DwarfCast 149 - The Smegazine Rack - Issue #2 featured image
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It’s time to get back on the rack (get used to that one, because we might have to use it every episode) as Ian, Cappsy and Danny continue trawling through the sticky pages of the Smegazine and, as tradition dictates, Issue #2 follows Issue #1… so here we are.

Before you press play, be sure to have the issue in front of you in your PDF viewer of choice so you at least have a slight chance of knowing what the actual balls we’re talking about.

DwarfCast 149 – The Smegazine Rack – Issue #2 (86.8MB)

If you think you might have some HILARIOUS captions from last issue’s caption competition then you can still let us know in the thread for issue 1, as that will be resolved in the next episode. Also, please do send us your letters (comments) below for us to read out in a sarcastic voice on that very same next episode.

Show notes

37 comments on “DwarfCast 149 – The Smegazine Rack – Issue #2

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  • (To try and be less annoying: my set of Smegazines still have all the attachments if you need pictures of anything else)

  • Don’t know if it’s just me, but I’m wondering if that photo in the Rimmer’s Diary feature was used as an alternative reference picture for Kryten’s head in the cover artwork? It’s *very* similar.

  • The cover might have been Fleetway’s changing editorial style generally. Their Turtles comic from the same month as this Smegazine was similarly bare.

    By the time Sonic the Comic came out in 1993, it was busy with text and had larger character images to stand out from the racks like 1993 Smegazines (usually by occasional Smegazine artist Carl Flint).

    I just wanted to get a Sonic reference in, really.

  • I enjoyed this issue a little bit more than the first one. Mostly because I think the lead comic strip is better and more interesting. In contrast to all the large-scale stuff around the ship in chapter 1, I love the re-imagining of the bunkroom to be much smaller and more cramped than the TV version, effectively recreating that ‘submarine’ feel. And the structure lends itself much better to the exciting cliffhanger of “three million years”, which I agree is a far more natural endpoint than we had in chapter 1.

    Also, I think the other content is slightly better judged this time – there’s nothing as bad as that multiple-choice quiz from the first issue, and the Rimmer diary works quite well in places.

    Re. the issue #1 set report timing, I think it’s pretty hilarious and very Red Dwarf that you had two reporters on-site when all this historic stuff is going down, and the report ends up missing all that and focusing on how boring it all is and how they ended up wandering from room to room and losing their tape recorder. If they’d covered Watergate it’d probably have ended up being a scandal about how the hotel mini-bar wasn’t fully stocked and the housekeeping forgot to make the bed.

    As for great Red Dwarf fanfiction, along with The Last Temptation of Kryten – which is probably the all-time great – I think special mention needs to go to Karnie’s Homecoming, if only for the way it ties up so many loose ends in Red Dwarf canon: https://m.fanfiction.net/s/12067118/1/Homecoming

  • Also, on the covers: without wanting to jump ahead too far, the cover to the next issue (#3) is the first one I can actually remember seeing on the stands at the time of release, and it’s always felt like a really weird and slightly ‘off’ image to me.

    I think partly because it takes that standard Series IV promo photo setup and then removes Holly, leaving us to wonder exactly what Lister is accessing on that computer and why everyone else is looking on with various degrees of disapproval and enthusiasm.

    Or maybe they’re all meant to be looking at the badge?

    (I liked the cover to #2 though.)

  • Pre-Dwarfcast thoughts:

    Comic strip:
    The slightly edited stuff around Rimmer writing on his body really jars for me, “I don’t know what this mean, I don’t know what any of this means!” reduced to “I don’t know what any of it means” kills the rising frustration dead.

    Disappointing lack of Lister testicles.

    I actually think Rimmer and the smudged arm is even more confusing here than on screen.

    Why has Clare Crogan been replaced by a Riddler?

    Peach Surprise:
    Ah yes, Lister eats lots of curry lols!

    Bobby interview is another of those that is sadly spoiled a bit by hearing much more fleshed out versions of all these stories over the years.

    Ah good, another bunch of fan fiction! “I think my lager’s finished in the oven!” Is this Lister coming up with a crap lie, or is he meant to be… cooking his lager?

    Kevin Keegan’s back again. He’s going to be a recurring joke now, isn’t he?

    Red Dwarf USA:
    God, this must have been fucking exciting at the time. There’d been hints, but a huge two page report about the pilot? Why on Earth are the cast listed in italics as if they’re album titles or something? Might as well say Cat is “Hinton Battle”.
    “Ghandi in space”. Christ.

