Set in Deadworld, the home dimension of the Dark Judges, it depicts their insidious takeover of the planet from the point of view of a normal farming family (including a child named Jess), a rogue Judge called Fairfax, and his foul-mouthed Lawrider (a sentient motorcycle). In the first series there are cameo appearances from Judge Fire, Judge Mortis and Judge Fear, but Judge Death is only mentioned, and is simply called 'the chief'.
A second series, Cursed: The Fall of Deadworld, started in 2000 AD prog 2023 and ended in prog 2033. It contained flashbacks featuring Judge Death when he was a human called Sidney, and also featured Judge Fear as one of the main antagonists.
- "It's clear that the Kek-W droid knows how to craft a story — I am absolutely LOVING Tainted! Dave Kendall's art makes it feel like exactly the kind of dark, disturbing story that long ago would have made me hide my progs from my parents, but it also feels very relevant to the apocalyptic times we find ourselves living in today." (Earthlet Nick Earley, prog 1982.)
- "...one of the scariest and best spin-offs in the history of this great comic. Tainted has me hiding under the stairs praying for a way out of this nightmare apocalypse." (Earthlet Simeon Noble, prog 1982.)
- "...the disgustingly beautiful, delightfully disturbing and sublimely sickening Tainted: The Fall of Deadworld." (Earthlet Tony Kane, prog 1983.)
- "I can't recall a Thrill as damn creepy and unsettling as this. It's like the Alice in Chains of Thrills — dark, unnerving, twisted, oozing ick and bile, but bloody great." (Earthlet Glen Hattersley, prog 1986.)
- "To give such a dark, gruesome and graphic downfall story a run like this took guts, and I think the risk paid off big time. It was truly excellent in story, character and especially artwork, and I hope to see more of this dark, gritty dimension." (Earthlet Jonathan, prog 1986.)
- "I only just emerged from under the stairs the week before the latest run, and let me tell you, I retreated straight back with only a pump-action shotgun for company. Truly terrifying! The Dark Judges have been finally elevated in print and art to their pinnacle. All hail to the Kek and Kendall droids!" (Earthlet Simeon Noble again, prog 2033.)
- "I've no idea how long the series can last, nor whether any ending is possible bar inevitable doom, but it's superb. More, please." (Earthlet Craig Grannell, ibid.)