DwarfCast 159 - The Smegazine Rack - Issue #7 featured image
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“Let wideons be wideons”

Ian Symes, Jonathan Capps and Daniel Stephenson are delighted to announce that the ongoing DwarfCast hiatus has been resolved.

Moving onwards and upwards, Ian, Cappsy and Danny hope to launch many iterations of DwarfCasts covering various media, working again with Jimmy Nail and other valued partners, and wish each other the very best.

Smoke a kipper, DwarfCasts will eat all your kippers!!

(yay, the Smegazine Rack is back! You know the drill…)

Grab your complementary copy of the mag here.

DwarfCast 159 – The Smegazine Rack – Issue #7 (130MB)

For those of you paying attention, there are a few subtle clues that date this recording. As always we’re trying to strike a balance between not having ridiculous gaps between releases, but also avoiding any sort of burnout and it turns out thinking about and planning for a live-stream can really take up a lot of time and energy. Having said that, in the near future you can look forward to Re-Discovery for the series 2 DVDs and maybe, just maybe, something else.

Show notes

  • We couldn’t find the clip from You Bet! of the German man identifying stamps purely from the taste of the glue, but trust us, it’s phenomenal.

35 comments on “DwarfCast 159 – The Smegazine Rack – Issue #7

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  • Looking forward to listening later this week when I get the chance but I’m just gonna dump a few notes about Issue 7 I’ve had in my phone for months. 

    Ref Dwarf – Lister. Rastabilly Skank is a genre of music, then. Istr a debate on here ages ago, when we were reading the novels for the book club, about whether it’s a genre, a band or a solo artist.

    The Groovy Channel 27 page is dated 2362, and yet Coronation Street is said to be approaching its 400th anniversary even though that would have been two years earlier, as Corrie began in 1960. Good job Howarth and Lyons didn’t get the job of writing the Coronation Street Programme Guide. I like the idea of the Rovers Return having a hotpot dispenser though, like the casserole pipe in Look Around You. Quite a few good gags on this page actually, funnier than these filler type pieces usually are. 

  • I wondered about the Default Big Polymorph on the recent rewatch. I used to think it was just for Lister’s sake and that the sequels/Smegazine forgot that detail, but it does keep reverting to that form within the episode when it attacks the others, and at the end. So it’s probably default unless it just really warmed to the shape.

    But I do like the idea that it’s Lister’s mash-up movie monster. The deleted scene where it grows is reminiscent of a fantastically gross scene from Hellraiser.

  • David Ross is very honest in his interview and presumably this is who Doug was referring to in the Series VIII script book when he talks about an actor leaving his wife that week. I can’t remember Doug’s exact words, but I think it went something like:

    David Ross: “I’ve left my wife. I’ve left my kids. I’ve left the Bentley.”

    Chris Barrie: “You left the Bentley???”

    I’m posting this before getting to that stage of the Dwarfcast, so apologies if it is mentioned then.

  • Nice rack! … um, so to speak. It does feel like at this stage the magazine is getting more confident in settling into its format. I don’t know if the observation that it has more features than usual, but shorter, is true, but nothing in this issue is less than decent, and there’s a lot of good stuff as well.

    – To prevent dwarfcasts becoming dated by topical references, you should start randomly referencing events from history as if they were current, to bamboozle and unsettle the listener. Including events that occurred between recordings. You could even retroactively edit in references to things that happened in the week of release.

    – The Future Echoes adaptation continues to be a highlight. It being so piecemeal isn’t amazing for pacing, but what we get is great. Those extra touches like getting to see Lister being subjugated by dolphin overlords and Rimmer prancing around in funeral garb is the kind of thing that makes these comics worthwhile for us modern folks who have the TV version accessible 24/7. But Jesus, I was NOT expecting to see Rimmer witnessing Bexley’s death actually depicted. It was very well done, but it genuinely caught me off guard.

    – I admit, Lister’s part of the Fun Page also got me. It’s a good use of the format, to include a puzzle that seems real enough that you momentarily forget that the whole page is just a joke.

    – Not to spoil the results of this one, but I have all my savings placed on a bet that Cappsy will win the next Smegazine Rack quiz. Don’t let me down.

    – ‘Camille the Pleasure GELF’ insisting that she couldn’t be attracted to women because she’s “entirely female” is queer erasure, and I demand an apology from Red Dwarf Magazine for not addressing this in their response. Although, the use of “entirely” is accidentally (?) affirming of nonbinary and/or intersex people, so that’s something. After Holly acknowledged that less than 100% of Earth is male or female in an earlier issue, this is now officially a trend.

    – I’m sticking to the coward’s position on RBS: “Rastabilly Skank” is a genre but “Rasta Billy Skank” is an artist.

