Marvel has a new officially licensed tarot deck featuring original art of its iconic superheroes on each card, complete with a guidebook to explain the meanings of the cards and how to use them.
Author Syndee Barwick and illustrator Lily McDonnell spoke to Marvel.com about the creation of the Marvel Tarot Deck and Guidebook, how each character is matched up with archetypes of the Major and Minor Arcana, and how Alphonse Mucha has inspired McDonnell’s art style.
“I’ve been using tarot as a divination tool for decades—and I love collecting beautiful and unique decks, as well as pop culture decks,” said Barwick. “…Tarot packs a lot of wisdom within the cards—you just need a guide to help you sort out the moving parts and dig deep.”
Marvel’s heroes and villains in tarot card form
Preview art from the deck shows how heroes like Daredevil and Ms. Marvel have taken on the aspects of “Justice” and “The Sun,” while Loki claims the throne of The Devil. McDonnell explained that “[The] goal was to create a unique-looking set of cards that married the decorative and symbolic qualities of the traditional tarot deck with the current Marvel visuals.”
The art on the cards isn’t just limited to characters: key items also appear, such as Scarlet Witch’s distinctive mask as the Five of Coins. The foot-long claws on one of Wolverine‘s fists aptly serve as the Three of Swords.
McDonnell also discussed remaining faithful to the traditional Rider-Waite tarot deck, which was published in 1909 and has since influenced generations of tarot art: “Wherever possible I posed the character with … any visual symbols, including colors, that I could employ as a link back to the original card designs. I then worked to blend those visuals into the Marvel comic universe.” McDonnell remarked that many associate her art with tarot cards, and speculated, “I believe this might be from my use of symbolism or perhaps using a single image to invoke a story.”
The Marvel Tarot Deck and Guidebook is available for purchase from book retailers now.