“Wild Card Chic,” dated June 1971, in the first eponymous volume, Wild Cards, is attributed to Tom Wolfe and written in his style. It details how, after the horror of the McCarthy years and the sadness of the sixties, Wild Cards had come back into fashion–at least the aces–enjoying a glorious dazzling moment of public approval, sipping champagne at Aces High.
Alas, as with all things, it could not last; the Wild Cards world descended into the grim and gritty eighties—or as grim and gritty as we thought them then. Wild Cards history progressed with our publications, passed through the doldrums until our revival, with the current volumes going strong, culminating in the world-shaking horrors of High Stakes.
With that in the queue, in 2016, sipping prosecco at our celebratory party amidst the splendors at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe, our own Aces High, there were questions amongst the authors about perhaps doing something a bit lighter. Maybe, after having saved the world, again, the Wild Cards might possibly bask in a little adulation from a grateful planet? Perhaps Wild Card Chic might return, fashionably dressed aces and all?
And speaking of fashion, where did our characters get their clothes anyway? Captain Trips might get a new costume every time he took a hit of acid, and ditto Rosa Loteria with her loteria cards, but The Amazing Bubbles ripped out of her dress when she got fat enough, and while Bubbles tended towards belted caftans for some wiggle room, she was a fashion model, so who was her designer?
“The Seamstress,” replied Caroline Spector, Bubbles’ creator, pitching an ace who made wild-card-enhanced clothing. Not to be outdone, Kevin Andrew Murphy mentioned that his character, Herne the Huntsman–before Herne’s career as joker porn star and then international terrorist–had gotten his start as a high-paid clotheshorse, strutting the catwalk for Handsome Harry, a joker-ace Savile Row tailor. Then the writers began passing the “dumb stick,” hashing out the plot of a novel called Follow the Queen, a globe-hopping Wild Cards adventure going from the runways of London to Paris to Milan before finally culminating back in New York for Fashion Week, which we never had dealt with before.
Of course, Wild Cards plotting being what it is, Follow the Queen morphed and split into Knaves Over Queens followed by Three Kings, our new British books, with The Seamstress and Handsome Harry finding a home there. But during our research and inquiries into the fashion world for Follow the Queen, word got to Alessandro Michele, the new Creative Director at Gucci. Plans were made to have our book’s release coincide with Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection. Alas, that was not to be, publishing schedules being what they are and book plans changing. But at least we can treat you to our insights into the first Wild Cards inspired collection from the famous fashion house.
Before explaining to Alessandro and Gucci’s designers what the wild card virus was, we had to explain who made it, that being the Takisians, foremost of them being Dr. Tachyon, the flamboyant copper-haired telepath created by Melinda Snodgrass. Dr. Tachyon, lover of fashion that he is, has an everchanging wardrobe, about his only constant being an ostrich-plumed cavalier hat.
“Does he ever take the hat off?” asked Alessandro, to which Melinda responded, “Well of course. He’s a doctor. He wouldn’t wear it in the Jokertown Clinic’s operating room, for example. That wouldn’t be sanitary.”
So we shouldn’t have been surprised at the new look unveiled for Dr. Tachyon or the setting for Gucci’s fashion show.
Gucci asked us for other notable fashionable wild cards. Melinda of course mentioned one of her first characters, Asta Lenser, the ace Fantasy, the prima ballerina whose dancing entranced all men and even some women. Fantasy is a fashion chameleon, donning one costume after another as it suits her, even changing her eye color with contacts and her hair with wigs, her only constant being her inherent sexiness and her short spiked natural hair.
Gucci interpreted “chameleon” literally for color and came up with these fashions fantasies for Fantasy.
Melinda, when she mentioned that “chameleon” wasn’t literal, did mention that Wild Cards had a literal chameleon joker, Daudi, a Kenyan boy, in “The Crooked Man,” her Dr. Finn story for Card Sharks.