    Rimmer diary:
    Ok, so this is vaguely ok. Too many mentions of things we’ve seen on screen, but it at least feels a bit like Rimmer. The small penis gag is a bit tiresome, but as a quick page of gags… oh fuck, it goes on for another two pages?!
    When is this set? Why is Kryten saying Mister Arnold?
    Cat and the matter converter clothes. It’s quite a nice fanon way of explaining all his outfits, but… really? Oh, and another Pot Noodle gag.

    All the World is a Conceptual Map:
    Not as genuinely thought-provoking as the one in the first issue, but I still enjoyed that more than the fanfic that makes up the bulk of the issue.

    Episode guide:
    Is the purpose of this to distill every memorable joke from each episode into a single joy-free paragraph and thus ruin the episode for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it?

    Fun page:
    Well, that was slightly more amusing than last issue’s.

    Oof yes, not very positive there, was I? I don’t mind fan fiction when it’s been created because the writer has a story they really want to tell – The Last Temptation of Kryten and Homecoming are brilliant examples – but when it’s just “let’s have the characters write something that uses the same jokes they’ve made before”, page after page, it really is quite tedious. Still, I suppose they’re still finding their feet.

    Right, time to have a listen to see what you all say…

  • “I think my lager’s finished in the oven!” Is this Lister coming up with a crap lie, or is he meant to be… cooking his lager?

  • Hot lager as a replacement for soup is an amusing joke; the idea that he generally cooks lager seems to br quite a misunderstanding of that joke.

    Danny Blessed said Chinese meal when he meant Japanese meal. Tut tut.

  • Danny Blessed said Chinese meal when he meant Japanese meal. Tut tut.

    That’s still not the best misquote of that line that I’ve ever heard. After watching the episode, a schoolfriend of mine thought it was “you make love like a raw mule”.

  • Danny Blessed said Chinese meal when he meant Japanese meal. Tut tut.

    Ah yeah we were meant to put a lampshade on that in the show notes, but forgot!

  • I really feel as though I’ve heard Rob Grant refute the idea that American Lister is “too good-looking”, by saying basically the same thing the guys do on the DwarfCast, something like “I mean Craig Charles isn’t exactly hard on the eyes”. But I’ve just watched the relevant bit of Comedy Connections and it’s not there. Anyone else remember this or have I just made it up?

  • > Or maybe they’re all meant to be looking at the badge?

    I have never removed the badge from the front cover of my copy, and looking now I notice that it is placed absolutely nowhere near their eyeline – it’s on Lister’s shoulder.

    It also seems reasonable to think that the cover was designed with the intention that the badge would be placed over the warning sign, so you couldn’t read the warning until it was removed, which would further bolster the idea that they *are* all meant to be looking at the badge in the illustration.

  • It also seems reasonable to think that the cover was designed with the intention that the badge would be placed over the warning sign, so you couldn’t read the warning until it was removed

    Yup, some silly bugger ballsed up the whole badge placement thing.

  • Sellotaping things to the cover was commonplace back in the day, but nowadays I can’t look at a picture like that without worrying about ripping it off and destroying the cover.

  • Nice detective work on the timeline of Juliet May being removed from the show.

    Re: the “Bierko is too good looking to play Lister” stuff. Craig’s performance obviously influenced the characterisation of Lister in the novels too, so there’s more to this objection than just “he’s not Craig”, as Lister had become something other than “just Craig”.

    I like Bierko but his performance in the pilot is bland. Stick this guy in a remake of Confidence and Paranoia, and who the hell can you get to play his Confidence? Why does *this* Lister need to drive Rimmer nuts to keep him sane?

    Doug talks about retooling the character to play to his strengths (which is clearly from the perspective of someone who attempted to salvage the project twice) but a Joey Tribbiani substitute in the middle of Red Dwarf just turns it into a shit Star Trek parody. Which is basically what Red Dwarf USA would have been.

  • AWOOGA. We are recording #3 on Sunday, so get your letters in!

    If G&T had a magazine in the 90s, which G&Ter would be kicking out at the reader on the cover to show that they had the most radical of attitudes?

  • I just flicked through issue 3.

    Best cover so far, but I really don’t understand why they persevere with the artwork covers. I guess this ties into my confusion about who this “magazine” is actually for. It’s a glorified comic.

    Cat’s Fashion Tips manages to be even worse in execution than I feared. Comedy gold in those tick-boxes.

