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Back to the Future

Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Back to the Future: Clara's Story Back to the Future
"Clara's Story"
Back to the Future #5
Story by John Barber and Bob Gale
Script by John Barber and Erik Burnham
Art by Marcelo Ferreira
Colors by Diego Rodriguez
Letters by Shawn Lee


Doc and Clara make a life and a family for themselves in the Old West.


Read the story summary at Futurepedia


Notes from the Back to the Future chronology


This story has bookends taking place in 1893.


Didja Know?


Unlike previous issues that were narrated by Doc, this issue is narrated by Clara.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Doc Brown




Marshal Strickland

Roger Strickland

Martha Clayton (in Clara's memories only, deceased)

Daniel Clayton (in Clara's memories only, deceased)

Marty McFly

Zeke (in flashbacks only)

Jeb (in flashbacks only)

Levi (in flashbacks only)

Biff Tannen (in flashbacks only)

asylum attendant (unnamed)



Didja Notice?


On page 3, Marshal Strickland and his son, Roger, are observing on horseback nearby as Doc and his family prepare to launch the time train for its maiden voyage.


Doc remarks that he has refined the Presto logs he makes to burn hotter and faster so the time train won't need as much track to get up to 88 MPH as was needed with Locomotive 131 in Back to the Future Part III.


In panel 5 of page 3, Doc is seen holding the hoverboard obtained in 2015 in Back to the Future Part II.


Clara states she is an only child.


On pages 7-8, we see Clara living the events she told Doc of in Back to the Future Part III, of catching diphtheria at the age of 11 and receiving a gift of a telescope from her father to while away the time she was bedridden.


On page 8, young Clara is seen with copies of Jules Verne's novels From the Earth to the Moon (1865) and Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864).


On page 9, Clara is seen reading Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days (1872).


Clara's father, Daniel, died in 1879 and her mother, Martha, in 1884.


On page 10, Clara is reading Jules Verne's The Green Ray (1882).


On page 10, Clara says her parents met on the Oregon Trail. The Oregon Trail is an historic wagon route running from eastern Missouri to western Oregon. It was a particularly important route between the east and west of the country from 1840-1869, when Clara's parents would have met.


Page 11 features flashbacks to events in Back to the Future Part III, to the two times when Doc saved Clara's life. Clara appears to be wearing the same dress on both occasions here, but in Back to the Future Part III, she wore two entirely different dresses than this one.


In panel 1 of page 12, the three men standing together in the middle of the panel appear to be the three hecklers in the bar seen in Back to the Future Part III, Zeke, Jeb, and Levi.


Pages 14-15 feature flashbacks to events in Back to the Future Part II. In panel 2 of page 14, the future newspaper is U.S. Now, but in the movie it was USA Today. In panels 3-5, Doc is wearing a different shirt than he was in the film and is missing his clear tie.


When Doc goes to visit himself in the mental institution in 1985A, he uses the last name Von Braun, which was his family's original name when they moved to the U.S. from Germany at the beginning of the 20th Century, as he tells Marty in Back to the Future Part III.


Doc discovers that his institutionalized self has seemingly been lobotomized, unable to tell him anything. But "Biff to the Future" Part 6 instead shows us that Doc had learned of and used an ancient Eastern religious practice to shut off his higher brain functions in order to prevent BiffCo from getting the secret of time travel.


On page 17, Doc is depicted wearing a lab coat while piloting the DeLorean when it got struck by lightning in 1955 in Back to the Future Part II. But he was not wearing a lab coat in the film.


Page 17 shows Doc walking into Hill Valley after the lightning bolt has sent the DeLorean to 1885 (as seen in Back to the Future Part III). But, the courthouse is depicted as completed when it should be either under construction or still just a vacant parcel (as also seen in Back to the Future Part III).


On page 20, panel 4, Doc is seen reading Jules Verne's' Around the Moon (1870). In panel 7, he is reading Grimm's Fairy Tales aloud to his boys.


This story shows Doc's first attempt to use the time train was a failure.


On page 24, one of the Brown family's fellow citizens of Hill Valley has had a Serpollet Steam Tricycle shipped to him from France, intriguing the Doc. The steam tricycle was invented by Leon and Henri Serpollet in France in the late 1880s.


In "Continuum Conundrum" Part 3, Doc has built a steam time car shortly after the events of this story and will use it to go to the future to get the technology he needs to get the more complex time train working so he can tour time with his family as Clara desires to do here.


Back to Back to the Future Episode Studies