This delights us, but of course we were wondering what Gucci would create for Michelle Pond, The Amazing Bubbles. In addition to being a world-class supermodel, Bubbles is one of the most powerful aces in Wild Cards, able to turn any force used against her into fat and then release it again in the form of bubbles made of pure plot—rubbery, hard, soft, explosive, whatever she (and Caroline Spector) imagines. Bubbles can go from Twiggy thin to beyond plus size and back in an instant. Plus her natural platinum blonde hair was dyed dark for her first appearance on American Hero so how Michelle looks has varied wildly, as shown from her art thus far.
Gucci unveiled three possible looks for Bubbles. The first a basic black but slimming velvet number with floral embroidery nonetheless made from stretchable fabric. The second a layered caftan able to balloon up or fall back down as needed with a literal bubble of red lace and marabou around the Paramount logo, bespeaking Bubble’s Hollywood connections, along with a black cap and fashionable oversize dark glasses so she can go out in public without being recognized while still looking like the heroine and supermodel she is. But we like the third interpretation best, Bubble’s leggings shredded, as if from expansion to super-plus-size and back, while her stretchable knit sweater is untouched. Even better, it’s decorated with the likeness of the Cherry Witch, the deceptively sweet villainess of Ocelot 9, the Anime video game that Adesina, Michelle’s foster daughter, is addicted to. (Note: Ocelot 9 is not a real game. Yet. It’s unique the Wild Cards universe, but Caroline’s numerous references have confused a number of copyeditors.)
The next fashionable ace from Wild Cards is Cleonida Simpson, a teleporting blonde who American Hero tried to style as Cleopatra but who soon became known as Pop Tart. Beautiful, devious, and ditzy, she’s a creation of Walter Jon Williams and stars in “Prompt. Professional. Pop!” featured on Tor.com
In the story, Cleo dons a whole ensemble of designer apparel (name dropping redacted here in deference to Gucci) to become, as she calls it, a “very fashionable ninja.” You can see John Picacio’s interpretation below, losing the Cleopatra wig and picking up the colors of Cleo’s original outfit with the scarf.
Here we see Gucci’s interpretation of Pop Tart’s “very fashionable ninja.”
In Walter’s story Pop Tart encounters her arch rival Rosa Loteria, her former team mate from Team Spades, whose wild card power is tied to an antique deck of Spanish loteria cards. Rosa can turn into over a hundred different aces, but all at random. Kevin Andrew Murphy, Rosa’s creator, has plans for her, so watch for her in the future. But Rosa, in her natural form, whatever her outfit, always favors something with a rose on it as her signature look.
Gucci took this and ran with it. The first outfit, with the fabric with the roses and the explosion of playing-card shapes, is a perfect metaphor for Rosa’s power and something she would love to wear. The second more demure jacket with the smaller roses on playing-card white again echoes Rosa’s theme with a mask for Rosa to go incognito if she needs. The third outfit is glorious and glitzy, bespeaking Rosa’s mostly unrealized Hollywood dreams and displaying many different colored backgrounds for more roses, like long fans of loteria cards. Also, note the New York Yankees logo on Rosa’s rose-colored cap in the first ensemble. We told Gucci that a major project in the pipeline takes Rosa to New York and also mentioned the significance of baseball in the Wild Cards universe. They listened. Details like this are what makes Gucci the iconic brand it is.
The next fashion plate to come out of American Hero is Haley Mok, ace name Jade Blossom, William F. Wu’s character, who can control her density, becoming as light as a blossom or as dense as jade. Haley has a story upcoming in Texas Hold ‘em.
Gucci came up with three different looks for Jade Blossom. The first a traditional Chinese jacket in jade green with floral embroidery and a poet’s shirt with trailing lace sleeves accessories with a blossom-pink lace mask. The second uses the blossom motif on the skirt with a riot of peonies and the jacket in black jade. The third look goes pure blossom with sparkling pink with ethereal fringes. Gucci’s designers again stressed how important baseball is in the Wild Cards world, incorporating the Yankees logo again into the second outfit.