    – The monster guide fell a bit flat for me. The pictures were nice, but the descriptions of the monsters were too straightforward in my opinion. I was expecting more analysis or commentary, but it came across more like text lifted from an episode guide.

    – Fashion Victims was OK, but it is yet another original comic strip that is outshone by the adapted comic strip in the same issue (and the text only Jake Bullet story for that matter). Hopefully things get stronger once they stop doing the episode adaptations and can focus on the original comics more.

    – I call NOT IT on writing a Red Dwarf Collector’s Guide.

  • Only 14 minutes in at this point, but I thought I’d mention that yes, I think that is meant to be Dan Dare.

    Also, regarding the unexplained Cat In The Hat cameos – there was a pretty famous Spider-Man artist in the late 80s called Todd McFarlane (he later went on to create Spawn and a toy empire, among other things) who would regularly hide cameos from Felix The Cat in his art. I wonder whether this is a bit of a comics in-joke reference to that.

  • Great Dwarfcast, as ever! I enjoyed this issue and think it’s one of the best ones yet.

    I really liked the Future Echoes adaptation here, and – as well as the (very decent) art – I think it’s the little differences that make it interesting. Stuff like telling the Skutters they have to stay around because “he [Rimmer] needs you” rather than “we need you” subtly changes the meaning of the scene in an interesting way, and I also love the image of the human zoo once the dolphins have taken over. It would never work in the show but takes advantage of the fantastical infinite-budget nature of comics nicely.

    I also found it interesting that they chose to actually show “Lister’s” death and Rimmer’s amusingly casual response to it in this version – maybe to sell the viewer 100% on the fact that the Future Echo actually happened and wasn’t an invention/misunderstanding by Rimmer? And I thought Rimmer’s funeral garb was hilarious (and now I’ll always feel like it’s missing from the episode).

    And the other features were better than average this time too – the ‘fun page’ vindaloo gag really made me laugh, and as a big fan of ZAZ movies I loved the faux-noir Police Squad-style Jake Bullet story.

    And the David Ross chat is lovely.

    Shame about the TV guide, but you can’t win them all.

    Then that final Fashion Victims strip is kind of weird – great art again though. And I also liked the weird little detail of Cat having more claw-like hands (shades of Promised Land). But the ‘it was all a dream’ ending does make the whole thing feel a bit silly and pointless in the end. And I’m intrigued as to exactly what Cat was going to say when he told his room full of dream women “Time for a B–“?

    Anyway, addressing some of the other stuff that came up in the Dwarfcast:

    I’m not sure the Polymorph’s default form can be based on Lister’s own personal nightmares, as it still appears the same long after it’s sucked out his fear (and also appears in the same form to other crew members later in the episode).

    In the feature about shared universes, the “Stan Lee (and Jack Kirby)” parenthesis isn’t a dig at Kirby, but the opposite: traditionally, Stan Lee was given lots of credit for the classic era of Marvel comics, and less credit was given to the artists he worked with (many of which came up with most of the actual ideas for the comics, with Lee sometimes writing the plots but often just scripting dialogue and captions over them after they were drawn). So specifically mentioning Kirby too is a way of explicitly acknowledging that – which suggests that this is a writer who does actually know his stuff about comics, as well as sci-fi! (I think it’s maybe a bit of a myth that there’s a big split between those ‘genre’ audiences anyway, I’m sure there’s a huge amount of crossover there.)

    Also, re the Androids/Neighbours gag in the TV listing: a long time ago, it used to be the case that the new episode of Neighbours premiered on the BBC in the evening slot and the repeat was then broadcast the following lunchtime – so maybe the “advance showing” gag is a reference to that.

    Anyway, great stuff and looking forward to the next Smegazine Rack.

  • This has definitely become a mag that the hypothetical 12-year-old me would have been excited for now, if only I’d been born six years earlier and didn’t have to settle for Star Trek mag at that point. Part programme guide (when there wasn’t one), part fanfic, part collectible fact file, with behind-the-scenes insights, a little community comfort and hot-off-the-press news with the exciting confirmation, hidden in the letters page, that there are “plans” for more Red Dwarf at some point!!!

    – ‘Plub…’: A comment from Stilianides last time was attributed to me. Please don’t make me sound like I have actual worthwhile insights.

    – The quotes quiz was well done, a nice mix of familiar scenes to not completely alienate newer fans and ones that would have been tricky to borderline impossible at the time. Playing along at home, I think I only slipped up in calling Demons and Angels “DNA” out loud, but I knew what I meant.

    – I hadn’t heard  ‘wide-on’ for the best part of a quarter century and never had confirmation that the term existed outside of my all-boys school, but of course it did.

    – Rough as it is, Holly’s Data Bank might have been the most fascinating part of the magazine at the time, with its then-exclusive trivia and offline nitpicking.

