These days there seems to be a new Tarot or Oracle deck published every week. And for every deck published one gets discontinued. And the more esoteric the subject of the deck the quicker it disappears off the wholesaler’s list. So, the UFO Tarot deck sounded like a good idea to Italian publisher Lo Scarabeo – but it’s no longer available through my wholesalers. The Mayan Tarot came and went in less than a year as did the Manga Tarot. And these are only the ones that I actually ordered at full price. Other decks regularly appear through wholesale booksellers specialising in remainders (sold off cheap by the publishers/end of range). For instance, I was never even offered The Pathfinder’s Tarot or The Grail Tarot at full price – what chance did they have of succeeding?
You look at the shelves in shops of an esoteric nature that stock more than a handful of decks and you tend to see the same core stock everywhere – The Rider Waite, The Robin Wood, Tarot of the Witches (as featured in the film, Live and Let Die, as we are constantly reminded), Crowley Tarot, two (?) Cat People decks, the Osho Zen Tarot and all the usual suspects. I can’t remember the last new Tarot that has made it onto the core list – plenty of Oracle cards, for a while Angel Cards (the Doreen Virtue industry) were outselling Tarot and are still selling well – but apart from fashion blips nothing seems to stick.
So what hope does that leave The Zombie Tarot, which is subtitled mystical prediction oracle (they’re covering their bases)? Well, zombie films and comics and books and TV shows are popular currently and, I would guess, as long as the fashion for zombie stuff stays strong the deck will have a chance.
But, and it’s a big but, this is a deck for zombie fans I feel, rather than tarot fans. Which may be a problem, as zombie fans don’t necessarily haunt shops that sell tarot and shops that stock zombie merchandise don’t usually sell tarot.
I asked Aimee and Trish at Yellow Brick Road – stockists of Dublin’s widest range of Tarot/Angel cards – for their impression of the deck. One of them is a zombie fan, the other a tarot fan. Both thought it looked amazing but at the end of the day the tarot fan thought she would pass and the zombie fan wanted to know if she could buy it.
The Zombie Tarot has one big thing going for it – it looks great. The designs are all faux nineteen fifties, utilizing cold war imagery and technology to enhance the zombie-dread atmosphere. The cards depict atom bomb explosions, old TV sets, cigarette vending machines, men in hats and a fascist General with John Hamm’s (Mad Men) face.
The art is photo montage and not to everyone’s taste, but in my humble opinion this is one of the most stylish, good looking decks I’ve had the pleasure to see in many a long day. A definite must for zombie fans and a definite must-see (at least) for tarot fans.