Red or Dead
Red or Dead
"Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra discuss the return of Durham Red"
This week’s 2000 AD Prog 1785 marks the return of Durham Red to the pages of The Galaxy’s Greatest Comic Book, in her new story ‘The “Nobody Wants This Job” Job.’

Created in 1987 by John Wagner, Alan Grant, and Carlos Ezquerra, Durham Red was introduced to Strontium Dog as a female counterpart to Johnny Alpha. Red is a sexy bounty hunter with a vampiric mutation that causes her to be dependent upon a daily intake of blood. The character went on to star in her own long-running series, and the last time readers saw her was in 2004’s “The Empty Suns” saga, by Dan Abnett and Mark Harrison - a story set thousands of years after Strontium Dog continuity, which saw a cryogenically preserved Red worshipped as a saint of mutants.

To find out more about this new story, and where it fits into Red’s overall tale,’s Ed Kaye caught up with Alan Grant and Carlos Ezquerra...

2000 AD: I guess the first thing we should establish is whether this new story is set after the events of “The Empty Suns” saga, or at an earlier time in Durham’s life?

Alan Grant: The new story (‘The "Nobody Wants This Job" Job’) showcases Red's first-ever case as a bounty hunter acting out of the Doghouse. I had no desire to set her story thousands of years in the future, so I decided to allow that particular sleeping dog to lie.

2000 AD: Durham Red is obviously a character with a lot of history, what have you done to make this new story accessible to new readers?

Alan Grant: It's her first-ever job, so anybody should be able to jump on board and understand everything from the start.

2000 AD: What sort of things can readers expect to see in the story?

Alan Grant: Vampirism, a lot of action, a little bit of humour, ditto morality... and some sexy Ezquerra artwork.

2000 AD: Can we expect to see any familiar Strontium Dog faces to make an appearance?

Alan Grant: Johnny and Wulf make a cameo appearance in my new story, but only for a few panels - and Red blows them off anyway.

2000 AD: While you co-created Durham Red back in the 1980s, it’s been nearly two decades since either of you has worked on the strip. How does it feel to be working on the character again?

Alan Grant: Like I've never been away. I never read any of the future-set stories, so as far as I was concerned she was the same Red that John Wagner and I wrote all those years ago.
Carlos Ezquerra: She was one of my favourite characters, and I think it’s a pity we didn't use her more often. I say that because later, when she got her own series, with beautiful art from Mark Harrison, she became a very different character - nothing to do with our Durham Red.

2000 AD: How does it feel to be reunited as a creative team, and how would you describe each others work on this new series?

Alan Grant: Carlos' artwork is simply beautiful, in my opinion his best art for a while. Although many other artists have tried their hand at drawing Red, for me Carlos remains the original and the best. And I think you can tell from the quality of the artwork that Carlos feels the same way.

Carlos Ezquerra: Alan’s script was perfect, as always. Remember that Alan and I have been working together on and off since the eighties... a looong time, and both of us know where the other stands.

2000 AD: Is the way you draw the character on this new series very similar to how you originally drew her? Have you updated her look in any way, or incorporate any changes that artists who came after you made to her?

Carlos Ezquerra: No, she's exactly as she was originally, because this is suppose to be her first job at the SD agency

2000 AD: Do you have any favourite moments from the story?

Alan Grant: I like her first meeting with another new mutant bounty hunter, “Jones the Voice” - who, as the story progresses, pops up again and lands Red in the proverbial shit. I also like her dealings with the villain of the piece, Avi Reebok, and his right-hand mutie Lurk. Red faces a bit of a moral dilemma when her target turns out to be a mutie too, and actually one of the good guys.

Carlos Ezquerra: The best part is the one that Tharg censored for being too sexy.. ;)

2000 AD: Well there you have it Earthlets, I guess there is such a thing as too much Thrill Power...

Durham Red: The “Nobody Wants This Job” Job’ begins TODAY in 2000 AD Prog 1785, which is available now from all good newsagents in the UK, and will be available in North America in June.

Michael Molcher

Wednesday 30th May 2012