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Back to the Future
Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Back to the Future: How Needles Got Here Back to the Future
"How Needles Got Here"
Back to the Future #12
Story by John Barber and Bob Gale
Script by John Barber
Art by Emma Vieceli
Colors by Jose Luis Rio
Letters by Shawn Lee & Robbie Robbins
Cover by Emma Vieceli
September 2016


The origin of Needles.


Read the story summary at Futurepedia


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story



Officer Reese

Officer Foley (not named until "Who is Marty McFly?" Part 1)

Marty McFly

Wally Dorf (mentioned only)

Mrs. Montgomery

Needles' mother (mentioned only)



music store clerk

Doc Brown

Lorraine McFly

George McFly

Dave McFly

Jennifer Parker


Didja Notice?


On the standard cover of this issue, Needles has a patch of the British Union Jack flag on the sleeve of his jacket.


This issue reveals that Marty's middle name is Seamus. This was the name of Marty's great-great-grandfather, whom Marty met in 1885 in Back to the Future Part III, though it seems a bit odd that Marty doesn't react to the name when he learns it in that film. It is also Marty's middle name in the animated series episode "Witchcraft".


The police officers called Reese and Foley whom we meet in this issue in 1986 (Foley is not named until "Who is Marty McFly?" Part 1) are presumably related to the two female police officers in 2015 with the same names who take the young Jennifer home to old Jennifer's house.


    On page 5, young "Dougie" Needles is introduced to his new class by the teacher and said to have moved to Hill Valley from Bakersville in 1979. Since the teacher says Dougie "just moved from Bakersville", it's implied that Bakersville is in California (like Hill Valley). There is no Bakersville in California.

    Needles is wearing what appears to be a San Francisco Giants baseball cap until the teacher tells him "no hats in class".


On page 6, Needles tries to pass off his puking at school to a bad banana in his Wheaties that morning.


The music store clerk on page 9 is the same one that was seen in "When Marty Met Emmett".


On page 11, Marty begins to lead the Pinheads in a rendition of "Dance the Night Away" before Needles interrupts them. There are several songs by this name, but the one referred to here is probably the 1979 Van Halen song, as Marty is seen to be an Eddie Van Halen fan in Back to the Future.


On page 11, Marty tells Needles that the name of his band, The Pinheads, is based on a Ramones song. The Ramones were a 20th Century punk rock band. The song "Pinhead" appeared on their 1977 album Leave Home. Marty's bandmate Lee also points out it's the name of a comic strip; presumably he is referring to Zippy the Pinhead, the star of the Zippy comic strip.


    On page 12, Needles has posters for the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC in his personal recording studio at his mother's house. These are real world rock and roll bands. The Eagles poster is based on an actual world tour poster from 1977 and the Led Zeppelin one on an actual promotional poster. The AC/DC logo is also accurate.

    Needles is seen to have Ludwig drums and a Fender Precision Bass.


On page 13, Needles suggests they change the name of the band from the Pinheads to Doug Needles and the Hot Sauce. This is a play on the name of the band the actor who portrayed Needles (Flea) plays in, The Red Hot Chili Peppers.


Page 17 reveals that Needles and his mom live in Riverdale Estates, an affluent neighborhood in Hill Valley.


On page 18, the junior high Jennifer comments that she heard Doc Brown had invented a death ray. The rumor will pop up again in "Who is Marty McFly?" Part 1. Doc reveals in "Biff to the Future" Part 4 that he intentionally allowed that rumor and others to spread so that people would be afraid to approach him or his home while he worked in solitude on his experiments (in DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual, a "Letters to the Editor" clipping from the Hill Valley newspaper shows that Doc wrote in as "Herbert George"--the first and middle names of The Time Machine author H.G. Wells--that strange lights and sounds have been coming from Emmett Brown's house and that he's heard rumors of scientists developing a death ray for the government).


Back to Back to the Future Episode Studies