Helix (comics)

Helix was a short-lived, science fiction and science fantasy imprint of DC Comics, launched in 1996 and discontinued in 1998. In early promotional materials prior to the release of the first title, the imprint was called Matrix instead of Helix. It was renamed because of the then-upcoming film, The Matrix.[1] It featured a handful of ongoing monthly series, several limited series, and one short graphic novel.

Despite the involvement of successful science fiction/fantasy novelists Michael Moorcock, Lucius Shepard and Christopher Hinz, and established comics creators Howard Chaykin, Elaine Lee, Matt Howarth, Warren Ellis, Walt Simonson, and Garth Ennis, sales of the comic books were low, and most of the ongoing titles were cancelled after 12 or fewer issues. Ellis' Transmetropolitan was switched to the Vertigo imprint, where it continued for several more years before reaching its planned conclusion. Ennis' Bloody Mary mini-series and Michael Moorcock's Multiverse were later collected in Vertigo-label paperbacks and Moeller's Sheva's War was released as a graphic novel paperback by Dark Horse.

Limited availability of the books in bookstores that already sold science fiction, resistance among science-fiction readers to serialized monthly publication, the lower visibility of the line's deliberately muted cover color palette, and the lack of interest in genre SF among regular patrons of comic-book stores, were all cited by industry observers as factors in the imprint's demise.

Helix
Helix comics logo
Parent companyDC Comics (Warner Bros.)
Statusdefunct, 1998
Founded1996
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York City
Key peopleMichael Moorcock, Lucius Shepard, Christopher Hinz, Howard Chaykin, Elaine Lee, Matt Howarth, Warren Ellis, Walt Simonson, Garth Ennis
Publication typesComic books
Fiction genresscience fiction, science fantasy

Helix titles

Book title Issues Writer Artist(s) Publication dates
The Black Lamb 6 Timothy Truman Timothy Truman November 1996 – April 1997
Bloody Mary[note 1] 4 Garth Ennis Carlos Ezquerra October 1996 – January 1997
Bloody Mary: Lady Liberty 4 Garth Ennis Carlos Ezquerra September 1997 – December 1997
BrainBanx 6 Elaine Lee Jason Temujin Minor March 1997 – August 1997
Cyberella 12 Howard Chaykin Don Cameron September 1996 – August 1997
Dead Corps 4 Christopher Hinz Steve Pugh September 1998 – December 1998
The Dome: Ground Zero 1 Dave Gibbons Angus McKie 1998
Gemini Blood 9 Christopher Hinz Tommy Lee Edwards September 1996 – May 1997
Michael Moorcock's Multiverse[note 2] 12 Michael Moorcock Walter Simonson, Mark Reeve, John Ridgway November 1997 – October 1998
Sheva's War[note 3] 5 Christopher Moeller Christopher Moeller October 1998 – February 1999
Star Crossed 3 Matt Howarth Matt Howarth Jun 1997 - Aug 1997
Time Breakers 5 Rachel Pollack Chris Weston January 1997 – May 1997
Transmetropolitan 60[note 4] Warren Ellis Darick Robertson September 1997 – November 2002
Vermillion 12 Lucius Shepard Al Davison, John Totleben, Gary Erskine October 1996 – September 1997

Notes

  1. ^ A TPB collected edition was released in 2005 under the Vertigo imprint.
  2. ^ A TPB collected edition was released in 1999 under the Vertigo imprint.
  3. ^ A TPB collection - Iron Empires vol. 2: Sheva's War - was released in 2004 by Dark Horse.
  4. ^ Issues 1-12 published under the Helix imprint; issues 13-60 published under the Vertigo imprint.

References

  1. ^ Brian Cronin (2011-08-02). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #114". CBR. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
Bloody Mary (Helix)

Bloody Mary is the title of a series of science fiction comic book limited series written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra. All of the series were published as part of DC Comics' Helix imprint. It is also the name of the protagonist of the series.

BrainBanx

BrainBanx is a six-issue comic book limited series published in 1997 as part of the short-lived DC Comics imprint, Helix. Written by Elaine Lee and featuring artwork by Jason Temujin Minor, the title narrates the tale of the red-headed Anna Elysian, a telepathic intelligence operative working undercover in a distant future world.

Cyberella

Cyberella is an American comic book series first published in 1996 as part of the short-lived DC Comics imprint, Helix. The title was initially scheduled to be an ongoing monthly, but, owing to poor sales figures for both it and the Helix line generally, was cancelled after twelve issues in 1997. Written by Howard Chaykin and drawn by Don Cameron the title has been variously described as a techno-satire and a populist cyberpunk dystopia.

