The Vertigo Tarot Deck Review by Linda Dunnvertigostar.jpg (13741 bytes)

The Vertigo Tarot, based on the comic books published under the Vertigo
imprint by DC comics, is one of the most visually stunning decks of
recent years. The artwork is a blend of painting, photo-montage, and
even found objects - those familiar with deck artist Dave McKean's much
lauded work on the Sandman comic covers will immediately recognize his distinctive style.

The deck is not limited by the fact that it is a theme deck; familiarity
with the Vertigo characters who populate the major arcana certainly adds
to the enjoyment of using the cards, but it is not mandatory, especially
due to Rachel Pollack's outstanding hardcover text which accompanies the
deck. There is, additionally, a "Vertigo spread" created by Pollack for
the deck that is not only fun but very enlightening for fans of the
comics. Since many of these characters are archetypes to begin with,
this additional frame of reference can help bring new interpretation to
the cards.

The minors are illustrated, but often in a rather abstract way. In this
respect they have more in common with the Crowley/Harris deck than the
Waite/Smith deck. Both the CH deck and the WS deck are referenced in the
extensive text, and the symbolism of each card is given a very detailed
treatment. Court cards follow the Waite/Smith format of King - Queen -
Knight - Page. Each card of the major arcana is imprinted with its
respective astrological symbol. Many of the card meanings and images are
very much slanted towards the creative process and the artist
personality, making this a wonderful deck for artists and writers. I
find that it is the first deck I go to when I have issues related to
some type of creative or artistic project. It is excellent, however, for
all-around readings as well.

The packaging for this deck and book set is one of the best
presentations I have seen; it comes in a large box about the size and
shape of a small delivery pizza box. Inside there are separate wells for
deck and hardcover book. The graphics - a very dreamy, dark abstract
design utilizing a chambered nautilus motif - are all unified in every
aspect of the packaging. The cards are a bit oversized, especially in
height, and might be difficult to shuffle for those with small hands.
They have a very thin matte finish lacquer give the cards a rather
"papery" feel, but they hold up very well over extended use. Overall,
the quality of the printing and presentation of the cards is stunning.
The colors are extremely rich and vibrant. I have heard this described
as a "dark" deck, but I see it as more mysterious and enigmatic.

I'm not sure if this deck is immediately accessible to someone
proficient with the WS deck, but working with the Pollack text and the
cards is an enjoyable experience. A beginner could use nothing more than
this set and get a good start on grounding themselves in tarot. At the
same time, it is challenging enough to engage the interest of a seasoned

This deck is rather hard to find. Even new it was pricey (the list price
was $50), but it brings even more now. For those who find that this
highly unusual deck speaks to them, and certainly for fans of Vertigo
comics, it is well worth the time and expense to track it down.

See more cards from the Vertigo Tarot Deck

Review Copyright 1999 Linda Dunn

Images Copyright 1995 D.C. Comics - This deck is out of print

This page is Copyright 1999 by Michele Jackson