This is a transformation deck where all the characters in the cards (excepting, of course, the joker cards) are jokers. The artwork has been carefully made and the result is amazing.
The concept began with an admiration of jokers in classic, modern and unusual decks. They wanted to depict four common themes, each one representing a suit. Spades represents the dark, sinister and sometimes evil Jokers. Clubs illuminates the risque, burlesque and pin-up Jokers. Hearts are for the romantic and comical fare who see jesters as fun frolicy folk. And finally diamonds, a vision of the classic and traditional jokers doing their joker things.
I have had the chance to talk to Alex Willis, and he has revealed me some details and secrets about this deck that make it more stunning. You can see larger versions of the images clicking on them.
He has selected four artists from across the world to put together this deck which has it’s own challenges as he needed to ensure the deck was cohesive and he had to scrap a few of the early contenders. In the end, he is really happy with the artwork and overall direction this deck took.
About some hidden meanings, the spades suit (sinister) has only one character throughout, he completely disregards the order to the deck and pips. He represents the Hear No Evil, See No Evil and Speak No Evil in the courts and is dressed as the Queen in drag.
The non-joker joker… Every joker deck needs a joker, but when you have a deck full of jokers what do you use? A non-joker. A straight laced businessman. Of course, for a magical reveal he becomes disrobed.
The Four Jokers on a Bike Joker. A poke of fun at the standard Bicycle 808 King on the Bike joker. 47 on the mile marker is actually Alex’s production company for film and artwork. There was only one artist creating this card and she attempted to match the styles of each suit.
The bearded lady joker. Typically the extra cards in a deck can be used for a gaff card or advertising… let’s just say it’s advertising for something to come… (mystery)
The harlequin back design is simple and seemingly underdesigned. It’s intended to mock the standard Bee back design. However, when released with the marked backs (stretch goal) the design will have slight modifications so you can read the cards. The modifications will be a fading in the diamonds at the top left and bottom right.
The questionable three of clubs. As the clubs is Burlesque/pinup Alex wanted to make sure it was PG-13 so appeal to a larger audience. He and the artist had a difference of opinion and she made some sound arguments. So they settled on a single card that is an R rating. No nudity, but close. When polled, Europeans didn’t have an issue, but Americans are more conservative in these matters. He has a fallback in case the card is not well received.
The invisible Diamonds suit. The original design of the diamonds was completed and thrown in the heap. The art was good, but not good enough. When doing the full page mock up we didn’t have all the diamonds complete nor the Ace of Spades. They should really go back and update and they probably will in a week or so.
The court cards in the hearts suit which is intended to be comic/romantic has a little trickery going on. If you look at the images, the character at the bottom is playing a prank on the character at the top. The Jack has hit it’s counterpart on the back of the head with it’s sceptre, the Queen is pressing a bladder to squirt it’s counterpart and the King is holding a match after lighting a wick going to what appears to be an explosive gift for it’s counterpart.
The high goal for this deck. Using four artists and creating a full 56 art images costs a lot of money. You typically pay $100 – $110 per image and that’s on the cheap. Unless you are an artist and do all the work yourself (and not pay yourself) this kind of deck is not cheap to produce. Adding the money needed to cover the production and shipping, that’s why the goal isn’t at $12K.
Now, you know (almost) everything about this deck. If you want to know more secrets, you can then go to the project website and raise your pledge.