    – The Jake Bullet story is definitely a tangent, but the pet project enthusiasm comes across and is so much more worthwhile than churning out some on-brand filler. It reminded me in that sense of Nigel Kitching’s horror sitcom strip Decap Attack in Sonic the Comic that persisted long after the other non-Sonic content had been expunged and after most readers had presumably forgotten the game it was based on, because they just loved the material. Steve Noble was one of the two or three stand-out writers they had, along with Kitching (can’t remember if he also wrote the deliberately obscure novel-universe stuff later or if that was a third guy).

    – I’m surprised that Jake Bullet’s changed premise hasn’t proven controversial so far. Maybe we’re open-minded to a writer enjoying creative freedom with a hallucinatory character, or maybe the hardboiled cyberpunk detective career was before he was reduced to cybernautics (there’s a story there). Either way, it’s nice to see a Back to Reality character other than Dibbley getting the spotlight. Maybe there was even some subconscious connection to Kryten playing Sammy the Squib?

    – Red Any Good Books Lately is potentially one of the most interesting parts of the magazine these days for its cultured recommendations. I expect that one of the G&T team will always have something to say on the topic and this wasn’t some kind of fluke.

    – I think the David Ross interview is the debut of their ugly video screencaps for want of early-series photos. They looked awful even in the 90s.

    – The 60s still kind of feels like it was 30 years ago, or at least things from the 60s that I saw in the 90s (mainly Star Trek) don’t feel any more ancient now than they did already. That was a 35th anniversary waffle I forgot to ask – since most of us didn’t come in right at the start, did any of Red Dwarf feel distinctly old to you when you first watched it, and do you feel it’s steadily getting older or stuck in time? I can see why I didn’t get around to posting it now.

    – The Groovy Channel 27 page is fine in-universe world-building, avoiding the cringe of character dialogue. This is actually the first time I’ve realised how much the channel aims to cater to artificial (‘alternative’) life forms, even though that’s implicit or explicit in the series itself. 2362 is also good attention to detail for when Kryten might have been watching the first time around.

  • ‘Plub…’: A comment from Stilianides last time was attributed to me. Please don’t make me sound like I have actual worthwhile insights.

    Probably because they couldn’t bear to say my username again. It’s because I’m Stilianides, isn’t it? :)

  • and I also love the image of the human zoo once the dolphins have taken over.

    Me too but the human being-a-tarium should have been on land with the dolphins in water!

  • Probably because they couldn’t bear to say my username again. It’s because I’m Stilianides, isn’t it? :)

    On the contrary, we take every opportunity to say your name so Danny can try out some new editing effects. Apologies for the mis-attribution.

  • I remember that the ads in the Smegazine were my first exposure to 2000AD. I checked it out and then it became the main thing I read as a teen and probably the last on-going title I picked up regularly before I stopped reading comics (and then went on to draw for it as an adult).

  • Probably because they couldn’t bear to say my username again. It’s because I’m Stilianides, isn’t it? :)

    On the contrary, we take every opportunity to say your name so Danny can try out some new editing effects. Apologies for the mis-attribution.

    Not a problem at all and I really enjoyed the Dwarfcast.

  • The “Plub” typos gag on the contents page is a good one because it gives them plausible deniability that any further mistakes in the mag are just a way of somehow extending this joke. (I did notice a few spelling errors in this issue but forgot to note down where they were.)

    I’m still annoyed about the continuing inconsistency on the name of the publication though. Is it Red Dwarf Magazine or Red Dwarf Smegazine? Because the content of this issue would suggest they haven’t decided yet.

  • I’ve always thought of the little slug like shape (purple on the smegazine cover) as being the proper polymorph form, and that the big alien copy was just to scare lister! Because Rimmer says it “turned into a splodgy squelchy thing and squidged off down the corridor”, which sounds like the slug shape to me!

  • I like Danny’s theory that Fashion Victims is a same-day prequel to Parallel Universe. Kryten’s briefly in the dream and seems to be a fully fledged member of the crew, but I guess the Cat could have just dreamed that happening before it actually did.

    I think I’ve always assumed the big monster was the Polymorph’s default form because it uses its mouth tentacle sucker thing on all the Dwarfers to extract their emotions, but I suppose it doesn’t necessarily have to take on that form to do that. Just before it attacks the Cat, “Genny Mutant” snarls and then there’s a dissolve to the monster’s mouth before the sucker comes out

    But presumably it could just stick it out of her/Rimmer’s/Rimmer’s mother’s mouths (or out of anything at all for that matter) and perhaps would’ve done if the effects budget was much bigger. It would be horrible but hey, there’s a warning at the beginning of the episode.

  • What is the creepy smiling face that looks like a deranged Thomas the Tank Engine on the right hand side of the cover?

