The mutant vampire bounty hunter known as Durham Red is one of the most popular characters in British comics. An unsung figure in vampire fiction and one whose appeal remains truly troublesome
“Of all the strange and terrible beings who wore the badge of the Search / Destroy Agency, there were few more feared – or more desired – than the woman they called Durham Red.”
A suitably pulpy teaser for one of the most enduring - and problematic - characters to ever appear in still-going-strong British sci-fi anthology comic 2000 AD.
This first-page glamour shot by the legendary Spanish artist Carlos Ezquerra makes the ‘desired’ bit pretty obvious. This was back in 1987 when 2000 AD was still targeted pretty much exclusively at British teenage boys who had to make do with hedge-porn and the underwear section of the Kay’s catalogue. But this mutant vampire bounty hunter – with her sour cherry pout and a hairdo like a Norfolk cottage - doesn’t look any more fearful than all the other ‘strange and terrible’ scuzzbags who populate the mutant-ridden universe of Strontium Dog, the intergalactic Spaghetti Western strip in which Durham Red first appeared.
You had to read on to realise what it was about Red that made her so frightening. The character’s darkly seductive appeal plunges much deeper than that formidable cleavage, a scariness that runs vein-deep and assures the character a solid yet unsung place in the wider canon of vampire fiction.
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