While the SF monogram in the first outfit would properly belong to the San Francisco Giants, in our world, in the Wild Cards timeline the Giants were traded to Minnesota, home of Paul Bunyan, taking him as their mascot, while San Francisco has the Seals. That said, the SF Seals of the Wild Cards World would undoubtedly have the same monogram as the SF Giants of this one. Subtle detail work by Gucci. Bravo!
The next fashionable ace from American Hero is Tiffani who is tough-as-diamonds, both figuratively and literally, and another creation of Caroline Spector.
Gucci was not able to hire a model made of actual diamonds, of course, but played on Tiffani’s name here as well as the designs of Tiffany’s.
The next female ace from American Hero is not fashionable, but that’s because Rachel Weinstein, ace name Dragon Huntress, was a child at the time. She’s also a formidable ace, able to animate her stuffed toys into giant real versions of themselves, including Cthulhu, Tusker the elephant, and Shamo the orca. But her favorite is Puffy, her pet dragon.
Gucci asked if Dragon Huntress grows up, which she does, in Walter’s “Prompt. Professional. Pop!” Rachel also keeps Puffy, her dragon, still her favorite.
Of course, Gucci does men’s fashions as well and wanted to know if there were any men of note on American Hero, so we told them about Carrie Vaughn’s character Andrew Yamauchi, aka Wild Fox, who has a story in our most recent volume, Mississippi Roll.
Wild Fox is an illusionist, so can hide his ears and tail if he wishes, but his illusions are purely mental so would show up on film. But Gucci is correct that Wild Fox is also clever and could hide his ears by growing out his hair and hide his tail behind himself. Andrew here is also a Yankees fan.
Also on American Hero is Daniel Abraham’s character Jonathan Tipton-Clarke, aka Jonathan Hive, aka Bugsy, a blogger and journalist who can turn his body into an equal weight in poison green wasps.
It’s hard to find a model who can do that, but Gucci did locate one who could strike the same insouciant pose of the Bugsy we know and love. Jonathan shirt’s now pink instead of white, the pants have exchanged color with the blazer and are now shorts, but it’s the same outfit and the same Bugsy.
Also created by Daniel Abraham for American Hero is Spasm, aka Spaz, aka Paul Blackwell, an immature preppie frat boy who can make people hiccup or orgasm uncontrollably.
The outfit says it all and the model capture’s Spaz’s attitude perfectly.
The next ace from American Hero is Joe Twitch, created by Walton “Bud” Simons. Ugly, with cat-green eyes, nervous tics, and drool, Joe doesn’t help it with a personal care routine that’s best described as slovenly. Joe’s also super strong and fast, but this doesn’t make up for it.
We considered Joe Twitch to be the most unlikely fashion plate, forgetting that being portrayed by a model and styled by Gucci, Joe’s annoy tics would become endearing quirks, his disreputable air would become scruffy bad-boy charm, and his shapeless slovenly attire would become artless deshabille and hipster thrift-store chic.
All the outfits still look like grampa’s sweater mixed with random apparel from the bottom of the laundry basket, but still, yowza. Joe Twitch is suddenly hot. Who’da thunk it?
Note: The LA logo on Joe’s cap in the second ensemble is not for the Los Angeles Dodgers of our world, since in Wild Cards, the Dodgers stayed in Brooklyn (as did pitcher Fidel Castro), but the Los Angeles Stars, who would of course have the LA logo.
The next male contestant from American Hero is Raj Chaturvedi, The Maharajah, created by Kevin Andrew Murphy. Raj’s power is substitutiary locomotion, able to make clothes behave as if people were in them, able to stage a whole fashion show by himself with invisible models. But Raj is also a triple amputee in a wheel chair, so we expected Gucci might have trouble.
We didn’t expect to get a handicapped model, but we did hope he’d at least be Indian. That said, the outfit is perfect, even down to the bag to carry Raj’s spare clothes.
