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Comic Book / Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose

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Tarot, somewhat overdressed by her own standards.

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose is a bi-monthly comic written and drawn by Jim Balent, coloured and lettered by his partner Holly Golightly, and published by BroadSword Comics.

It's the story of an impossibly-proportioned Action Girl witch named Tarot (Rowan by birth), living — inevitably — in Salem, Massachusetts, who is sworn to uphold the balance between the mortal world and the magical world and all that good stuff, usually while naked. Her on-again, off-again rival is her sister, Raven Hex, who occasionally wants to punish the mortal world for persecuting witch-kind (and causing the death of their father). Tarot's male love interest is Jon Webb, a cemetery caretaker who can communicate with the dead and uses the Secret Identity of "The Skeleton Man." Her female love interest is Boo Cat, a were-cat Genki Girl, who's also in love with vampire Licorice Dust.


The series is a mixture of action, tits, magic, tits, neo-pagan propaganda, tits, Author Tracts, and tits.

Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: This is revealed as Jon's childhood in Issue #103, much to Raven's shock.
  • An Aesop:
    • Generally on having tolerance and a positive body image.
    • Issue #25 is basically one huge Anvilicious Aesop rant about treating everyone equally.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The robots created by the TSA (issue #72) swiftly become Omnicidal Maniacs without any outside aid.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: In issue #24, Boo Cat gets drunk and ends up sexually harassing the staff, causing her and Licorice Dust to get chased away by them.
  • All Abusers Are Male: Averted: Females are just as likely to sexually assault/enslave Tarot or Jon as men.
  • All Myths Are True: While ghosts, fairies, dragons and the God and Goddess of Neo-Pagan faith do indeed exist, later on the main cast encounter vampires, were-creatures of varying beast-types, giants, mermaids, golems, angels, demons and even members of the Æsir.
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  • Ambiguously Bi: While Tarot is most definitely playing for both teams, it is never stated what Raven's exact orientation is. She takes Azure as a lover and she is clearly into Jon to some degree, but she has also shared lovers with her sister Tarot (even kissing her on the lips after she came back to life) and she bathes with enchanted women statues.
  • Ambiguously Evil: During her spiritual journey in the Summerlands, Tarot encounters The Devil. Unlike the other Major Arcana, the Devil acts as a sort of obstacle, meant to distract her from her agenda and keep her there. She uses her small imps to set her down where she then tempts her using her carnal desires and temptations to distract her, undoing her clothes and effectively removing her "defenses" given to her by the other Arcana. It can be assumed that because she does nothing to actually stop her from leaving, it is likely that the Devil simply played antagonist as a test, and that she was not actually against her.
  • Attempted Rape: Boo Cat and Tarot are on the receiving end of this all the time.
  • Author Appeal: Jim Balent seems to admire Wicca and women with the Most Common Super Power, as well bondage and restraints.
  • Author Filibuster: There have been entire issues devoted to these.
  • Babies Ever After: A possible future has Tarot and Raven each having a child fathered by Jon. For a while, Tarot was unable to have children, but as of Issue #91, this obstacle is removed.
  • Badass Normal: The werewolf hunter from issue #63. Not to mention Jon himself on numerous occasions.
  • Beach Episode: The "Hawaiian Holiday" two-parter.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: In the Tarot Universe, every President we've had was an Expy of Iron Man. Turns out it was Washington's Powered Armor that was wood, not his teeth.
  • Blame the Paramour: While Licorice Dust is Boo Cat's girlfriend, Boo Cat is shown to be very promiscuous and has several lovers on the side. While Boo Cat does love Licorice Dust, she wants their relationship to be open while Licorice Dust wants a more committed relationship. Because of this, Licorice Dust will often take out her frustrations on Boo's on-again/off-again lover Tarot.
  • Bullying a Dragon: You'd think that people wouldn't bully/persecute witches who have actual actual magic powers. You'd be wrong.
  • Burn the Witch!: The townies want to do it, and the fact that it happened in the past drives Raven's hatred.
  • Changeling Tale: In Issue #37, a wood imp captured a human child with the intent of keeping it, leaving a gaggle of roots in a child's likeness in its place.
  • Chosen Conception Partner: Jon, on a few occasions.
    • In issue #14, a Troll Queen and her female followers have their way with him for a good long while until he impregnates all of them.
    • In issue #39, a possible future reveals that Jon and Tarot are married and have a child, and then she and Raven ask him to father Raven's child as well. As seen on the trope image, it turns out well.
  • Clothing Damage: Tarot will lose some, if not all of her clothes every other issue; it's reached the point where one wonders why she even bothers to wear anything.
