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Exclusive: Brian Michael Bendis, Greg Rucka, Rachel Pollack, Maggie Downs, and Catherynne Valente announced for Literary Tarot

The Literary Tarot

Brink Literacy Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the world through storytelling, has launched a Kickstarter campaign for The Literary Tarot. This is an ambitious and unusual collaboration with some of the greatest authors and cartoonists of our time who have been asked to pair a tarot card with a seminal book that embodies the meaning of the arcana.

The campaign has been a hit with almost 7,000 backers and raising over $400,000.

The Literary Tarot deck will feature the complete set of all 78 tarot cards, illustrated with a stunning limited palette and foil accents. We have the exclusive announcement of five new pairings that will be a part of this project.

  • Brian Michael BendisThe War of the Worlds and the King of Ink
  • Greg RuckaThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the Knight of Ink
  • Rachel PollackOedipus Rex and the King of Ink
  • Maggie DownsLeaves of Grass and the Eight of Ink
  • Catherynne ValenteCanterbury Tales (Wife of Bath) with the Empress

The Literary Tarot deck will feature the complete set of all 78 tarot cards, illustrated with a stunning limited palette and foil accents.

Major Arcana card pairings include:

  • Bestselling crime writer Chelsea Cain pairs The Emperor with Agatha Christie’s Poirot Investigates
  • PEN/Faulkner Award-winning novelist K-Ming Chang (Bestiary) pairs The Magician with Wu Cheng’en’s sixteenth-century novel Journey to the West
  • Amal El-Mohtar (author of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning novella This Is How You Lose the Time War) pairs The Star with Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Emily of the New Moon
  • Lev Grossman (The Magicians Trilogy) pairs The World with King Arthur
  • Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Victor LaValle (The Changeling) pairs The Tower with H.P. Lovecraft’sThe Outsider
  • Talia Lavin (the author of Cultural Warlords and the host of the Moby Dick Energy podcast) pairs The Devil with Herman Melville’s Moby Dick
  • Isaac Marion (the author of the bestselling Warm Bodies series) pairs The Hermit with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein 
  • Bestselling Mexican Gothic novelist Silvia Moreno-Garcia pairs The Lovers with Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence
  • The bestselling author of Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng, pairs The Hanged Man with T. S. Eliot’s The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
  • Nebula, Hugo, and Locus Award-winning novelist Rebecca Roanhorse (Black Sun) pairs Death with Bram Stoker’s Dracula 
  • Quill Award-winning novelist Patrick Rothfuss (The Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy) pairs The Fool with Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote
  • Simon Tolkien (No Man’s Land: A Novel) pairs The Chariot with Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island
  • Novelist and comic book writer G. Willow Wilson (The Bird King) pairs the Wheel of Fortune with William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair

For the Minor Arcana, each suit is renamed to reflect the literary tools that brought them to life (Ink, Quills, Light, and Parchment). Minor Acana Pairings include:

  • Hugo, Nebula, and Locus Award-winning writer Charlie Jane Anders (Victories Greater Than Death) pairs the Knight of Light (Cups) with Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones
  • Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale) pairs the Queen of Light (Cups) with Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre
  • Vita Ayala (The Wilds) pairs the King of Light (Cups) with Homer’s The Odyssey
  • Bestselling author Leigh Bardugo (Ninth House and Shadow and Bone) pairs the Ace of Parchment (Pentacles) with Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden
  • Tarot reader and host of The Word Witch Podcast Charlie Claire Burgess pairs the Eight of Quills (Swords) with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper
  • Kelly Sue DeConnick (co-creator and writer of Bitch Planet) pairs the King of Quills (Swords) with Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations
  • Bestselling writer Roxane Gay (The Bad Feminist) pairs the King of Parchment (Pentacles) with Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • The Hugo Award-winning writer of Die, Kieron Gillen, pairs Five of Quills (Swords) with Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment
  • Bestselling horror writer Stephen Graham Jones (The Only Good Indians) pairs the Three of Quills (Swords) with W. W. Jacobs’s seminal, supernatural short story “The Monkey’s Paw”
  • Hart Hanson (creator of the TV series Bones and author of the novel The Driver) pairs the Page of Ink (Wands) with Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain
  • Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award-winning writer Kelly Link (Get in Trouble) pairs the Two of Parchment (Pentacles) with Lud-in-the-Mist by Hope Mirrlees
  • The award winning writer of Monstress, Marjorie Liu pairs the Queen of Quills (Swords) with Beowulf
  • Bestselling comic book writer Mark Millar (Jupiter’s Legacy) pairs the Ace of Quills (Swords) with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Erin Morgenstern (The Starless Sea) pairs the Five of Light (Cups) with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  • Novelist and biographer Alec Nevala-Lee pairs the Two of Quills (Swords) with Sophocles’s tragedy Antigone
  • Novelist and comic book writer Benjamin Percy (The Ninth Metal) pairs the Seven of Quills (Swords) with Edgar Allan Poe’s The Black Cat
  • Bestselling comic book writer Mark Waid (Kingdom Come) pairs the Page of Quills (Swords) with Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

