The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Rowan, known as
Witch of the Black Rose
Tarot is the titular star of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose, an independent comic book series created by Jim Balent and published by his company, BroadSword Comics. (Their URL is: http://www.jimbalentstudios.com/studio.htm) As of this writing, over 40 issues of this series have been published.
Tarot's birth name was "Rowan," a name she uses rarely. She was given the name "Tarot" at the time of her initiation. Tarot is a witch. She is also overtly portrayed as a Wiccan, and identifies herself as such. It is important to note that most fictional witches (including witches in comic books) are not Wiccans. Tarot is rare among comic book witches in that Wicca really is religion that she practices.
Tarot conscientiously tries to follow the precepts and ethics of Wicca. These precepts, by the way, apparently do not include any restrictions on exhibitionism or public nudity.
As noted on the publisher's website, this title is intended for "Mature Readers" (or "immature readers", depending on one's perspective). Each cover features Tarot and/or female associates (such as her sister Raven Hex) in various states of dress ranging from scantily clad to completely "skyclad." Writer/artist Jim Balent clearly has a penchant for drawing impossibly over-endowed women.
From: Tarot Witch of the Black Rose #1 order page on official website of the publisher, BroadSword Comics website (http://www.jimbalentstudios.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=JimBalent&Product_Code=TR1; viewed 9 June 2006):
Tarot Witch of the Black Rose
Art and Story by Jim Balent
The Witch Wars
Part 1 of 4
Tarot, a witch of harmony and peace needs to reclaim a Dark Book of Shadows which her sister Raven Hex has stolen. Raven Hex, a Witch who is fed up with the bigotry of non-magickal humans, wishes to claim the earth for all of Witchkind! Because of Tarot's geniune Wiccan Belief of "Do what thou wilt but Harm None" Tarot must stop Raven! Help comes from an old Cemetry... This issue is a reprint with a brand new Jim Balent cover.
From order page for Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose Vol. 3 (budplant.com/product.asp?pn=TA03S; viewed 9 June 2006):
Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose Vol. 3
By Jim Balent and Holly Golightly.
Collects the sold-out issues #6, 12-15 of the series. Includes the first appearance of Boo Cat, Licorice Dust, and Izzy. Also reprints the covers of each issue, a limited edition photo cover, a litho gallery and sketches.
Best known for his seven-year run on Catwoman for DC, Balent's latest supernatural adventure is set in modern-day Salem and stars a voluptuous strong-willed witch named Tarot. Aided by a winged black cat and an enchanted sword, she battles for harmony against the forces of prejudice and darkness.
With its respectful incorporation of the Wiccan tradition, this will be enjoyed by practicing witches and lovers of fantasy and adventure alike. Very slick, appealing bad-girl art.
Les Seabolt, a Wiccan reader of the Tarot comic books, sent us the following tips and information, posted here by permission (7 June 2006):
[On your site] I am missing one of my favorite characters, Tarot, Witch of the Black Rose who is Wiccan, as is her Sister (Though admittedly a darker variant) BroadSword Comics publishes Tarot...
Checking issue number two, it says she was born with the name "Rowan"... and recived the name "Tarot" upon her initiation.
No last name is given that I can ever find.
Her sister's name is Raven and took on the name Ravenhex. She is not really a "villain" in the true sense of the word, but someone very bitter because of how society treated her for being different and so rather embraced the dark things that were attributed to her. They both still live in the same house with their mom.
I read Tarot just because as a Wiccan I like to see what media is saying about us. Though Jeff Balent has a talent for drawing supernaturally overly-endowed women, the stories were intriguing and they have gotten more and more "adult" as the tales wear on. His choice to interview a real "witch" every issue puts this comic almost in the realm of a religious publication!
From: "Doug TenNapel on Black Cherry" forum discussion, started 16 May 2007 on Newsarama website (http://forum.newsarama.com/showthread.php?t=112821; viewed 28 June 2007):
05-16-2007, 06:15 PM
First, a lot of Christians already visit comic book stores and I dont see mass store burnings over the comics Chirstians would find "offensive", such as Lucifer, Witch Tarot, et al...
Webpage created 9 June 2006. Last modified 28 June 2007.
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