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Back to the Future
Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Back to the Future: When Marty Met Emmett Back to the Future
"When Marty Met Emmett"
Back to the Future #1
Story by Bob Gale
Story and script by Bob Gale and John Barber
Art by Brent Schoonover
Inks by David Witt
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Letters by Shawn Lee


The origin of the Doc/Marty friendship.


Read the story summary at Futurepedia


Notes from the Back to the Future chronology


This story has bookends placed roughly around 1890, after Doc and Clara are married and have their sons, Jules and Verne.


Didja Know?


The title of the story borrows from the well-known 1989 film When Harry Met Sally..., though that film is about two friends who become lovers! It seems a little awkward to use it here!


Characters appearing or mentioned in this story


Doc Brown




Marty McFly


The Tabascos

music store clerk



Didja Notice?


On page 3 of the story, Doc points out to his boys the patch of land in Hill Valley that will become 1640 Riverside Drive owned by the Von Brauns in 1915.


Doc says the Brown mansion burned down in 1962. He doesn't go into any detail at all about how it happened. I speculated in the Back to the Future study that Doc might have burned it down himself for the insurance money so he could continue his research and inventing.


On page 3 of the story, Doc reveals that his middle name is Lathrop.


In the final panel of page 3, the drive-thru depicted is that of the Burger King in front of Doc's garage/home as seen in Back to the Future.


Marty first met Doc on October 2, 1982.


Needles comes to Marty's house to "borrow" his interocitor tube for his guitar amplifier. An interocitor tube is a fictitious gadget, similar to a vacuum tube. The term "interocitor" is known among science-fiction geeks as a multi-functional device in the 1955 film This Island Earth.


Needles' band as a youth is called The Tabascos. This is a play on the name of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the band fronted by the actor who played Needles in Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III, Flea.


    On page 7 of the story, a partially-seen poster in the music store says "Bomb Town". This is a reference to the Lindsey Buckingham song "Time Bomb Town" that was heard briefly in Back to the Future.

    The "M" of a Marshall amp is also seen in this panel.


On page 8 of the story, the chain-link fence around Doc's property has a sign on it reading, "KNOW ENTRY", an early indication that Doc has set booby-traps on his property than could be circumvented with some ingenuity and critical thinking.


Marty has a different skateboard (with a flame pattern on it) than the one seen in Back to the Future.


Doc remarks that his dog, Einstein, is an excellent judge of character.


Upon their first meeting, Doc tells Marty to call him " in 'What's up, Doc?'" "What's up, Doc?" is the famous catchphrase of the Warner Bros. cartoon character Bugs Bunny.


On page 14, panel 1 of the story, it appears that Doc has a tendency to let Einstein's food bowl pile over with meat even in 1982, just as in 1985, as seen at the beginning of Back to the Future.


Doc mentions that he's invented a device called the Static-O-Matic Hair Chair.


    Panel 3 of the last page of the story is what appears to be meant as a photograph of Doc, Marty, and Einstein standing next to the DeLorean time machine. The only time they could have taken this photo is after Marty got back from 1955 at the end of Back to the Future, before Doc dropped him off at his home.

    Notice also that Einstein is raising his paw in a wave in the photo.

    The photo is based on a publicity still taken for Back to the Future Part II


DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual Notes from the DeLorean Time Machine: Doc Brown's Owners' Workshop Manual

(The page numbers come from the 1st printing, hardcover edition, published 2021)


Page 21 references this story in Doc's journal entry of October 2, 1982.


Back to Back to the Future Episode Studies