    Future Echoes. Lister is popping all his stuff, guitar and all, into the vacuum sealed storage. And he only wants Cat to take two suits. What a guy. 

    Nice to see they thought including Bexley’s death was a good idea. Wasn’t expecting that rather gruesome moment. 

    Not that much else to say about this one. I wonder if anyone read these and then when they got to finally see the first series, we’re majorly disappointed by the totally different sets and costumes. 

    Who said what? Obviously got them all, but surprised at some of the choices. Is the fried calamari line really a classic? Or calling a deceased superior technician a smeghead? Also interesting to see the ‘mc’ in chicken nugget. The how did you score section made me smile. 

    The Red Dwarf Fun Page. Oh great. This again. Actually probably the funniest so far, but I can’t help feeling there’s something a lot better out there that could have been included instead. 

    Holly-grams. Quite liked the response to Camille’s letter, in that there seems to be more self-awareness in that than anything else written in the magazine so far. 

    Alex thinks Rimmer is a smeghead. Bet that was worth the stamp in itself. 

    Sadly I can’t actually read Holly’s no doubt hilarious response to Michelle Nelson. And again to Rasta Billy. Red on purple really doesn’t scan well, does it? 

    Holly’s Data Bank. Ah, an VIII-style font there. Doesn’t bode well. Is this meant to be a parody of the stupid letters they’re receiving each month? I quite like the one about the date, it must be the earliest published example of the Unanswered Questions style pedantry that keeps this fanbase going. 

    The Monsters. I really like that picture. 

    Of Red Dwarf. This is nice, an article on a particular theme. It’s all stuff that we know inside out now, of course, but I’d imagine at the time it was fun to look back over the previous series like this. Nicely written piece. I like the prediction that the next series will feature more monsters aboard the Red Dwarf. Almost, but totally wrong. 

    Jake Bullet. Methinks Steve Lyons may have been watching Police Squad before writing this. Lots of brilliantly corny gags and puns, lovely stuff.

    Red Any Good Books Lately? Shared universes? What a crazy idea. The long description there really makes this a time capsule now.

    David Ross interview. Very different in tone to the previous interviews, more personal and serious and obviously less about Red Dwarf, but a really nice piece that I enjoyed reading a lot.

    Channel 27. Well, this was unexpected. Nice idea. ‘Diane Moron, the Gangrene Goddess’ is a wonderful name. ‘Willy Waffles’ should be the new name for Wafflemen. “Back as promised, after its short hiatus” for Doctor Who is pleasingly vicious. Loads of great gags in there, might have laughed more at that than anything else in a smegazine. 

    Lister. “They could never get him off” – with wording like that, it’s easy to see where the confusion came from. Lots of gags from the show recycled into a page of text. Rastabilly skank cited as a genre. 

    Fashion Victims. I like the Parallel Universe callback at the start.

    I love the look of the city Cat travels to.

    Cat’s face in the first panel of the last page is scary.

    Not the greatest comic strip ever, it has to be said. 

    On the whole, the quality continues to rise overall, with a few bits that don’t quite work, but some genuinely great reading too. Now off to check everyone else’s comments and listen to the Dwarfcast to see if I came up with anything that hasn’t been said ten times already.

  • What is the creepy smiling face that looks like a deranged Thomas the Tank Engine on the right hand side of the cover?

    It’s one of the objects the Polymorph turns into at the beginning of the episode, some kind of pig ornament I think 

  • That’s really quite sinister. Can’t say I’ve ever noticed it before, but it’s now sitting alongside the background faces in Kryten’s cell in Kryten TV in terms of creepy stuff haunting Red Dwarf. 

    I have no idea how to live up to the praise lavished on my letters in this Dwarfcast and may have to retire.

  • That’s really quite sinister. Can’t say I’ve ever noticed it before, but it’s now sitting alongside the background faces in Kryten’s cell in Kryten TV in terms of creepy stuff haunting Red Dwarf

    And let’s not forget the Series 2 donkey.

  • creepy stuff haunting Red Dwarf

    It was a bit of a shock to belatedly notice the little skulls / lost souls on the Inquisitor’s helmet in the Smega Drive era.

  • Who said what? Obviously got them all


  • I feel like if I win any of these it might take the fun out. Yes, that’s it, I will resolve to never win. On purpose. For the good of the show.

  • creepy stuff haunting Red Dwarf

    It was a bit of a shock to belatedly notice the little skulls / lost souls on the Inquisitor’s helmet in the Smega Drive era.

    The Inquisitor’s helmet is one of the best pieces of design in the show. Genuinely movie-worthy.

  • Listening to this, and I’m loving the talk about printing and print processes – coming from a background in printing and newspaper design, it was fun hearing you guys trying to wrap your heads around the logistics of colour placement and pagination!

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