    I found the “Red Dwarf II on Video” feature distinctly weird. It launches into, what is essentially, a “review” without any preamble and, barring the description in the contents, it doesn’t even say what that is going to be a subjective piece. Considering the small crew putting together the magazine, most of the words on the (non-comic) pages are coming from two blokes, so you’d think the change in tone would lead them to stick their names on it to identify whose opinions these are.

    Stuff like mentioning that Clare Grogan is not in the final scene of Stasis Leak also irritated. Why not explain that story, rather than teasing it like an in-joke that your readership aren’t privy to?

    I’d also imagine that mentioning Kryten’s space bike crash led several readers to assume that this was depicted in an episode rather than just mentioned in a crawl. The me of the mid-nineties agrees with their comments about the spines of the VHS covers, mind.

    I think I once actually sat down and read the whole of the A-Z of Red Dwarf in the first edition of the Programme Guide. I’m not going to repeat that experience by reading The Visitor’s Guide to Red Dwarf.

    Wow, that caption competition was worth waiting for, huh? .

    The Red Dwarf fun page. I saw the cheeky picture of Kryten with his groin all attachment, and hoped for something in the vein of Trev and Simon’s stupid book. No such luck.

    I was wondering why they’d chosen to print the “Red Dwarf Two Way Quiz” title forwards AND reversed based on the slim conceit of having two rounds. Then I realised that they’d managed to waste 1/3 of the page with this design choice, and it made sense.

  • Another great ‘cast. The Smegazine’s place in Red Dwarf fan history continues to be really interesting – I didn’t realise that this issue was the genesis of all fan info about the US pilot, I think I just vaguely assumed that it was collected from various statements made by people at conventions and reports in other press outlets.

    – I hope Danny isn’t too put upon by the impression requests. Only become Brian Blessed if you feel the inspiration! That’s good advice for anyone, really.

    – It’s very amusing to me that for 2 issues in a row, the cast interview has featured them being asked “You’re basically close to done with this character, right?”. Will definitely be awkward if they asked Hattie that though.

    – The Rimmer’s diary feature was alright, even if it was way too long and kind of got too stuck on “Rimmer is extremely pissed off”. Would have been good to get some more emotional variation. The reverse Confidence & Paranoia plot doesn’t really make sense though. If Lister had found Kochanski’s disc, why would he be hiding it and not just using it straight away? Given what happened in C&P, how would he even know it was actually the right one? I’m also not a fan of him being like “imagine being ordered around by a GIRL, ugh”. I’m not saying Rimmer wouldn’t be sexist, but I don’t see him being so overt about it. Rimmer comes across as someone who is unflinchingly respectful of hierarchy, and would accept that if someone of any gender ranks higher than him, it must be because they deserve it. (Even if he privately harbours resentment, and more complicated feelings.) His characterisation in Ouroboros, IWCD and even Last Human feels more right in this regard.

    – Anyone else find the page layouts to be not great at times? In particular I’m thinking about the the big red vertical repeated “KRYTEN” text on the pages of the Robert Llewellyn interview. It made those parts kind of hard to read, at least for me.

    – Heartwarming to hear that Hilly is supportive of Holly’s transition. I wonder if Hilly is Norman Lovett at this time.

    – I’ll definitely back up Dave and International Debris about Homecoming being good, essential Red Dwarf fan fiction. I only read it very recently, but kind of wish I’d done so sooner! I also find that The Last Temptation of Kryten is extremely overrated. The idea of it, and its completely serious presentation, is pretty funny, but the story of it makes absolutely no sense and Kryten is completely out of character. (Which is the point I guess, but that doesn’t mean it works.)

  • I guess this ties into my confusion about who this “magazine” is actually for. It’s a glorified comic.

    Maybe the name change partly reflected that, I don’t know how newsagents would have gone about arranging it on the shelves.

    Red Dwarf isn’t substantial enough (especially in 1992) for a proper monthly magazine without excessive fanfic filler in some form, though it is overwhelming early on. Even after they swap more of that for proper features, those end up being a prime example of running out of worthwhile things to cover by the end.

  • These character scraps and ‘fun’ pages feel more like the desperate filler you’d get in a non-existent Red Dwarf Annual 1992 than something that dares to be an ongoing publication. It’s just missing the double-page-spread board game that no one’s ever bored enough to play. (Lister needs a curry, miss a turn).

  • A Dwarf annual does seem like a thing we should have got at least one year, doesn’t it?

    Yeah, you’d have thought they could have easily made one, if only by just recycling some Smegazine content.

    Christmas 95 or 96, that would have been a perfect stocking filler. Maybe 96 to make up for the lack of a Smeg Ups/Outs tape.

