Beaton’s first collection of Hark! A Vagrant comics gave us bizarro world takes on Tesla, Susan B. Anthony, Lord Byron, Batman, and my favorite, Open Mic Night at the French Revolution. Her new collection, gleefully titled Step Aside, Pops, gives us the Founding Fathers at the mall, Tennyson, Greek mythology, Ida B. Wells, Jane Austen remixes, the Beatniks, Cinderella, a burned-out Wonder Woman, and so much more.
The laugh-out-loud quotient is high in Step Aside. I especially love when Beaton finds old broadsides or book covers and turns them into the basis for little oddball scenes. Like this one from the “Broadside Ballads” collection (the ghost’s doofus face gets me every time):
Or this one from the Nancy Drew covers:
It occurs to me now that comics are essentially storyboarded Vines—or rather, that Vines are like comics in motion, bite-sized stories that in a flash express an idea or illustrate a scene that in prose would probably fall flat. And in the above examples, the punchline in the final frames are purely visual, and the better for it.