Sideshow Tarot by Kyohazard

Sideshow Tarot by Kyohazard

Sideshow Tarot by Kyle Burles of Kyohazard Studio (click to enlarge)

I first saw the Sideshow Tarot by Kyle Burles (Kyohazard Studio) after picking up his card at the local Comic Expo. It was the first year of the show – 2006, I think – and while the event was small and nothing in comparison to more established Comic Cons, it was still an absolute wonder for me to be able to see artists’ work up close and actually talk to them about their pieces. I was instantly taken by the prints Kyohazard had on display and when I got home and saw he was working on a Sideshow Tarot, it was “Squeeeee!” time in a big way.

This year the Comic Expo was much, much bigger, but I still managed to find Kyohazard tucked away in the middle of the manga section. And guess what? He had decks. Oh my. OH MY. I vaguely remember blathering something to him about how excited we – the Tarot Community – are about the Sideshow Tarot and he said that he only had 3 decks left, but was planning on having them up for sale on his website in May. I assured him not to worry; tarot freaks will wait. They’ll pester you every two minutes, but they’ll wait. He looked a little scared, and with good reason! And then I flounced off, sans deck.

I know. What was I thinking?? The Man couldn’t understand it either, but I explained to him that I’ve decided not to over-indulge and only get decks that really, truly appeal to my aesthetic on all levels (he said if he was a tarot collector, he would totally get the deck – and that’s significant, coming from someone who wouldn’t care less!) But it was hard. The way he’s interpreted the cards in terms of the sideshow environment is really smart; the Minors aren’t just pictures with X number of suit elements in them either. I debated going back… and debated… and gave them a second look…

The deck really is very well put together. The cards are a good size, not too slippery or sticky and the cardstock is workable. The printing looks well-executed and I couldn’t see any glaring misprint errors or off-centredness. Also, no stinky chemical smell – hooray! I especially like the way the colour-scheme translated into the finished product: it looks just the right amount of seedy and dirty and possibly tetanus-inducing :D The backs are a fine reversible print done in red and the borders are all treated to look worn. What really impressed me is that he didn’t just use the same border for each card, making it seem even more authentic, despite the crisp cuts and sharp corners. Even better? Each deck comes with its own wooden storage box – and all this for CAD$50! Ask me again why I didn’t buy all three…

Kyohazard also had the Major Arcana book for sale and I’m really annoyed with myself that I simply forgot to go back and get one grrrrrr!! A full page is given to each card, with a full page description of the card and how it came to be. At least the book is available for sale in the online store, so I can fix that mistake. Support local artists, YEAH!

I wouldn’t be surprised of this deck gets picked up for publication. It is so unique in terms of what is already available and I don’t think it is too far from mainstream to be non-viable. Based on the AT forum discussions alone, it seems like there is a demand and market for this deck. Perhaps a smaller publisher like Adam McLean (though he only does Majors)? We’ll see. Until then, you can see most of the Minors and a few Majors in Kyohazard’s deviantArt gallery.

2 thoughts on “Sideshow Tarot by Kyohazard

  1. Batsu-chan says:

    This is another one I said YES and then back tracked in order to exercise some self-control. I do want this one, too. :) It’s so cool you saw it in person. So it is stained/old timey looking! LOVE…


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