  • I don’t remember Fleetway doing any annuals for their franchises. If it had been on Marvel, we could have basked in recycled tat on Christmas morning. Or a Grandreams annual that was just character profiles and photos because they couldn’t be arsed to think of content.

  • It’s very amusing to me that for 2 issues in a row, the cast interview has featured them being asked “You’re basically close to done with this character, right?”. Will definitely be awkward if they asked Hattie that though.

    Instead they express surprise that she’s in Series 5 after the “rumours” that she wouldn’t be asked back. Rumours that were unfounded, but nevertheless publicised to the fans by mentioning them.

  • All RD needed for an annual was a nice cardboard cover and some poorly written content inside with glossy photos. Fans will buy anything.

    [sees the Red Dwarf VIII scriptbook on a shelf and does a double-take]

  • An enjoyable listen…

    To be fair to the writers of the magazine…Craig Bierko being considered too good looking to not be able to get a date with Kochanski came straight from Rob’s mouth (and the interview may well appear in a future edition of The Smegazine). It’s probably something that Robert discusses in his book, too.

    It’s interesting that Jane Killick was also allowed on set during Season V to write for Starburst Magazine (and some of her stuff will be in The Smegazine soon, I believe).

  • A few pre-issue 3 thoughts.

    Page 19, ‘Holly Calling’. Got to say, I really liked this strip, thought it had a great look. Seemed a very original feel to what kind of tone the magazine might take.
    Page 23, and the mag had clearly run out of photos of Hattie, and didn’t have enough drawings done yet.
    Page 32, and The Red Dwarf Fun Page.
    I always found the illustrations interesting here. Artwork by John Geering, who was responsible for the bulk of Bananaman strips through the ’80s and ’90s, it seemed strange to have him doing some (pretty odd-looking) Red Dwarf drawings. His Skutters are a bit weird, for a start.
    Unusual, too, as his stuff tended to be in stuff like The Dandy and The Beano, so having a couple of pics like this pop up was a surprise. Got to wonder if his involvement was intended to be an ongoing thing, and if his take on Kryten would perhaps evolve? You have to try and work out where the lines on the face go for a start. There’s some artwork in issue 4, and some in another later issue, that really helped me with my own pics.
    Then there’s Holly-Grams. Does anybody here know anyone willing to admit to ever writing or having a letter published? They really don’t do the SF nerd perception any favours, do they?
    I was going to say something about how embarrassing the bloke saying

    I distinctly remember an episode called ‘Gazpacho Soup’

    is. Then I realised that given that Me² had never actually been repeated at that point, he’s to be commended on remembering details at all.
    No no. Embarrassing is

    Yo! Red Dwarf!
    I think [Rimmer]’s got the IQ of a pile of cow shit.

    *That’s* the readership we’re after. As long as they’ve got some great pseudonym’s sorted.

  • Another great DwarfCast, thanks guys. I need to get quicker at getting around to these, just saw that the cut off for comments was last weekend!

    Like a few others have said I think I enjoyed this second issue more than the first, it’s a bit tighter with less waffle and the fan fic content is at least a little bit better than before. Rimmer’s diary is too long and one note, but I do like the attempt to give an explanation for the Cat’s ever expanding wardrobe of outlandish clothes. That said if they had really discovered a matter converter on ship then they would probably have tried to use it for something beneficial rather than just dump it in a black hole.I loved the design of the ship in the comic, as others have said the ability to design it in ways that could never be achievable on screen has given the artist a lot of freedom that they have taken advantage of. Glad that you mentioned the occasional shot framing things from outside of the ship as those do look really nice. Despite taking inspiration from the series 3-5 era Mel Bibby set designs there’s some nice almost “organic” touches that look really good – curves show up in the designs more often in things like the windows in the Captain’s Office etc. That said I’m not sure I agree with the suggestion that Rimmer is the only one of the main cast who doesn’t look right in this comic – none of them do in my opinion! Lister just looks like a generic guy with dreadlocks in the same way that Rimmer looks like a generic guy with a big nose and side parting. Same for Holly, he looks more like that one scientist character from Half-Life minus the moustache!

    In terms of the question around desktop publishing and what they might have used to put things together, would this have been the era when the Amiga was the king of multimedia applications? PageStream was one of the big hitters if I recall rightly.

  • As long as they’ve got some great pseudonym’s sorted.

    Oh my dear God, I’ve just noticed that my phone inserted a rogue apostrophe in my comment the other week. I am currently sitting here utterly horrified.

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