The Gothic Tarot by Vargo - Informations about the deck


You must have noticed that the LWB doesn't say much about the deck and the art, which is quite disapointing. They should have come up with a little book or something, or a thicker LWB.

Still, I have found on the Internet strange informations about the deck.

First, in a few reviews and online stores (don't remember the links), the deck was autographed. I don't know if it is because I bought the deck at TarotGarden and not at Monolith Graphics, but mine isn't. It's possible it's because Vargo knew they were reviewers and autographed their decks as a gift. Still, has some of you had their deck autographed?

Second, there's a mention about a sheet that comes with the deck that gives some informations about the deck: "From a sheet that came with my deck, I learned that the artist had originally planned to do a pips-only deck, but changed his mind, influenced primarily by the RWS deck" - Diane Wilkes at Tarot Passages. There was no sheet with my deck giving that information. Has anyone had their deck with a sheet with such an information? There are probably other interesting informations on it.

Third, Vargo has been interviewed in magazines (goth mostly) and asked questions about the deck. Has anyone read such magazines and read the interviews?

Actually, I want to devote this thread about all the informations we can find about the deck and discuss about them.

Like the idea that Vargo had planned to make a pips-only deck. I don't know about you, but I don't think I would have bought the deck if it would have been pips-only. The cards I like the least are among the major arcana, which doesn't help. I'm not fond of pips-only decks, I usually just run away from them. Now that we know how the deck is with fully illustrated pips, and how gorgeous the cards are - mostly the minors -, I'm just thankful he bumped into RWS deck and got inspired, because his deck would have been... blah.

I love you RWS!!!


WolfyJames, opening this thread is a good idea! Yes, the LWB is quite dissappointing. I would have loved some background information and I hate that the interpretations often doesn't have much in common with the images. Nothing compared to the LWB that came with the Gothic Tarot of Vampires. I love the spread "Mystic Seven" though. It is very simple but that's the brilliance of it.

No, I didn't received a sheet with my deck and it isn't autographed either. I got mine from TarotGarden as well but I don't think that's the reason since TarotGarden probably gets theirs deck from Monolith too. I suppose, maybe the first 100 or another number of limited decks have been autographed? Don't know about the sheet though.

You're right, a pips-only deck would have been terrible as I avoid them too. I don't think that I would have bought it without the illustrated minors (which are so gorgeous :) ). Although I also have the Black Tarot by Luis Royo which is also a pips deck. But I absolutely can't read with them, I only use the majors and court cards in this deck. But I digress. :rolleyes:

I did a quick net search and actually found an article of a German goth magazine which interviewed Joseph Vargo. Is someone interested in this one? I could translate and post it here.


It would be very nice of you to translate it, if it's not too much trouble for you. :)


Alright, here is the translation of the German article. First the link:

Joseph Vargos Gothic Tarot
"It was as if many of my works were destined to be used in a Tarot," says Joseph Vargo, US-American fantasy artist. "How much I just realized when I started to look for pictures for the "Gothic Tarot". It surprised me more than everybody else because during the past years people always pointed out to me how well my pictures would serve in a Tarot deck."

But the dark card game doesn't show recycled (I have no idea if this word is appropriate in the context but you get what I mean) pictures only. "I paid much attention to the meanings of the single cards and to create the right context I added things to many pictures." For example the Tower received a suitable thunder-storm afterwards.

In order to make the overall impression right, Joseph Vargo completely changed backgrounds and colour combinations. Nothing was left to chance and this is exactly where his Tarot is different from the Tarot decks of other fantasy artists.

Vargo: "I have seen many decks which showed beautiful pictures but didn't had anything to do with the original idea of Tarot." And with this idea he concerned himself extensively. "To create an aesthetic work which is closed in itself and correct at the same time I informed myself in depth beforehand."

From the beginning he knew that the vampire would play a major role in the "Gothic Tarot":" This powerful and seductive character already fascinated me in my childhood. With his dangerous and irresistible-romantic charisma he is gothic like no other creature." Vargo would like to face a real vampire one time. "To spend a whole evening with such a creature of the shadows, that would be something." If such a meeting is planned in his life yet he didn't ask the Tarot about. He thinks:"Life is a mystery, I rather let myself surprise."

That's it! Please excuse my little mistakes. ;) Hope this was interesting for you.


Thank you Darla for translating the article, and you are totally excused. :)

It's great to see that he worked with his art to translate the feelings and meanings of the cards. And I'm so glad he illustrated all the minors. Which makes me wonder, are all his cards based on previous works, or are some of the cards genuine work for the deck?


I got my deck from Monolith and no autograph, no sheet.

Yeah, it would have been great to have a little background. It's always fun to have a few comment from the author/illustrator.

And it's great to have learned a bit more about the deck


Very Cool....

I just wanted to let you all know that I was just out on the Monolith Graphics website. I am trying to find out the significance of the six limbed symbol that can be found in side the circle in the graphics on the back of the cards. Not only is it there, but I have found it on the World card and the King of Swords.

But I digress.......

The reason I am making this post is to let you know that there is a link on the Gothic Tarot portion of Vargo's site that is called Gothic Tarot Forum.....and it brings you right to this forum!!!!!



See how that works?


Awwww merc... you didn't know that???

Yes, one of our members sent a headups email early this year to the Monolith Graphics folks, the email is listed in their "Feedback" section (or whatever it's called).

My guess is they linked to us after that... and really this is a smart business move, when you consider it.

One very good way to boost sales is: customer feedback. The link to our forum from their site allows potential customers to get a feel for the product before they buy it. A little "browse before you buy" kinda mentality.

It also allows Monolith the opportunity to build "buzz" advertising. Buzz is different than feedback, in that buzz will purposefully generate an optimistic, upbeat tone in order to persuade the buyer into a sale. And around here, only the fans are posting. So for the most part, potential customers are viewing very positive, upbeat things. :D


WolfyJames said:
Which makes me wonder, are all his cards based on previous works, or are some of the cards genuine work for the deck?
Just my guess here... but I would say yes, some were made only for the deck. But these are a small percentage of the overall cards.

Take a look at cards like 10 of swords, and 3 of swords (just working from memory). Those were quite purposefully RWS-like images, and I seriously doubt they would have been painted without a deck to include them in. They are completely different in subject matter and tone than Vargo's more "traditional" works (Lovers, 9 of cups, Knight of Cups, etc etc).

And p.s. My deck didn't come with a sheet either. I seriously think the sheet was just an fact/information page for the article writer to assemble from. Just another guess on my part, since no one else seems to ever have received this sheet with their deck.