|Publisher||IPC Magazines/Rebellion Developments|
|First appearance||2000 AD no. 505 (1987)|
|Created by||John Wagner|
|Full name||Durham Red|
|Place of origin||Earth|
|Team affiliations||Strontium Dogs|
|Notable aliases||Empress Redwina|
Durham Red is a British comics character, originally created in 1987 as a female sidekick and lover for Johnny Alpha in the long-running comic book series Strontium Dog in 2000 AD. She is a bounty hunter with a mutation that gives her a vampiric lust for blood.
When the character was first devised, there was some debate over Durham Red or Chelsea Blue as the character's name. The writers, John Wagner and Alan Grant, settled on Durham Red, and the character immediately proved popular from her first appearance. Following the death of Johnny Alpha, she was given a leading role in the spin-off series Strontium Dogs and in her own series, Durham Red. Following the departure of writer Peter Hogan, the series was handed to Dan Abnett. Abnett's first action was to place Red in suspended animation and have her awake a thousand years after Strontium Dog continuity, in a universe where she was worshipped as a mythical saint of mutants.
With art by several artists including Mark Harrison, the series has enjoyed a long run. Dan Abnett's final story was printed in 2004, envisioning Durham Red surviving another ten thousand years, watching over the end of the human race and the beginning of a mutant-populated universe. Since then, the character has returned in stories set before Abnett's, in which she is still in the 22nd century.
As a result of radioactive fallout (strontium-90) from a nuclear war in 2150, Durham Red was born with a mutation which made her resemble a vampire in appearance and behaviour, although she had no supernatural attributes. Shunned by other mutants, she joined the Search / Destroy agency at a young age and became a bounty hunter, or "strontium dog." While working for the agency she met Johnny Alpha (the lead character in the Strontium Dog series) and they were briefly romantically involved, but he was unable to trust her (and with good reason).
At some unspecified time after Alpha's death, Red became tired of her life and entered suspended animation. She only intended to do this for a couple of years, but she was not awoken until 1,272 years later. On her revival she discovered that the human race had spread throughout the galaxy but was still divided between pure-blood humans and mutants. As a mutant who drank the blood of normal humans, she had become a mythical figure to the mutants, who revered her as a saint ("Saint Scarlet"). Her efforts to end the conflict backfired and only made things much worse, costing the lives of billions. However she lived for another ten thousand years, and eventually witnessed a renaissance of human civilisation. In the last episode of Dan Abnett's stories, it is implied that she became an empress and was responsible for a new golden age of humanity, before faking her death and withdrawing from public life. Stories published since then (2004) are set before she entered suspended animation.
She has appeared in a number of strips and featured in her own Durham Red title:
Some of the later stories have been collected into a number of trade paperbacks:
Peter J. Evans has written a number of Durham Red novels that have been published by Black Flame:
Critics said that Rayne, from the videogame series BloodRayne shows a strong similarity to Durham Red, having the same weapons and distinctive red hair. The claim has been denied by the TRI representatives. In a posting on the BloodRayne.co.uk forums Joe Wampole, a developer for BloodRayne declared:
Durham Red looks like a cool character but we've never heard of her. It is coincidence that her and BloodRayne look so similar.
The symbol on the hair is similar but looks more like a target, while Rayne's looks a little like Prince's symbol. Also, it looks like Durham is set in some alternate super sci-fi future.
I think it is just natural to put a vamp chick in black leather and either color her hair black or red."