  • Comic-Book Time: Averted. Time passes normally between issues and arcs. Because it's a bi-monthly comic, this can sometimes feel a little strange.
  • Crossover:
    • "Witches and Kittens" has Tarot meet the "3 Little Kittens", from a 3-issue BroadSword-published miniseries, also by Jim & Holly. The next crossover with the kittens is "Hex and the City".
    • Had one with Holly's comic, School Bites.
  • Cute Monster Girl: A whole lot of cute monster girls.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Tarot does it at the drop of a hat, and has spent a large number of pages doing so in several issues.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Licorice Dust and her friends were rejected for the cheerleader squad, and made fun of behind their backs. After they become vampires, they murder them via rat swarm.
  • Double Entendre: Boo Cat loves to torment Jon with these.
  • Double Standard: See Scenery Censor, below. One scene in "Holiday Witches" shows all six of the series' main characters — Tarot, her sister and mother, Boo Cat, Licorice and Jon — fully nude. Guess who's the only one who isn't completely exposed for the readers' enjoyment? Hilariously enough, the only time a man is vaguely exposed, it's the Talking Fountain, who is completely made of stone. Also, a giant.
  • Easily Forgiven: Tarot almost immediately forgives the mermaid witch in issues #70-71 for chaining her above the water to be eaten by sharks.
  • Everyone Is Bi: A good chunk of the female cast, including Tarot herself, are bi.
  • Evil Counterpart: Thornwic to Tarot. He's the 'Sword of the God', doesn't hesitate to torture and murder, and wears clothing. He's also a much better fighter then Tarot, managing to strip her naked over the course of their fight.
  • Eye Scream: In an early issue Raven uses the spikes on her nipples to put out a man's eyes for commenting on her breasts.
  • Fanservice:
    • Damn near every Sub-Trope. Much like the costumes, the term doesn't even begin to cover the characters in this series.
    • In a more meta example Balent has written/drawn fans and colleagues into the series, most noticeably in issue #47 where he draws a staggering 44 fans as witches fighting alongside Tarot.
  • Fan Disservice: Balent infuses every issue with Fanservice, and it's inevitable that he'll draw something repulsive to others.
    • The permanently naked Gingerbread-Woman-Slash-Sex-Doll who butchers and consumes the man who made her...
    • The doll woman reconstructed from cadaver part.
    • The nurses involved in the "haunted vagina" issue.
  • A Fate Worse Than Death
    • Willowry turns into a tree when she uses a spell without saying the Witch Goddess' name.
    • Tarot cuts Azure's head off and seals it in a box at the end of the Shadow Witch arc.
  • Forced Transformation: Raven has something of a penchant for changing her enemies into various animals, including frogs and crows.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: Issue #54.
  • Gag Boobs: Numerous characters, but Rave stands out as the most prominent (no pun intended) recurring character — her breasts probably outweigh the rest of her torso.
  • Ghostly Animals: Jon the Skeleton Man is perpetually accompanied by his loyal ghost dog Wraith, who resembles a ghostly canine skeleton.
  • Good Shepherd: In issue #37, a mother chastises Tarot for being a "devil worshiper" right after she saves the mother's daughter from a car. A bishop happens on the situation and the mother tries to get him to join her in shaming Tarot. Instead, the bishop tells the mother off, claiming that she needs to work on being a decent person before she can be a good Christian. He then apologizes to Tarot on behalf of the woman and wishes her a good night (much to Tarot's surprise).
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: In Issue #63 Jon comes across a female Werewolf who is acting as bait for a Werewolf Hunter. Both sides are out for blood for the killings the other has done. While the hunter saves Jon a couple of times, she's willing to knock him out if he gets in her way. The she-wolf on the other hand, while out to kill the hunter, stops her fellows from killing Jon as he was just there to help her and apologizes for dragging him into a private war.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Raven.
  • Historical Domain Superperson: In one bizarre issue, it's revealed that George Washington had a suit of wooden Powered Armor and that every President since then has been expected to don the suit to defend the country in times of trouble.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty:
    • Done to Tarot constantly.
    • Jon gets on the receiving end a few times with various female monsters, as well.
  • Impossibly Cool Weapon:
    • The werewolf hunter has gun katana; the gun part forms roughly half the hilt and guard of her katana, but fires horizontal to the blade.
    • The Presidential battlesuits, including one post-Revolutionary War era one made of wood.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes:
    • Kitty Pop of the 3 Little Kittens, featuring pink hair and pink-blue-black polka-dotted outfits.
    • The Satanic School Girls have worn bikinis made out of teddy bears.