Dead Corps

Dead Corps, subtitled Dead Corpse, is a four-issue comic book mini-series published in 1998 by Helix, a short-lived imprint of American company DC Comics. Written by Christopher Hinz and illustrated by Steve Pugh, the story is set in a near-future earth where medical technology has opened the possibility for the re-animation of human beings and the dead play an active but sometimes unwilling role in everyday society. The title met with little success commercially as it was published by Helix some time after the cancellation of the entire imprint had been announced.

Gemini Blood

Gemini Blood is a nine-issue comic book series published by American company DC Comics under its Helix imprint. Dated from September 1996 to May 1997, the series was written by Christopher Hinz and illustrated by Tommy Lee Edwards. It was placed in the same universe as Hinz's Paratwa Saga, featured in his trilogy of novels consisting of Liege-Killer (1987), Ash Ock (1989) and The Paratwa (1991). Set in the mid 21st century, the world of Gemini Blood was one of increasing global chaos. The plot of the comic followed a group of four adventurers as they attempted to combat the Paratwa, a race of genetically engineered assassins who share a psychic bond between twins.

Hellblazer

Hellblazer (also known as John Constantine, Hellblazer) is an American contemporary horror comic book series published by DC Comics, and subsequently by its Vertigo imprint since March 1993 when the imprint was introduced. Its central character is the streetwise magician John Constantine, who was created by Alan Moore and Stephen R. Bissette, and first appeared as a supporting character in Swamp Thing (vol. 2) #37 (June 1985), during that creative team's run on that title. Hellblazer had been published continuously since January 1988, and was Vertigo's longest running title, the only remaining publication from the imprint's launch. In 2013, the series concluded with issue 300, and has been replaced by a DC Universe title, Constantine. It was then relaunched in 2016 with the title The Hellblazer as part of DC Rebirth, restoring the character to his original cast, tone and setting, before the series' cancellation in 2018. Well known for its political and social commentary, the series has spawned a film adaptation, television show, novels, and multiple spin-offs and crossovers.

The series was the longest-running and one of the most successful titles of DC's Vertigo imprint, and was the stepping stone for many British writers. Notable writers who have contributed to the series include Jamie Delano, Garth Ennis, Eddie Campbell, Paul Jenkins, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman, Brian Azzarello, Darko Macan, Mike Carey, Andy Diggle, Ian Rankin, Si Spencer and Peter Milligan. Hellblazer was one of the first modern occult detective fiction works and heavily influenced the genre to come.

List of superheroines

The following is a list of superheroines (female superheroes) in comic books, television, film, and other media. Each character's name is followed by the publisher's name in parentheses; those from television or movies have their program listed in square brackets, and those in both comic books and other media appear in parentheses.

Michael Moorcock's Multiverse

Michael Moorcock's Multiverse is an American twelve-issue comic book limited series published in 1997 as a part of the short-lived DC Comics imprint Helix. It was later collected as a single edition graphic novel. Written by Michael Moorcock, each monthly issue contained a chapter from three separate storylines featuring distinct groups of characters lifted from Moorcock's sprawling Eternal Champion novels.

A different artist illustrated each story; Walter Simonson for Moonbeams and Roses, Mark Reeve for The Metatemporal Detective and John Ridgway for Duke Elric. Whilst each story depicted an independent series of events set across different locations and time-lines, by the conclusion of the title the three plot threads had converged in a logical manner centred on their mutual search for the Silverskin, an enigmatic underworld crime figure and recurring protagonist from Moorcock's novels.Despite a positive reception in comparison with other Helix titles, critics remarked that the title was not the best introduction to Moorcock's work.

Sheva's War

Sheva's War is a five-issue fully painted limited series graphic novel published in 1998. It was the final title to be released under the short-lived DC Comics imprint, Helix.

Created, written and painted by Christopher Moeller, the story is the second to be located in Moeller's futuristic Iron Empires universe following publication of the Faith Conquers limited series by Dark Horse in 1994.

Star Crossed (comics)

Star Crossed, is a three-issue comic book mini-series published in 1997 under the short-lived DC Comics imprint, Helix. Written and illustrated by Matt Howarth, Star Crossed recounts the surrealist tale of a deep-space romance between a genetically engineered über-woman and a sentient asteroid. Consistent with the performance of other Helix titles, Star Crossed failed to appeal to a broad readership and the poor sales figures which accompanied its publication coincided with a general downturn in the American comic book industry.

