Home Forums Ganymede & Titan Forum Nigel "Smegazine" Kitching's Red Dwarf references in Sonic the Comic

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  • #221191
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Hello there!

    Ten-year site reader, first time poster, because when you’ve got something this monumental to share, you don’t keep it quiet for eleven years.

    It might well be of no interest to anyone apart from me, but there might be some other people here in the Venn diagram of ’90s kids who loved Red Dwarf and comics about blue hedgehogs.

    Background

    Nigel Kitching wrote and drew for the Smegazine from Nov ’92 to Nov ’93. His stories were notable for their better grasp of the characters and the feel of the show than the usual Smegazine tat, as well as for their extensive references to episodes and the novels. He was clearly a fan.

    During this time, he started to write (and sometimes draw) for Sonic the Comic, also published by Fleetway. His early stories include the odd Red Dwarf reference (definite or imaginary) which peter out over time.

    When I asked him about some of the more obvious examples on an STC forum years ago, he said yeah, it was Red Dwarf. I discovered more last year when I read all the comics again despite being a 30-year-old grown man.

    Refs Dwarf

    Here are the comic panels and the episodes they relate to. I’ll assume you know the Red Dwarf bits already, except when I’m grasping.

    1. ‘Super Sonic’ v. ‘Polymorph’

    2. ‘Back to Reality’ v. ‘Quarantine’

    (And yeah, that title).

    3. ‘Megatox’ v. ‘Demons and Angels’

    (Holowhip…?)

    4. ‘Girl Trouble’ v. ‘White Hole’

    The Kintobor computer is modelled after Robotnik before he went bad, but it looks as if bald Holly got the White Hole treatment.

    I know, these are getting rubbish now, but I’m about to bring it back.

    5. ‘Girl Trouble’ v. ‘The End’

    Did you spot it, boomers?

    6. ‘The Sonic Terminator’ v. ‘Future Echoes’ & ‘The Inquisitor’

    Nigel’s explained that the time travel in this story is indebted to Red Dwarf, especially when events catch up and they repeat the same page later in the story from the other Sonic(/Kryten/Rimmer)’s perspective.

    “get in the beam” = ‘”take the gauntlet and go”

    “well this had better not be a trick” = “well it probably is deja vu”

    7. ‘Who Killed Chuck?’ v. ‘Future Echoes’

    Slagging off PE teachers.

    8. ‘The Tomb’ v. Starbug

    This insectoid craft was similarly prone to crashing.

    I’ve wasted my life.

    #221192
    Dave
    Participant

    I read those comics at the time but never made those connections, despite being a Red Dwarf fan at that time too. Great!

    (I always loved the way that ‘Sonic Terminator’ story reuses that page. I should have thought of Future Echoes!)

    #221193
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Thanks Dave, you’re helping to validate my life.

    Here’s the quote straight from the Kitching’s fingers when I asked about The Sonic Terminator’s RD parallels in 2012 on the STC forum:

    “The Sonic Terminator time travel thing was very directly inspired by Red Dwarf’s ‘Future Echoes’. I love the way the same exchange of dialogue worked equally well from both time perspectives and I really wanted to see if I could write a similar thing.

    “So yes, Red Dwarf was a big influence when it came to time travel stuff. … I was lucky to get work on the Smegazine – I was a fan of the series so it was great fun.

    “When I did Red Dwarf I think there was still something of the ‘fan writer’ going on. It took STC to make me really think about what I was doing”

    #221198
    Seb Patrick
    Keymaster

    Kitching’s work was always the best stuff in both StC (especially when he had Richard Elson drawing it, which I think a lot of the stuff above is?) and the Smegazine. I see him very much as the forerunner to James Roberts, whose Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is a tremendous character-driven comedy that also frequently works in (sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle) Dwarf references.

    #221214
    Ian Symes
    Keymaster

    This is excellent, Mr Dog.

    #221223
    Hamish
    Participant

    > This is excellent, Mr Dog.

    A roverostomy, they called it.

    …sorry, I will go sit quietly in the corner now.

    #266571
    Dave
    Participant

    Not quite on-topic but I couldn’t be bothered to create a new thread for this either.

    I was reading Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons’ “The Secret Service” (aka Kingsman) for the first time tonight and this panel made me chuckle – one of the subplots revolves around various sci-fi celebs being kidnapped by the main villain:

    Secret Service

    #266573
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I just reuploaded the lost images from the top, but the link-heavy post got caught in the spam filter as anticipated.

    #266577
    Jenuall
    Participant

    I would be very interested in seeing the re-uploads as I definitely fall into the crossover part of the Venn diagram!

    #266581
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Here they are: https://imgur.com/a/Us1jqeK

    I was always curious about that Transformers series Seb mentioned, but being born a year or so too late for Transformers to be in my nostalgia, I haven’t got around to it.

    #266605
    Moonlight
    Participant

    No wonder every Red Dwarf fan I ever met played Sonic on the Mega Drive growing up. They were indoctrinated into the show by the Sonic comic via subtle references.

    #266607
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Dubious Red Dwarf in Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye, Book 1

    It’s probably safe to assume that the British Transformers writer who sent a dysfunctional crew four million years into deep space to get on each others’ tits was also a Red Dwarf fan growing up, but scouting for references only turned up the vaguely familiar.

    He also doesn’t name the series among the influences in his introduction, going with things like “Dark Star meets Star Trek” instead. They were quite fun, anyway.

    No wonder every Red Dwarf fan I ever met played Sonic on the Mega Drive growing up. They were indoctrinated into the show by the Sonic comic via subtle references.

    I think the UK was more of a Mega Drive (and Master System) than SNES nation generally, something about release times. Sonic was also a natural successor in the wisecracking American-voiced action hero mutant animal thing slot when the Turtles got old and other attempts like Bucky O’Hare and Toxic Crusaders didn’t take.

    #266609
    Moonlight
    Participant

    Genesis was king here for a while, but Master System had no ground compared to the NES. There’s a reason it was called the Console Wars over here, with the NES taking the lead first but SEGA curbstomping Nintendo by introducing a 16-bit console years before the SNES. Sonic was a huge part of maintaining that too because it completely blew traditional platformers like Mario out of the water on a technical level and sheer “wow” factor for the time.

    Sonic 2 has always been one of my favorite games and I still regularly boot it up even if I just play a few zones.

    #266626
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Wow those scans are great! I remember quite a few of these from back in the day so that was an excellent nostalgia hit! :D

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