Pictures courtesy by Bill Leach. Published with permission. © Richard Corben.
20+12 pgs. Appeared first time in Weirdom #13 (1969). Reprint in Tales from the Plague #1 (1971) and in Tales from the Plague [1986 Reprinted Version].
Story: Dennis Cunningham. Art: Richard Corben (signed as RC). Lettered by hand (Corben).
DK: as “Den sorte død” , as one in Sejd #4 (1973).
GER: as “Die Pest” as a 2 part serial in Schwermetall #72 (1986) to #73 (1986) and as a 2 part serial in Schwermetall, Neue Sammelband #11.
ITA: as “Manoscritti della peste nera”, as 2 part serial in L’Eternauta #85 to #86 (1990).
SPA: as “Manuscritos de la plaga”, as one in Richard Corben obras completas #9 (1989).
Style: Black line. Genre: Horror. Time Span: Middle Ages. Nudity: Half naked girls.
Keywords: Plague. Witch hunt. Religions. Court. Lies. Punishment.
Synopsis: The Elisabethan Witchcraft Act of 1563 had outlawed Black Magic in England. James Hopkins, the writer of first chapter of “Tales from the Plague”, arrests Ann Ashby for taken an interest of witchcraft. There is a league of people witnessing her acts, which leads to punishment. The very following days The Black Death spreads its wings. Second chapter is cataloque of ways to force people to say “yes” on a question to be a witch or not. There is also a map with years how The Black Death spreads. It is written by Ann Ashby in the darkness of prison, before her punishment.
Comment: “Tales from the Plague” is Corben’s first published story. It is full of strong picts, but it is made as a mixture of comic and illustrated text. Gothic and handwritten texts are extremely difficult to read and entirety is very slow and hard to go through. Story is highly informative according Plague: what are symptoms, how they tortured people for witchcraft and where it went. Both stories starts and ends with a hostess named Laural-Li. In 1986 reprinted version there is a brand new cover art and some B&W pict which are quite sure made long, long after it’s first appearing in 1969 (specially very last pict with Laural-Li telling history of comic “Tales from the Plague” on Inner Back Cover).
Version 2: Only 17 pages long!
Humour: There is a small joke on 17th page of first story: on the middle of page is a frame with tomb stone engraved as “Corb—“.
Laural-Li says (on Inner Back Cover of 1986 reprinted version), This is Corben’s first attempt at a comic book, although the art is far from comic. Corben was 28 years old and still working at Calvin Productions when he began working on “TALES FROM THE PLAGUE”. Dennis Cunningham was the first person to use Corben’s art in the comic book field. Back in the late sixties and early seventies Cunningham published a series of underground comics titled Weirdom Illustrated, it was here in number 13, the “Special Plague Issue”, that Corben’s artwork first surfaced. It didn’t take long before Corben was recognized as one of the top artists in the country.
And she continues, “TALES FROM THE PLAGUE” was previously printed by Cunningham on two separate occasions. First, in April 1969, falling under the title Weirdom Illustrated, Number 13, Special Plague Issue. This was a small edition (5 1/4″ x 8 1/4″) printed by Dennis himself, while on leave from the Army. There were only 10,000 of these printed, and they are exremely rare. The cover of this first edition was printed in two colors (black line with a brown wash) on a heavy cardstock. The second printing came two years later in November 1971. This book had a new full color cover, which consisted of panels taken from the story. It was printed larger than the first edition (6 1/2″ x 10 1/8″) on newsprint and with a lighter weight cover stock. This print run numbered only 10,000, which makes it a hard-to-find item today.
Copyright © 2000 Heart-Attack-Series, Ink!
Created: July 4, 2000. Last updated: January 1, 2019 at 16:12 pm.