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excellent writing
exceptional art
historical bonus 4
total score 9
The Trials of Nasty Tales
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AVERAGE SCORE 7
Only Printing / 1973 / 36 pages / H. Bunch Associates
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After Nasty Tales folded after seven issues due, at least in part, to a costly obscenity trial at the highest court in England, the underground community in Britain was incensed by the legal challenge yet relieved at the outcome. Spurred on by that outcome (though still nervous about legal liability), The Trials of Nasty Tales was conceived, produced and subsequently published by H. Bunch Associates in association with Nasty Tales former editorial staff (Edward Barker, Paul Lewis and Mick Farren).

Arising from the trial's ashes, The Trials of Nasty Tales turned out to be the best underground comic produced primarily by British creators up to that time. It delivers one full-length story about the trial, illustrated by nine (give or take) British creators who donated their services free of charge. Much of the book is written directly from the transcripts of the trial, juxtaposed with several hilarious caricatures of the people inside the courtroom. The creators present the trial from an outraged perspective while offering key testimony throughout the book, leading to the established outcome of a not guilty verdict.

Along the way, we are treated to some excellent cartooning, even from Edward Barker (whose illustration skills are maturing at this stage, similar to the way Dave Geiser's matured over the course of his underground career). There are also multiple depictions that take place outside the courtroom, which frame the trial with appropriate indignation and exasperation. The creators also utilize samples of American underground comics to exemplify some of the points made by witnesses.

The Trials of Nasty Tales is a landmark achievement on two fronts. The first, and most obvious, is achieving a new quality standard for British-driven alternative comic books. Despite the diversity of artistic styles within the book, the story is made cohesive by the central theme, which appears to have inspired everyone to produce some of their best work. The second is the theme itself, which takes a real-life event and wraps it in satire while still documenting it with (some degree of) journalistic integrity. The Trials of Nasty Tales is not only relevant to Britain's underground counterculture, but also to the world at large, who may find a salient defense of the concept of freedom of expression within its pages.
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keyline
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HISTORICAL FOOTNOTES:
It is currently unknown how many copies of this comic book were printed. It has not been reprinted. The comic creators listed below are compiled to the best of my ability. If you discern any errors or omissions, please bring them to my attention.
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COMIC CREATORS:
Dave Gibbons - 1, 16-17, 29 (collaboration)
Edward Barker - 2, 4-5, 9-11, 18-20, 25 (collaboration), 28, 29 (collaboration), 32-33
Chris Welch - 3, 6, 25 (collaboration)
Shark - 7-8, 24, 25 (collaboration)
Robert Crumb - 12 (sampled comics), 21-23 (sampled comics)
Gilbert Shelton - 12 (sampled comics), 21, 23 (sampled comics)
Skip Williamson - 12 (sampled comics)
KOK - 13-14
George Snow - 15, 36 (montage collaboration)
Richard Adams - 21-23 (compilation)
Spain Rodriguez - 21 (sampled comics)
Victor Moscoso - 22 (sampled comics)
S. Clay Wilson - 23 (sampled comics)
Will Eisner - 23 (sampled comics)
Martin Sudden - 26-27
Andrew Butcher - 30-31
George Stevens - 36 (photo, collaboration)