The artists for Literary Tarot are:

  • Major Arcana: Samantha Dow
  • Light: Shan Bennion 
  • Ink and Box Design: Ejiwa “Edge” Ebenebe 
  • Quills: Isabel Burke 
  • Parchment: Bradley Clayton 

The campaign ends on June 30, so back it now!

Preview: Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Blood #3

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF BLOOD #3

(W) Rachel Pollack, Shaun Manning
(A) Alan Robinson, Greg Scott
(C) Jon Proctor
December 23, 2020
$4.99

Writer Rachel Pollack and artist Alan Robinson take on “The Mystery of Marie Roget,” in which Poe writes a dull story and gets irritated when everyone hates it. Shaun Manning adapts and Greg Scott draws our second version of “The Cask of Amontillado” in as many issues—but this one has killer robots! Plus: Prose, pictures, and possibly poems!

EDGAR ALLAN POE’S SNIFTER OF BLOOD #3

Music and Horror Join Forces in Dead Beats from A Wave Blue World

Indie comic publisher A Wave Blue World has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Dead Beats, a horror anthology inspired by SyFy’s Haunted Collector and CBS’s Twilight Zone, incorporating music themes to bring an additional edge.

Dead Beats, curated by Eric Palicki and Joe Corallo, will be feature a diverse group of industry-shaping storytellers and artists, including recently announced Dwayne McDuffie Award winners Ivy Noelle Weir and Christina “Steenz” Stewart, GLAAD Nominated Magdalene Visaggio, Emmy-nominated writer of Late Show With Stephen Colbert’s Daniel KibblesmithDoom Patrol’s Rachel Pollack and Richard Case, Suicide Squad’s Vita Ayala, Women in Comics Collective International co-founder Regene Sawyer, and more.

This music-themed horror anthology centers around the proprietor of a music store that contains a number of unusual artifacts. As the “shoppe keeper” guides readers through the shop, each creator will weave a haunting tale revealing the origin of these mysterious items.

A Wave Blue World is asking readers to be involved and to support Dead Beats Kickstarter Campaign by preordering Dead Beats, selecting Exclusive awards offered including original art by artists like Jen Hickman and an one-on-one portfolio review with Joe Illidge, A Wave Blue World’s Editorial Director, formerly editor at DC Comics, Lionforge, and Valiant, or simply just pledging to be included in the backers page.

Dead Beats

Should We Expect More from Comics? New Publisher AHOY Promises Exactly That.

This falls sees the launch of a brand new comic publisher AHOY Comics who already boasts an impressive lineup of creators involved. Founded by journalist Hart Seely, the publisher already has landed Grant Morrison, Mark Russell, Jamal Igle, and more. Tom Peyer is the Editor-in-Chief and will also be contributing a series and Stuart Moore is described as AHOY’s “dark ops” manager. AHOY stands for Abundance (more pages per issue), Humor, Originality and Yes (Yes to comics, more pages, collected editions, meaningful design, dramatic art, shipping on schedule, enjoyment, etc).

