R-Rated Reads features the best in Comics and Graphic Novels that you’d normally hide underneath your mattress. Now, what the F%*# are you waiting for!? READ the G@&-D*%$ thing!
Today’s R-Rated read:
Tarot – Witch of the Black Rose
Written and drawn by Jim Balent; colors and letters by Holly G!
Tarot is brought to us by Broadsword Comics, an independent publisher headed up by the lovely couple of Jim Balent and Holly G! If you’ve never read a Broadsword book, but these names ring a bell, don’t fret. The former’s name may seem familiar if you were a boy going through puberty in the nineties. You almost certainly… drooled… over Jim’s rendering of Catwoman during his time on her solo title. The latter may sound familiar if you’re a fan of Audrey Hepburn, or if you checked out our most recent Fangirl of the Month and caught the teaser for Holly’s appearance next month.
However, if you’ve never read any of Broadsword’s books, you’re missing out on a truly unique experience in Tarot. Sure, there’s the voluptuous vixens and ever-more-increasingly-risque situations (seriously, this book’s not for kids) but there’s more than that. Tarot is a book deeply rooted in the spiritual, with multiple mystical themes running throughout.
Tarot’s love interest, Jon, is the caretaker of a cemetery. And ever since his last girlfriend, Brandi, died in a car crash, he sees dead people. Including her. So Jon the Skeleton Man and his ex, Crypt Chick – along with Tarot’s buxom sister Raven Hex; Tarot’s werecat ex-girlfriend-but-current-lover Boo; and Boo Cat’s current girlfriend, vampire cheerleader, Licorice Dust – round out the cast of characters. And in the case of the girls, I do mean round. These ladies are curvaceous, if you hadn’t noticed.
So, you’ve got werewolves and werecats and vampires and ghosts and Witches and dragons and fairies all wrapped up in lasciviously libidinous escapades, the results of which usually have at least one of the main characters in some state of undress before each issue’s end. This ties into the book’s focus on removing the taboo we all place on our own sexuality. To that end, the healing power of love often comes into play throughout the series, perhaps never more prevalent than in issue #34 where Boo Cat attends to a wounded Tarot wearing numerous makeshift nurses’ costumes. I’d put up a panel or two, but the best ones aren’t entirely appropriate.
Beyond the sword and sorcery aspect of Tarot and crew’s war on the dastardly denizens of the fantasy realm, each issue features a healthy helping of real world Witchcraft. Phantasmagorical friends and fans are featured in pulchritudinous pictorials alongside practical spells taught in tantalizing tutorials. Aside from the Witches introduced in photo form through the series’ ancillary pages, numerous fans have found their own little slice of four-color immortality, including two of PoP!’s favorite ladies, current FGotM Spazzy, and future Fangirl for the month of August, Foxy! That issue also featured real life Witch Fiona Horne. Even more recently, last month’s issue #55 featured the lovely Tonya Kay.
Still not sold? A rigid respect for the sexual appetite isn’t the only doctrine taught through the pages of Tarot. Indeed, the good folks at Broadsword have more to teach than your average after school special. The underlying theme of understanding towards many various different ways of life is a strong one, and it’s intertwined with the promotion of healthy body imagery (nearly every body type is represented and embraced) and a strong relationship with the natural world. And it’s all wrapped up in such a pretty little package. Okay, maybe little’s the wrong choice of words…
It’s easy to dismiss Tarot as tee-and-ay, but the fact is, the book’s beauty is much more than skin deep. Action, adventure, and a message of unity are lying beneath Tarot’s loosely-tied top and probably-already-falling-off bottoms, making it easy to see how it walked away with three of the twenty-five awards at Project Fanboy this past March – Best Title, Best Indy Title, and Best Indy Villain – Raven Hex. So whether you’re looking for an interesting tale of titillating terror, or just tits and tails, there’s something here for you.
4 out of 5 adorable flying cats. Pooka rocks!
PS – We usually love to send you a link or two to Amazon.com to check out the titles we feature, but… good news! All the Tarot merch you could ever hope to buy is available straight from the fine folks at Broadsword! You know the drill… clicky!