Cover to Vermillion No. 1: Starlight Drive. Art by Al Davison
|Publisher||Helix (DC Comics imprint)|
|Publication date||1996 - 1997|
|Number of issues||12|
|Main character(s)||Jonathan Cave|
|Artist(s)||Al Davison, John Totleben, Gary Erskine|
Vermillion is a dark science fantasy comic book series set in an eponymous city located in an imagined far future or alternate reality. The series was conceived and written by multi-award winning author Lucius Shepard as part of the short-lived DC Comics imprint, Helix. The title was cancelled after a one year publication run shortly before the Helix imprint was itself cancelled by DC and its remaining titles shifted across to the Vertigo line.
The series narrates the tale of its major protagonist Jonathan Cave, to a man named Brother Fry. It describes the last days of a previous universe whose destruction in turn spawned the never-ending dystopian city-universe of Vermillion.
...the sight of Vermillion by night oppressed me. Streets so long no man could travel their length in a thousand lifetimes. A universe that was literally a single city. My home yet not my home. As old as time by most measures, yet new to me. I would never grow used to it.— Jonathan Cave, Vermillion #1, p.3, Oct. 96
The series included two notable story arcs during its brief print run: Starlight Drive (issues 1-7) and Lord Iron & Lady Manganese (issues 9 -11).
The popularity of Vermillion suffered along with many of the early Helix titles for failing to identify with a clearly defined readership. One notable criticism was that it trod an ambivalent line between the SF and fantasy genres. In this context, it was never made clear to the reader what the "rules" of the Vermillion universe actually entailed or whether it was just in fact a random place setting. Other critics were more uncomplimentary.
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