Friday, April 29, 2022

Mystical, deathly, and devil jokers. Pirates too.

 Mystical, deathly, and devil jokers. Pirates too. There's a lot of them and they've just been updated (Sept 2023) in time to be Halloween jokers! The Skull Head Jokers recently split off into their own subsection. Boo!

Starting with one of my favorite jokers of all time. This mystical dybbuk is one of the most beautiful and artistically significant jokers in the collection. It is of a dybbuk and designed by Arthur Szyk, one of the great artist of 1930s-50s,  Arthur Szyk was a famous artist in mid 20th Century who escaped the Holocaust by moving to America.   I have an entire article about Arthur Szyk and his card designs.  

It pictures a dybbuk which in Jewish or Kabalistic mythology is a malicious possessing spirit believed to be the dislocated soul of a dead person. 

Arthur Szyk Joker Playing Card

Here's the back of the Arthur Szyk joker.

This scary jokers is another of my long time favorites

What exactly is a succubus?
Question: And how is a succubus related to an incubus?   
Answer: an incubus is a male demon that seeks to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women;. A Succubus is a female demon that seduces men, often in their dreams...

Additions to this section in April 2024. Both super modern beautifully produced collectable decks. The first one is by Mind's Eye Playing Cards, designed by David Bollt.  It's called Professor Tate's Traveling Road Show and it reminds me of a song that  I was just listening to:  Cher's old song, Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves. The part that reminds me is the mix of the travelling show selling oddities, snake oil, and the girly show. Have a listen.

Professor Tate's Travelling Road Show

These two jokers are from a deck called The Thief, Grave Robber Edition.  It's a gorgeous deck with shiny gold foiling. All the pips are slightly customized.
The Thief, Grave Robber Edition

I'm never quite sure what to make of these modern decks which, as part of being made for collecting, limit the number of decks creating exclusivity from the start. I'm sure the deck collectors are shocked by the way that I just open up the deck and then, gasp, separate the joker from the deck.  BTW, I do not separate antique jokers from their decks. I keep them together and only put photocopies of the jokers in my albums. Collectors, in case you are tracking, The Thief, Grave Robber Edition, deck 777 (of 850) is no longer in factory condition!

Here's the whole set of demonic, mystical, piratical, and Halloween-type jokers..

The green joker in the top row below is derivative of a famous enigmatic painting by Jan Matejko in 1862. Click to learn more about  Jan Matejko's sad jester painting and description of the historical context.  There's a number of jokers like him in the pages below.

The next few pages focus on pirates and skeletons.

  An early version of this article was published in March 2018. It includes the backs and listed 30 jokers. The May 2019 article on mystical jokers shows a lot of the individuals ones in high res form. On Oct 30th, in time for Halloween 2022, the  Skull Head Jokers split off into their own subsection (but are still listed above here).

They're in the artsy section of the collection along with:

    1.  Art: Traditional art  (ie, there was a canvas or drawing to start with). Digital art
    2. flowers, fruit, mermaids
    3. Card-themed Jokers (YES, this is intentional) 
    4. Mystical, deathly, and devils. Pirates too.  THIS ARTICLE skull Head Jokers
    5. Masks
    6. Statues 

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Thanks for your input and for reading and thinking about jokers.