Lucy "Red" Durham was originally created in 1987 as a female sidekick and lover for Johnny Alpha in the long-running British comicbook series Strontium Dog. She was a sexy bounty hunter with a mutation that gave her a vampiric lust for blood.
Durham Red proved popular from her first appearance, and following the death of Johnny Alpha she was given a leading role in the spin-off series Strontium Dogs. Following the sacking 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.
Aided by some strong art from Mark Harrison, the series enjoyed a long run. However, in 2004, the final story of the arc was printed, envisioning Durham Red surviving another thousand years, watching over the end of the human race and the beginning of a mutant universe.
She has appeared in a number of strips and featured in her own Durham Red title:
- Durham Red:
- Island of the Damned (Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000 AD #762-773, 1991)
- The Golden Mile (Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra, in 2000AD Yearbook 1993)
- Mirrors (Peter Hogan and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #901-903, 1994)
- Ghosts (Peter Hogan and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD Winter Special 1994)
- Deals (Peter Hogan and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #960-963, 1995)
- Diners (Peter Hogan and Paul Marshall, in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special 1995)
- Night of the Hunters (Peter Hogan and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #1000-1005, 1996)
- Epicedium (Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #1006, 1996)
- The Scarlet Cantos (Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #1078-1089, 1998 ISBN 1-904265-86-3)
- Mask of the Red Death (Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #1111, 1998)
- The Vermin Stars (Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #1250-1261, 2001 ISBN 1-904265-08-1)
- The Empty Suns Book I (Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #1362-1368, 2003)
- The Empty Suns Book II (Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison, in 2000 AD #1382-1386, 2004)
Peter J. Evans has written a number of Durham Red novels that have been published by Black Flame:
- When the character was being devised, there was some debate over whether she should be called Durham Red or Chelsea Blue.
- The Strontium Dog stories Red originally appeared in have since been deemed non-canonical, as part of Johnny Alpha's revival. This leaves Red in an unusual position in terms of continuity. The original Strontium Dog stories have been reclassified as tellings of the legend of Johnny Alpha, while the current stories are the "truth". As such, it is possible that the whole Durham Red saga spins off from events that never actually happened in the Strontium Dog universe. Some fans call this "Knots Landing continuity", echoing that television show's crossover into episodes of Dallas which were later revealed as part of a dream sequence.
- Certain critics have said that Rayne, from the videogame series BloodRayne shows a strong similarity to Durham Red, having the same weapons and distinctive red hair, although that claim has been denied by the TRI representatives. In a posting on the then active BloodRayne.co.uk fan forums Joe Wampole, a developer for BloodRayne had this to say,
"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.