Seely said the releases aren’t so much issues as “comic book magazines” which will feature a full-length lead story and back-up material including cartoons, prose, and poetry from mainstream and indie creators, as well as journalists, prose writers, and New Yorker cartoonists. Seely is an award-winning reporter for the Syracuse Post-Standard. His humor and satire have appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, National Lampoon, and on National Public Radio. He is the editor of Pieces of Intelligence: The Existential Poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld and coeditor (with Tom Peyer) of O Holy Cow! The Selected Verse of Phil Rizzuto.

The publisher launches this September with two series. The Wrong Earth is a six-issue miniseries by Tom Peyer and Jamal Igle. In it, two heroes — one an adventure-loving crimefighter with a kid sidekick, the other a ruthless vigilante — trade places and find themselves trapped in worlds they never made. In High Heaven, a five-issue mini-series aimed at mature readers, Tom Peyer and Greg Scott debut a chronic malcontent who finds himself in an afterlife where everyone hates a complainer. The Wrong Earth debuts September 12.

Both of those series launch with 40 page first issues. The Wrong Earth features a prose story by Grant Morrison along with material from Shannon Wheeler, Paul Constant, and Frank CammusoHigh Heaven features another prose story from Morrison, with another cartoon from Wheeler and a back-up strip from Peyer and artist Chris Giarrusso.

In October AHOY launches two additional titles: Edgar Allan Poe’s Snifter of Terror, a six-issue anthology described as a “cross between Drunk History and Tales from the Crypt . That 40 page first issue features material by Peyer, Mark Russell and cartoonist Hunt Emerson. Captain Ginger is a four-issue series about a spaceship piloted by cats after the human race has died out, by Stuart Moore and June Brigman. That first issue will include a prose story by Morrison, illustrated by Phil Hester, and a cartoon from Shannon Wheeler.

Future creators involved include Peter Milligan, Mariah McCourt, Rachel Pollack, Gary Erskine, and Roger Stern.

Comics Herstory: Rachel Pollack

gender_2Rachel Pollack is a versatile writer who is most known in the comics world for her writing on Doom Patrol, published by Vertigo in the 1990s. Outside of comics, Pollack writes science fiction, nonfiction, short fiction, and essays. She is an expert in reading tarot, and has published several books on the subject.

In Pollack’s run on Doom Patrol, she introduced a number of LGBT+ identifying characters and explored topics like menstruation, the generation gap, and sexual identity. Pollack was one of the first to write these kinds of themes and characters for a mainstream company. She also created Coagula, a transgender woman and lesbian who was one of the first transgender characters in comics and is still one of only a few trans superheroines. Pollack’s run on Doom Patrol ended with the book’s cancellation two years after she began writing it. She has said that her work on Doom Patrol remains one of her favorite projects.

In addition to Doom Patrol, Pollack also penned eleven issues of New Gods in 1995. Since her work in comics, Pollack has written numerous books about Tarot. She has collaborated with author Neil Gaiman, helping to create a Vertigo Tarot Deck. The deck featured cards drawn by Sandman cover artist Dean McKean. Gaiman wrote an introduction for the book that accompanied the set, the rest of which was authored by Pollack.

vertigo tarotMany of Pollack’s works are inspired by her experiences as a trans woman, and she has also drawn inspiration from many real-life people. One example of this is Coagula, whose real name Kate Godwin comes from author/actress Kate Bornstein and activist Chelsea Godwin. Pollack is Jewish, and writes many Jewish characters. Themes of spirituality are also present in many of her books, and she also writes extensively about the connection between transgender identities and spirituality. Pollack has taught tarot for much of her adult life, and most recently taught creative writing at Goddard College. Though her writing in comics is now considered something of a cult hit, Pollack was one of the first to write the subjects she did, opening doors for future characters, writers, and stories.

Edit 3/28/16: Rachel Pollack was also the first transgender woman to write comics for a mainstream publisher, which was a significant step for transgender writers and artists in comics.

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