Red Dwarf: Songs in the Key of Files

Kris Carter is a freelance colorist who has worked in universes as varied as Doctor Who, Transformers, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. He’s also a bit of a Red Dwarf fan, and when I read his fan-comic “Scoop of the Century” I reached out to him to see if he wanted to work on something together. He said Yes, and the end result was “Songs in the Key of Files”.

Writing this comic was something of a challenge. I’d deliberately set myself some rules. Firstly, I wanted to set it during the show’s first two series. The tone of a show was much more personal and less focused on the “thing of the week” format that dominated the show’s later series, and I’d already written plenty of “running away from monsters” stuff with Jump Leads.

Secondly, I wouldn’t introduce anything new to the show’s preexisting canon, nor use locations not featured in the show itself. I fudged this one a little, opting to show the Waste Management department mentioned by Lister in “Waiting for God”, which I thought was a nice little nod.

Finally, I didn’t want this to be any longer than eight pages long, if only for Kris’ sake – he’s a freelance colorist and also working on his own comics such as Lou Scannon, so eight pages seemed a good enough length to avoid eating into his schedule. I actually had to get Kris’ help with this one, as I’d never actually written in comic script format. Jump Leads is written in screenplay format then adapted by the artist, so this was an entirely new process for me. He helped me teak dialogue, reshuffle frames and page positions, and helped tighten some of the action.

The comic was well-received, and even got a shout-out on the official Red Dwarf website in an article about fan-art. It also got printed in the official Red Dwarf Fan Club magazine. So that’s nice.

For those of you who obsess over this sort of thing, this comic is set during the show’s first series – specifically between the episodes “Balance of Power” and “Waiting for God“.