Hermenautic Tarot (30)
December 10, 2015
John Hilgart has asked 54 friends of HiLobrow to contribute to the Hermenautic Tarot — a comic-book rorschach creative writing experiment in symbol-making and oracular speechifying. Each contributor was randomly assigned a card from the 4 COLOR PRINTING CMYK deck, which was created by Tom Hart — using images from Hilgart’s own 4CP archive — to fundraise for the Sequential Artists Workshop. This series of posts will eventually become a booklet. UPDATE: In 2018, we are adding an additional 24 cards to the deck, in order to arrive at a cartomantically correct 78 in total.
A skull with a radiant smile, washed in blue, surrounded by 17 excitement lines. Flat white disks fill hollow eye sockets. The smile has a sweetness, an innocent excitement. Or is that skull simply pie-eyed? And what is the source of the splash of blue? It could be the incandescent glow of an all-night filling station.
What feels like joy might be something else. Euphoria is next door to ecstasy, kitty-corner from mania, a ways down the block from contentment. It’s the helium-filled balloon of emotions. Are you running on fumes? Where the skull signifies death, the smile implies reanimation — like the grinning corpse in Weekend At Bernie’s being buffeted about with a wig stapled to its head. The excitement dashes provide unexpected ballast; 17 is the number of insight, self-discipline, and a desire for peace.
REVERSED: It’s a novelty Halloween light bulb.
HERMENAUTIC TAROT SERIES: INTRODUCTION by John Hilgart | Annie Nocenti on THE KUBRICK | Deborah Wassertzug on AS YOU LIKE IT | Douglas Rushkoff on PIXELATED | Kim Cooper on THE GREAT INTEGRATION | Tom Nealon on THE MYOPIC CAPTAIN | Stephanie Burt on ENTANGLEMENT | Mark Kingwell on THE WARY WATCHERS | Allegra Huston on PARANOIA | Flourish Klink on THE MULTIFACETED MAN | Jason Grote on THE UNEXPECTED | Jessamyn West on THE SHIFT | John Hilgart on THE B-MOVIE MONSTER | Josh Glenn on THE SELL-OUT | Judith Zissman on THE EXPLODING SUPERNOVAS | Mandy Keifetz on THE INVISIBLE MAN | Gary Panter on THE PASSAGE | Jordan Ellenberg on THE FALSE FACE | Jonathan Lethem on THE GRAVE ROBBERS | Douglas Wolk on DEXTERITY | John Holbo on THE HEAVIEST HEADS | Colin Dickey on KAIROS | Molly Sauter on THE GRAND EXIT | Matthew Battles on ADUMBRATION | Anindita Basu Sempere on THE DETECTIVE | Gordon Dahlquist on THE STREAMER | Jen Collins on OFF COURSE | Karinne Keithley Syers on THE HIGH BEAMS | Sara Ryan on RORSCHACH (NOT THAT ONE) | Deb Chachra on FLYING | Mimi Lipson on EUPHORIA | Cintra Wilson on FEELING CORNERED? | Alice Boone on THE FLAWS | Shelley Jackson on HESITATING HORSE | Jacob Covey on THE PANE | Claire Lehmann on THE APPARITION | Kio Stark on THE FLIGHT RISK | Joanne McNeil on THE RELUCTANT COMMUTER | Lynn Peril on THE WAITING MAN | Jenny Offill on THE VALLEY OF UNREST | Luc Sante on THE OLD DARK HOUSE | Erik Davis on FORBIDDEN FRUIT | Devin McKinney on THE ATOMS | Dan Fox on THE OBFUSCATOR | Patrick Cates on THE MASKED ASSESSOR | Chris Spurgeon on OVERWHELMING TEMPTATION | Jenny Davidson on THE ALL-SEEING EYE | Lauren Oliver on THE HERO COMPLEX | Brian Berger on THE WHITE VISITATION | Tim Spencer on DISILLUSIONMENT | Chelsey Johnson on THE BEARD OF SHADOWS | Alix Lambert on THE EYE FLOATER | Ed Park on THE TWINS | James Parker on THE NO-NO-NOBOT | Amy Thielen on VELOCITY | Lisa Jane Persky on EXPECTATIONS | Veda Hille on THE DUSTY REVEAL | Wayne Chambliss on THE RIDE-ALONG | Kenya (Robinson) on BALANCE BEAM | Ken Layne on THE DOPPELGÄNGER | David Levine on THE GROOVY | Joe Alterio on THE DROP-OFF | Jennifer Krasinski on PREDATORY VIGILANCE | Libi Rose on ELECTROMAGNETISM | Carl Wilson on THE TRACKER | Mimi Zeiger on THE RED MOON | Vanessa Berry on DARK MATTER | Peter Doyle on THE CHAIN OF FOOLS | Joy Press on THE WAYLAYER | Sarah Weinman on IN THE CORNER | Stephanie De Gooyer on THE INVASION | James Hannaham on THE URBAN HAWK | Annalee Newitz on THE PUBLIC CHARIOT | Jace Clayton on THE BLEACHED FLAG | Chenjerai Kumanyika on THE VEIL | Mike Watt on THE FLOCK | Molly Wright Steenson on PILE-ON PYLON | Melissa Gira Grant on THE FRONT DESK | Madeline Ashby on THE DEVILS.
MORE HILOBROW/4CP SERIES: BLOW UP YOUR COMICS — John Hilgart glosses 30 favorite 4CP images | The HERMENAUTIC TAROT: 54 Writers, on 54 4CP Tarot Cards | The Art of 4CP | SUBSUPERMEN — Golden Age heroes who didn’t make the grade | MASKED MAN | LIMERICKANIA | MEET THE L.I.S. — Implicit superheroes, concealed within comic-book mastheads | 4CP FRIDAY — themed comic-book detail galleries, curated by 4CP fans
MORE COMICS-RELATED SERIES: KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM — 25 writers on 25 Jack Kirby panels | ANNOTATED GIF — Kerry Callen brings comic book covers to life | COMICALLY VINTAGE — that’s-what-she-said vintage comic panels | DC — THE NEW 52 — an 11-year-old reviews DC’s new lineup | SECRET PANEL — Silver Age comics’ double entendres | SKRULLICISM — they lurk among us
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CLICK HERE to read HILOBROW’s Erik Davis on the origins of the Rider-Waite Tarot.