It’s not often one finds a collaborative deck being published. Many other collaborative Tarot decks that have been created have only manifested online, such as the various Aeclectic Community Tarots, the Eat Poo Tarot, and the two Mannini decks, although there are some collaborative decks that have found their ways to the printers: Mail Artists’ Tarot, Artists’ Inner Vision Tarot, and the LiteraTarot. It is possible that the Fantasy Showcase Tarot is one of the earlier, if not the original, collaborative Tarot, being started in 1969, and finally published in 1980.
This is not just any collaborative deck – as the title suggests, it’s specifically a collaborative Tarot deck that gathers together the art and vision of dozens of sci-fi and fantasy artists, each presenting their own perspective on their cards. Some cards are inspiring,
evocative and beautiful, such as the Empress, who wears a veritable artist’s palette upon her person; some cards are satirical and cartoony, offering a wise-cracking, black-humour perspective on our beloved Tarot archetypes. If you like your Tarot “serious Tarot is serious”, then this is not a deck for you. In places this deck is insightful and surprising (in a good way), such as the labyrinthine Moon card, and the appearance of guitarist Jimi Hendrix as the Page of Swords (anybody that knows anything about Hendrix is bound to see the beauty in this choice.)
The Fantasy Showcase Tarot adds several extra cards to the deck, including four extra Court Cards, “Ladies”, (above Knights and below Queens), and some extra Majors, including “Separation” and “The Farrier”. These extra cards can all be removed from the deck by Tarot purists without a problem, however. Another interesting feature of the deck is the fact that quite a few artists are showcase that later released their own decks, such as Karen
Kuykendall and her “Tarot of the Cat People” from 1985. Throughout the deck we find an obviously 70’s art style, which adds to the unique charm of the Fantasy Showcase, including the psychedelic Star and Ace of Cups. The only problem with the deck is that many cards do not have titles, so the reader is left guessing. In places this is easy enough, but when it comes to the Court Cards it can be difficult to identify the cards.
The wide variety of art styles in the Fantasy Showcase, as well as its depth and intriguing aspects, means that this is one golden oldie that is truly colourful in so many more ways than just its aesthetics.
To find out about the 11-year creation process of the Fantasy Showcase Tarot, read this short article by Bruce Pelz.
The Fantasy Showcase Tarot, executed by Bruce Pelz
Morgan Press, 1980, Out-of-print