It probably won't earn you a spot on the Justice League Dark, but the new Justice League Tarot Deck by DC Collectibles will sure spark plenty of conversations between you and your friends. Featuring the distinctive work of artist Sara Richard, the Justice League Tarot offers up 78 uniquely beautiful images of the heroes and villains of the DC Universe. But it’s not just a collector’s piece—this is a useable tarot deck with all the cards of the major and minor arcana represented. The fun comes in seeing which character was chosen to represent which card.
Many of Richard’s tarot cards have been revealed, including Poison Ivy as the Empress, Lex Luthor (fittingly) as the Devil and Zatanna (also fittingly) as the Queen of Wands. However, we’ve rounded up five new cards to exclusively reveal to you. While we were at it, we spoke to Richard about this unusual new DC Collectibles project, how she came to be a part of it and which Justice Leaguer she’d most like to give a reading to.
This whole project came together in a very unusual way. Can you tell us about it?
This project is definitely a product of exhibiting work at conventions, especially San Diego Comic-Con. I was approached by DC Collectibles a few years ago and was told an idea was brewing that fit my style and to stay tuned. The next year I was sitting at my Artist Alley table and was asked if I wanted to do the tarot set. There’s not much room behind the table to do a dance of joy but I think I shimmied a bit. Haha! And then said $@#% yeah!
I was so happy to be a part of this project because I love many of the DC characters and have always wanted to work with the company, but knew my style was really designated for specialized projects if the chance ever came up. I hand-paint everything with acrylic paint and like to exaggerate the look of characters, so this project was such a perfect fit!
What sort of work had you done prior to getting started on the tarot deck?
I’ve been a regular cover artist for IDW’s My Little Pony. I also illustrated a children’s book, Kitty & Dino for Yen Press which was nominated in 2013 for an Eisner Award. In general, I was freelancing and working on solidifying my own swirly, whimsical style very much drawing influences from Art Deco and Art Nouveau. I attended conventions pretty regularly and got to draw a lot of cool things for a lot of cool people.
Did you know much about tarot before you began? Did you study other decks?
I had a set in high school when I went through my New Age phase, which I guess in a way never really left me. I got the Rider-Waite set, the beginner one, which the DC set is very much based on. But I never really learned all the complicated (or complicated to me) spreads and all the different meanings of the cards. I’ve always been interested in mystical things and think tarot sets are really cool. I studied other decks just in terms of artwork and the ones with really cool, intricate designs always caught my eye. For the project, I got a few beginners books that showed multiple meanings through various decks and how different artists interpreted all the subtleties of the card meanings.
Do you know how to give tarot readings? Have you given any with the Justice League deck?
I actually haven’t given any readings using the traditional layouts. I’ve pulled “Cards of the Day” for my personal curiosity, but I’m not confident yet in my ability to give a good reading. However, Kevin Kiniry [from DC Collectibles] gave amazing readings with this set at San Diego Comic-Con this year and I’m inspired to learn!
How did you decide which characters to use on each card? Were you already pretty familiar with the DC Universe before you got started?
I came up with a list of characters and card matches after lots of time studying the meanings. DC Collectibles also came up with a list and we merged those together. I had a working knowledge of DC’s characters, but also learned about a whole host of other characters when the lists were combined. The project was such a fun learning experience in terms of card meanings and obscure DC characters! Some of which I hope to see in more stories in the future.
I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the characters who made it into the deck, but were there any who you wanted to use but didn’t make the cut?
Haha! I really wanted to put Dex-Starr in there. Mostly because that is my cat, Darwin. I was also pulling for Rorschach, but I’m happy to say there are a few Watchmen characters I had in my original list that made the final cut. Oh…and Alfred. Because I’ve always thought he was wonderful. But I’m pretty happy with all the characters that made it in, so it was all cool by me!
Which card do you feel best represents you? Why?
The Page of Cups, represented by Star Girl, came to mind first. It’s a card of creative beginnings and I illustrated Star Girl to be very confident and ready to take on whatever comes at her. After this set and a year of many convention appearances, I’m so inspired to get working on multiple book projects, personal painting series, fashion ideas… I don’t even know if there are enough hours in the day to do it al,l but I’m excited to try!
I can say that in terms of doing the deck, the Nine of Wands, represented by Huntress, a card of perseverance and sticking to it, was a helpful card around the painting of the 60th card. It’s also playing a bit of a role in my personal life in terms of spirituality, love and career goals.
If you could give a tarot reading to one member of the Justice League, which one would it be?
Hawkwoman. She’s my favorite. Then after the reading I could go hang gliding with her!
DC Collectibles’ Justice League Tarot Deck will be available at your favorite comic shop, specialty store or online retailer early next month. To see more of the cards, be sure to “like” the DC Collectibles Facebook page.