The Element Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Complete A-Z for the Entire Magical World - Judika Illes 2005
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose
Broadsword Comics, first appeared 2000.
The first issue of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose was dedicated to the witches of the world. (Cemetery workers of the world, too!) Its eponymous heroine is named Tarot. A cardreading witch and member of the Black Rose coven, Tarot is the daughter of a long-line of hereditary witches, some of whom were burned at the stake because, in Tarot’s words, “they were proud enough to call themselves witches.”
The anti-heroine, if you will, is Tarot’s sister Raven Hex, although she is no simple, ordinary villain. Raven Hex is obsessed with avenging crimes against witchkind and ushering in a new age, to be ruled by witches. Her goal is to vanquish those who are intolerant towards the Craft and bring prosperity to every sorceress. Sounds pretty good, huh? Unfortunately, as Tarot foresees, this plot is actually doomed to ignite new Burning Times. Tarot must secure the future for witches and the world in general.
Tarot is a beautiful, red-haired, scantily clad (when she’s clad!), sexy fantasy witch with hereditary super-powers who resides in a mansion in Witch Hollow, Salem, Massachusetts. When girded for battle Tarot sports pentacles on her clothing, a majestic horned headdress, and a magic sword. Her faithful familiar Pooka is an adorable but fierce bat-winged black goblin cat.
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is unique and revolutionary because, while grounded in the tradition of comics as fun, entertaining, fantasy adventure it also displays genuine, authentic knowledge of witchcraft. Unlike other series, there is no ambivalence toward witchcraft: Tarot, Raven Hex, their mother, and other witches are proud, strong, autonomous, and independently powerful. The series expli-citly rejects the notion of witches as devil-worshippers. (Raven Hex informs a young would-be apprentice that witches don’t believe in the existence of Satan but that if he did exist, he would worship her!)
Tarot is as sexy as any other pin-up witch but witchcraft as an art, skill, and culture is presented responsibly.
Jim Balent, creator, writer, and artist of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, worked on the DC Comics series Catwoman from 1993 until 1999 when he began his own independent company Broadsword. Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose was Broadsword’s first production; subsequent works are also inspired by metaphysical themes including witchcraft and vampires.
Comic-book back pages are traditionally filled with all sorts of extras and bonuses like briefer strips featuring special characters, interviews, jokes or short stories. Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose features interviews with “real” witches and occult practitioners (interviewees have included Laurie Cabot, Fiona Horne, and Raven Grimassi) as well as spells or magical information. Different tarot decks are featured monthly.