Starstruck (comics)

Starstruck is an American comic book series. It was inspired by the off-Broadway stage play with the same name written by Elaine Lee, with contributions from Susan Norfleet Lee and Dale Place.

The Starstruck creator-owned illustrated science fiction serial has been produced at various intervals since 1982 by writer Lee and artist Michael Wm. Kaluta; their primary collaborators are colorist Lee Moyer and letterer Todd Klein. The series, epic in scope, has been carried across multiple comic companies, but primarily by Epic Comics, Dark Horse Comics, and IDW Publishing. It was collected in a revised and recolored hardcover book form as Starstruck Deluxe Edition in 2011.

Starstruck is set in an anarchic future in which Humanity spans the universe. The Great Dictator has fallen and a power vacuum sparks a chess game of eccentric players scheming for control. The seriocomic stories follow Captain Galatia 9 and her running partner, Brucilla The Muscle, as they navigate madcap scenarios and surreal misadventures in between the galactic infighting.

Since its inception, Starstruck has built a cult audience and critical acclaim from peers, periodicals, and fans for the sophistication of its storytelling. Most noted is the predominantly female cast, portrayed by Lee with a range and nuance that confounds gender stereotypes. Kaluta, an esteemed veteran of comics and illustration, is often commended for the virtuosity and imaginative detail of his artwork. Also, the series is cited for the progressiveness of its rich and complex structure: Starstruck preceded Watchmen in using innovations like nonlinear storytelling, overlapping dialogue, multiple story threads, back-up text, unreliable narrators, adjunct stories, underlying themes, recurring symbols, and an almost symphonic interconnectedness.

The Black Lamb

The Black Lamb is an American six-issue comic book limited series that takes place in a science fantasy setting. Published in late 1996 and early 1997 by DC Comics as part of their now defunct Helix imprint, the series was written and drawn by Tim Truman.

Set in an unnamed near future city that has a cyberpunk appearance and feel, The Black Lamb stars a character named Diarmaid Donn, a centuries old vampire who is originally from medieval Ireland. Donn, known as the Black Lamb, is a figure authorized by the supernatural elements of the city, known collectively as the Tribes of the Night, as judge, jury and executioner in matters pertaining to the protection of the Tribes of the Night. In 2008 Truman declared:

He was designed to be a "Shadow" for the monster-class -- a defender of the things that go bump in the night. Even monsters need heroes, after all.

Told mostly from the point of view of the title character, a significant amount of time also finds the story told from the point of view of a supporting character named Commissioner Damn. Damn is a police officer who has the ability to sense supernatural beings.

Although some members of the Tribes of the Night live above ground, the majority reside, hidden in secret, in a huge maze of underground caverns beneath the city.

In the back of issue #1, Tim Truman wrote a column titled "Out for Blood" in which he noted the influences and inspirations for The Black Lamb. Among the named sources are James Whale's 1931 motion picture version of Frankenstein, the stories featuring Fu Manchu and The Iron Dream by science fiction writer, Norman Spinrad.

Time Breakers

Time Breakers, is a five-issue comic book limited series published in 1997 under the short-lived DC Comics imprint, Helix. It was written by Rachel Pollack and illustrated by Chris Weston.

Time Breakers narrates the exploits of a self-recruited team of time travellers dedicated to the creation of time paradoxes in the belief that this is the only method to prevent the destruction of time itself. Contrary to the performance of most other Helix titles, Time Breakers gained a loyal readership yet the overall poor sales figures of the Helix line dissuaded DC from renewing the title for an additional series.

Transmetropolitan

Transmetropolitan is a cyberpunk transhumanist comic book series written by Warren Ellis and co-created and designed by Darick Robertson; it was published by the American company DC Comics in 1997–2002. The series was originally part of the short-lived DC Comics imprint Helix, but upon the end of the book's first year the series was moved to the Vertigo imprint and DC Comics shut down the Helix imprint. Transmetropolitan chronicles the battles of Spider Jerusalem, infamous renegade gonzo journalist of the future..

Spider Jerusalem dedicates himself to fighting the corruption and abuse of power of two successive United States presidents; he and his "filthy assistants" strive to keep their world from turning more dystopian than it already is while dealing with the struggles of fame and power, brought about due to the popularity of Spider via his articles.

The monthly series began in July 1997 and concluded in September 2002. The series was later reprinted in an array of ten trade paperback volumes, and also featured two "specials" (I Hate It Here and Filth of the City) with text pieces written by the Spider Jerusalem character and illustrated by a wide range of comic artists. These were later collected in trade paperbacks.

Vermillion (Helix)

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 science fiction 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.

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