The Fantasy Showcase Tarot

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The Fantasy Showcase Tarot was organized by Bruce Pelz, who invited many science fiction and fantasy artists to create a Tarot deck. He began asking artists to participate in August of 1969; the deck was completed in 1980. Each of the 85[1] cards was drawn by a different artist, with no specific theme or art style for the deck as a whole.

It started as a novelty idea inspired by the lack of Steubenware. Bruce had one Steubenware glass engraved with a Tarot trump by Don Simpson, and considered getting a set of 22 engraved with the Major Arcana in science-fiction themes, but by the time he had the resources to acquire the glassware, there was no distributor in his area. He shifted his idea to an actual deck: a set of major arcana each done by a different artist. Within a few months of asking around, the project had expanded to a complete deck.

During the 11 years Bruce was collecting the cards, the pool of artists involved changed, and several cards that had been submitted were re-done with improvements. Some submissions were rejected: a "female nude, surrounded by the four Signs of the Apostles, for The Hierophant; the crownless very young man, submitted as a King; two or three others, perhaps." [2]

The deck included non-standard fannish interpretations of some cards, and six extra cards that don't exist in the standard 78-card deck: two Major Arcana and four court cards.

The changes to the trumps included Gordon Monson's Great Trump XXII: Separation (which meant the deck has two Majors numbered XXII; Bruce didn't want to change the original numbering), and The Farrier, which was set as the final Trump, after the World.

In the court cards, a Lady was added to each suit; the court cards were ranked: Page - Knight - Lady - Queen - King.


  1. Bruce's article mentions "85 designers; 86 counting the editor," but only 6 extra cards added to the traditional 78.
  2. A Brief History of the Fantasy Showcase Tarot Deck by Bruce Pelz, accessed Apr 21 2013