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Exclusive: Kim Smith goes Back to the Future in her new picture book

Contributed by
Apr 23, 2018

For over three decades, Back to the Future has been a perennial favorite film for fans of all ages. Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale captured lightning in a bottle with their movie, and now it's becoming a children's picture book as the latest installment of Quirk Books' PopClassics series.

Veteran illustrator Kim Smith is the woman responsible for re-envisioning Zemeckis and Gale's classic time travel tale about Marty McFly, Doc Brown, and their mutual quest to get Marty back to his own time before his past is irrevocably changed. It's the same story we know and love, it's just told through a different lens.

Specifically, a lens for children.

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SYFY WIRE recently spoke with Smith about her latest release, and she told us about her earliest exposure to the film.

"My dad is a big Back to the Future fan and had picked up the series when it was first out in a DVD set," Smith said. "The first time I saw it, I was 16 and looking for something to watch on a weekend and had found the set kicking around. As soon as I watched the first film, I was hooked. I ended up watching all three films in the same day. I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before. It was so good!"

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"It's such a fun and entertaining adventure to watch," Smith added. "Also, I think the movie makes us all imagine what if I traveled back and time and met my parents as young adults. What would that be like?"

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According to Smith, the condensation of the film's story occurred before she even received the manuscript. And while some moments were lost in translation from film to children's book, Smith had a very concise answer about what she would change in the actual movie. "Nothing," she said. "It's perfect."

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To prepare for the project, Smith rewatched the original movie and its two sequels. But it was Back to the Future Part II that offered up some surprises after all these years.

"I did rewatch the other films, to keep in the Back to the Future spirit," Smith said. "When rewatching the second one, it's always surprising to see what technology was actually predicted correctly (movie sequels and video phones), and what predictions completely missed the mark (flying cars)."

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Smith noted that Doc Brown's dog Einstein and Biff were her favorite characters to draw in the book. But it was the Enchantment Under the Sea dance that produced her favorite illustration in this project.

"I loved drawing all the fun outfits and decorations and lighting in that scene," Smith said. "Plus, it was super fun to draw Marty rocking out with the band."

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This book may be on the verge of release, but Smith is far from done with her re-envisioned classics.

"The next in the PopClassics series is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which I am super excited for," Smith said. She also shared her dream project for a future PopClassic picture book: Jurassic Park.

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Quirk Books will release Smith's Back to the Future picture book on Tuesday, April 24.

Images: Quirk Books