"You’re a shark, Durham Red! A killin’ machine! You can’t pretend to be anything else and you know it!’ - Errol ‘Shifty’ McGee, fugitive criminal.
Earth’s Atomic Wars left survivors hideously mutated by Strontium 90 fallout. Forced into ghettos, feared and hated by all, many such mutants turned to the most dangerous profession in the galaxy: bounty hunting. One such agent is the mutant vampire DURHAM RED. Feared not only by the criminals she hunts but also her fellow mutants, Red’s reputation for savagery forever precedes her
In 2017, Judge Dredd artist Ben Willsher and I pitched a revival of 2000 AD’s sultry vampire bounty hunter Durham Red. A popular supporting character from the comic’s galactic Western Strontium Dog by John Wagner and Carlos Esquerra, Red first appeared in 1987 and had last been seen in a far-future sequel by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison in 2001. The adventures of our version of the character takes place between those two timelines.
Working in close collaboration, Ben and I set about the redesign, giving her a cool but practical look that retained the scuzzy half-gunslinger, half-femme fatale vibe of the original Strontium Dog.
In writing this series I wanted to explore what Red would do on her own. Having turned her back on the agency for which she once worked, she’s now a helplessly blood-hungry pariah striving to maintain a moral compass. On one hand, Red’s a killer and a monster, and in this series I really wanted to ramp up the horror aspects and show exactly why everyone in the original strip is so terrified of her. Yet she’s equally cursed with a knowledge of right and wrong. Having her explore the moral choices she would make within that space has been one of the driving forces behind this strip.
Eight episodes, with art by Ben Willsher and Lee Carter and letters by Ellie De Ville, in 2000 AD #2082-89, May July 2018.
Set between Durham Red’s original 1980s run in Strontium Dog and the 2000’s sequel set in the far-future, this brand-new series finds the mutant vampire bounty hunter has become a galactic pariah, a blood-thirsty abomination trusted by no one, least of all herself. Reduced to working security on a backwater planet, Red is hired by a dying gangster to find his mother, a woman with a very particular set of skills and no intention of ever being found…
Nine-page one-shot, with art by Ben Willsher and letters by Annie Parkhouse, in 2000 AD #2111, December 2018.
It’s Christmas Eve. The city is in thrall to a powerful criminal gang whose envoy comes bearing a gift for Durham Red. But the mutant vampire has brought offerings of her own. Three gifts are exchanged, each one the next step in a deadly game...
Nine-page one-shot, with art by Ben Willsher and letters by Jim Campbell, in 2000 AD #2162, December 2019.
Red corners her latest quarry in the ruins of an ancient castle, but her prey proves far from helpless as an ancient evil stirs among the stones...
Twelve-episode series, with art by Ben Willsher and letters by Jim Campbell, in 2000 AD #2212-2219, #2221-2223, December 2020-March 2021.
When bloodthirsty mercenaries and their mysterious paymaster lay siege to a custody station on a remote ice-world, an imprisoned Durham Red must co-operate with jailers and fellow convicts alike if they are all to survive.
Durham Red, Volume One: Born Bad
Digital trade collection including Born Bad, Three Gifts and Mistletoe Kiss, December 2021.