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John Byrne's Alpha Flight is Still Around Three Million Years From Now

In "The World Outside," I examine comic books showing up in outside media, like TV shows, sports, novels and films.

Today, based on a suggestion from longtime reader Mik B., we look at evidence that John Byrne's Alpha Flight will still be around three million years into the future!

Red Dwarf was one of the most acclaimed science fiction comedy series in television history (granted, there is not exactly a wide breadth of science fiction comedy series in the history of television, but still). Created by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor and debuting on BBC Two in 1988, the series was about a crew member on a mining space ship known as Red Dwarf. The ship went on its initial mission in the late 22nd Century, but then a crewmember, Dave Lister (played by Craig Charles), was punished for sneaking his pregnant cat on board the ship. Lister's punishment was to go into suspended animation for a little while. However, while he was in suspended animation, a radiation leak killed all the other crew members on board the ship. As per protocol, Lister could only be allowed out of suspended animation when it was safe to do so. That meant that he had to wait until the radiation exposure was entirely gone, which turned out to take THREE MILLION YEARS. The ship's computer, not wanting Lister to go insane, decided to give him someone to talk to. It chose Lister's bunk mate from before the radiation leak, Arnold Rimmer (Chris Barrie). Rimmer was not the nicest guy and he was the only person on the ship that was as lowly-ranked as Lister (Lister was literally the lowest ranked person on the ship). So the ship (an artificial intelligence known as Holly) created a hologram of Rimmer that Lister could hang out with. Also, as it turned out, Lister's cat had also been free in the cargo hold when the radiation leak occurred. Its litter eventually evolved over three million years into humanoid creatures and one of them, Cat ( Danny John-Jules), was on board the ship with Lister. The crew later rescued a Service Mechanoid named Kryten (Robert Llewellyn), who also remained with them.

As you might imagine, since Holly ran the ship fine for three million years, Lister was not actually required to DO anything. He was very, very far from home and what he most wanted to do was to somehow return to Earth. In the meantime, he just hangs out with Rimmer. The whole set-up is essentially designed to put into place your basic sort of "Odd Couple" situation (R.I.P, Neil Simon), with Lister and Rimmer bickering and getting into misadventures together.

One of those misadventures occurred in the third season (or "series," if you prefer the British nomenclature), when Rimmer tried to steal Lister's human body. Before he did so, Lister is seen reading some interesting comic book material!

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