  • Invincible Villain: The Krampus are a race of holiday spirits that roam the world during December that kidnap, torture and/or kill children they deem "naughty", using magical hypnotic bells to keep the adults from stopping them. Whenever they come to Salem, the heroes try to stop their reign of terror. However, they possess a natural immunity to the witch's magic and a Healing Factor, and are able to use their bells to pacify and humiliate them before leaving. Tarot has faced them three times (once with Raven, once with Jon and once by herself) and has yet to defeat any of them.
  • Iron Maiden: In the "Witch Key" arc, Tarot is shoved inside an iron maiden as one of the tortures she's forced to endure. She somehow manages to stay perfectly still for several days.
  • Ironic Hell: The Hell Dimension presented in Issue #36 is presented as this, with much of the more creative forms of torture meant to cater to what the souls believe they are damned for considering they are all only there because they thought they deserved it. For example, those who spotted filth in life were had the vomit and feces forcibly spewed into their mouths, and those who felt great desire but where unable to act upon them (either for social edicts or old-fashioned shyness) had their tongues and private areas aflame.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Tarot and Raven Hex. You probably would not even realize that they were sisters given the contrast.
  • Looks Like Orlok: The various humans-turned-vampires in Issue #106 have this general appearance.
  • Love at First Sight: Tarot and Jon almost instantly fall in love with each other in the first issue, and are an official couple by the end of issue #4.
  • Male Gaze: You can see everything when a woman is naked. With men, their pelvic areas are usually covered by a Gag Censor, Censor Steam, Censor Shadow, Censor Suds, etc. Because with all of these exposed clits, showing a cock would make the comic totally gay.
  • Mermaid Problem: Averted. It doesn't matter what kind of female you are: Whether it be half-woman/half-spider or mermaid, if it is shown naked it will have a vulva.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Tarot, and more female characters than can be summed up in this entry.
  • Monster Of The Arc: Almost no enemy makes a reappearance after their introduction and inevitable defeat, essentially making the series follow this format exactly.
  • Most Common Superpower: Present in Tarot's family and many of the other females that pop up.
  • Naked First Impression: The first time Jon meets Tarot's mother. (He's the one naked, not her).
  • Narrating the Obvious: There are several issues that are practically all narration, and only serve to describe the action. Special mention goes to issue #47, when Tarot narrates a large battle while fighting someone in a different area.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The Medusa Queen looks an awful lot like Angelina Jolie, and the four "Hollywood Witches" look exactly like Megan Fox, Tara Reid, Pamela Anderson, and Paris Hilton.
  • Non-Mammal Mammaries: The Dragon Witches in their humanish form. In Tarot, everyone has tits.
  • Once per Episode: There will be a naked woman in nearly every issue.
  • Only Six Faces:
    • Every woman has the same body and face and mainly only differ in terms of what kind of "body paint" they're wearing. Guys don't even get that much and are largely nondescript. It gets really obvious in an issue where reader-submitted pictures are drawn in for a Wiccan army battle.
    • Always very obvious with Boo Cat and Licorice Dust who strike identical poses in some frames.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: "Dragon witches" have the usual giant-lizard form, but also possess a par-for-the-course stacked babe form in the same colors as their dragon forms.
  • Our Werebeasts Are Different: Werecats are a race of magical creatures that can be found in Salem. When not during the full-moon, werecats all look like normal, everyday human beings. During the full moon, werecats develop a slick layer of fur over their skin, cat ears on the top of their head, whiskers, a cat nose and a long cat tail. There seems to exist a werecat culture on its own much like that of witches, as when a werecat comes of age, that werecat is put through a ritual where they are anointed with sacred oils by their clan members and given a cat-bath by them after they make their first transformation. They also seem to be comfortable with nudity, all of the members going skyclad during their congregations and just when they're in their werecat forms in general. They possess super-strength, super-speed, enhanced senses and (like all other shape-shifter species) can be repelled by wolfsbane.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: There are apparently female werewolves who have the head and tail of a wolf, and a human body. The result is rather... disjointed.
  • Physical God: The Norse Gods from their arc. They easily outstrip every character in the series (the possible exception being the Goddess), and Hel is a Reality Warper to the degree of being able to invoke a world-wide Reset Button at the end of the arc.
  • Please Put Some Clothes On: Between Jon and Raven in "No Rest For The Witchy."
  • Porn Without Plot: Sex and near-naked women were common in the earlier issues, but it could still have a plot independent of them (relatively). Over the course of the series, it's been adding more and more explicit nudity and sex, to the point where removing them would result in entire issues being cut.
  • Power Nullifier: Many villains have objects/enchantments to nullify Tarot's magic.
  • Rerouted from Heaven: In Jon's story of Issue #39, we are catered to a hypothetical story about what would happen after his death. As he ascends to Heaven (being a catholic hero), a Valkyrie escorting a viking named Einherjar crashes into him, accidentally knocking the viking right into his Heaven as the Valkyrie mistakenly escorts Jon to Valhalla.
  • Reset Button: Mashed hard at the end of the Norse Gods arc.
  • Rule of Cool: In Tarot's world, each President of the United States is expected to wear Powered Armor and fight evil in the name of the country, making every one since the founding of the country an expy of Iron Man (or, in the case of George Washington and his battlesuit, Wood Man?).
  • Rule of Three: A rule of magic that is inconsistently applied, and often acts as Magic Guided Karma.
  • Scenery Censor:
    • Played straight (more or less) until issue 17, and then they're averted wholeheartedly. The only female character who doesn't get full frontal nudity is recurring character Crypt Chick and celebrity guest Fiona Horne in "The Witch Queen." Still played straight when it comes to Jon's dangly bits.
    • For some reason, it comes back into play for a few issues around 60-67, but then the series goes back to averting it.
  • Secret Diary: A couple of fairies discover Tarot, Raven, and Boo Cat's diaries in "Diary of a Witch."
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: In Issue #36, Jon ventures into a hole to a vast Hell Dimension that Crypt Chick was taken too. After finding Crypt Chick and intending on escaping, he calls out to the thousands of souls trapped there and tells them that he will bring them along if they choose. They all call out to him and are suddenly free of their imprisonment, their souls rising into the heavens as the sun rises.
  • Sensible Heroes, Skimpy Villains: Stretches this trope to the limit with the heroes.
  • Sex Magic: Among many other forms of magic, witches from partake in sex magic. Especially appropriate, given the high count of naked women.
  • Start of Darkness: While it was the death of their father during a black magic ritual that put Raven Hex over the edge, it was being bullied in her teens for having H-Cup breasts that caused her to start picking up on the dark path of witchery.
  • Stripperiffic: On the rare occasions when Tarot and her friends actually wear clothing, it almost always belongs in this category. Most of it could honestly be called "two strings and a wish". The majority of female characters aren't wearing much more than her.
  • Strong as They Need to Be: Partially inverted; Tarot will oftentimes be weakened enough or lose her magic in order to provide fanservice for the reader.
  • Take That!:
    • Towards Twilight.
      Jon: Don't you have a Twilight movie line to stand in somewhere?
      Licorice Dust: SHUT UP! I hate those movies! Fucking worst thing that ever happened to vampires.
    • The robots the TSA creates which are useless, perverted, and murderous might be one against the agency.
  • Taken for Granite: Medusa have appeared in the comic; Tarot was turned to stone by one.
  • Tarot Motifs: Tarot named herself after it, and they pop up from time to time; they're usually pretty accurate about the predictions.
    • When she is nearly killed by the Headless Horseman, Tarot’s soul winds up in the Summerlands. Choosing to leave back to the real world, Tarot is brought onto a spiritual journey where she meets every member of the Major Arcana personified.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Averted; despite a few hints dropped (such as the Frankenstein nurse and ginger bread woman), there's virtually no follow-up on any of the potential story lines.
  • The Fair Folk: Pop up from time to time, although the miniature pixies/goblins are more common. They appear to lack (or aren't shown) the traditional weaknesses associated with them. This being Tarot, almost all of them are female and naked.
  • To Hell and Back: Jon does this in issue #36 in order to save Crypt Chick. As this is Tarot, Hell is full of naked women in various states of torment.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Crops up a few times, but Latex Red gets the prize; she called in a missile strike on her exact location.
  • Wham Episode: The Norse God arc.
  • Whip It Good: Latex Red's Satanic Schoolgirls use electrified taser towels, and Tonya Kay (a real-life person drawn into the comic) uses a whip. The Dragon Witches famously use their tails to lash Jon during his stay in the realm beyond the mists in issue #10.
  • Won't Take "Yes" for an Answer: When Jon is proposing to Tarot, he's too busy arguing that being her boyfriend has already put him in enough danger that becoming her husband wouldn't change things much, that he's fully willing to go through with the consequences, and so on, to realize that she said "yes" almost immediately.
  • World of Buxom: It might be easier to list the women in this comic that don't have humongous breasts.
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Despite being at the mercy of villains dozens of times, none of them ever think to kill Tarot until it's too late.
  • Your Head A-Splode: In an early issue, one of the members of the witches' circle remotely protecting Tarot suffers a gruesome cranial explosion as he absorbs a death blow meant for her. Another's head splits vertically, almost in half. They're later shown, still alive and making do with their injuries, at Tarot's May Day party.