The next male ace from American Hero is another creation by Walter Jon Williams, King Cobalt. King Cobalt stands a massive musclebound 6’4” with olive skin, clad in nothing more than wrestling booties, posing trunks, and a luchador mask he dare not take off lest he transform back to Cecil Calvino, a scrawny teenage white boy—which was what happened after he died in Inside Straight.
Alessandro Michele asked us if someone else, say Cecil’s sister, donned his luchador mask, could she become Queen Cobalt? We told Alessandro that the Wild Card generally didn’t work that way, though there had been some exceptions—Cyclone and Mistral with the same wind powers, Olena Davydenko catching her father’s deadly coin trick, Alicia N’Shombo and her Leopard Men, and most famously Prime and the Jumpers of whom we shall never speak again. There was also Cameo who could channel the dead and their powers from objects they owned and she certainly could have channeled King Cobalt from his mask.
So Gucci surprised us with Queen Cobalt, her blouse designed with extra fabric loosely held with elasticized gathers and bows so it can expand when she expands to become a muscle-bound olive-skinned amazon luchadora.
Gucci had also asked us more about Cameo, aka Ellen Allworth, of the Nantucket Allworth’s, Kevin Andrew Murphy’s first character for the series. A lithe willowy blonde, Cameo is a fashion designer herself, mostly vintage recreations, having among her possessions Coco Chanel’s sewing machine, Ellen able to channel the fashion icon to sew new Chanel originals.
Gucci took this as a thrown gauntlet, casting three different lithe willowy blondes, reproducing Cameo’s flapper dress and then some, reinterpreting her second gown into a much more daring number, and instead of having Ellen channel Will-o-Wisp from his fedora, for the third look, Gucci put her in King Cobalt’s mask.
We also told them about Kevin Andrew Murphy’s other starting character, Herne the Hunter, the Wild Huntsman, who when he wasn’t calling the Wild Hunt to chase people across Brooklyn or the English countryside was Dylan Hardesty, former joker porn star, with stag legs and a stag’s lusts. Dylan also stands around eight feet tall, not counting his antlers, which are much more grandiose than his first illustration from the cover of Dealer’s Choice. While he tends to walk around naked as Herne, as Dylan he worked as a model, wearing whatever new fashion Handsome Harry gave him.
There aren’t many eight-foot models in the business, so we knew that was out. Gucci also asked, rather pointedly, whether Dylan shed his antlers and was it on the same cycle as a regular deer? Kevin said “Yes” to both. Alessandro pointed out that Fashion Week is in February, so it would be unrealistic for Dylan to sport antlers then. But the looks here have a nice use of Herne’s basic palette, with a hint of bare chest with the first model, both with dark shoes peeping out from overlong pants to give the impression of cloven hooves rather than have the models on stilts. The overlong jacket and sweater to hide Dylan’s otherwise obvious bulge is a deft touch.
After asking about Dylan’s antlers, Gucci asked us if there were any other jokers with horns, hopefully ones that didn’t shed? We told them about Cherie Priest’s character Ramshead, detective Leo Storgman, who’d sprouted a large pair of ram’s horns and showed them the relevant illustrations.
We mentioned that while the Ramshead in Fort Freak and Mississippi Roll as an old cop about to retire, he will appear as his younger joker self in new stories in One-Eyed Jacks and the expanded edition of Jokertown Shuffle, for which Cherie has written a story. See what Gucci produced for our first look at young Ramshead.
Gucci also asked us for more information about Olena Davydenko, girlfriend of the Infamous Black Tongue, both created by David Anthony Durham. We told them Olena was beautiful, a model and escort, daughter of a Ukrainian mobster, and she’d also been held prisoner by the deadly Russian ace Baba Yaga. Gucci produced two looks for Olena, both excellent, and the second model is even handling a harmless milk snake as a stand-in for the IBT, a deadly twenty-foot coral-snake joker.
Baba Yaga, when we meet her in Lowball, is a very old woman, but still deadly, since her spit can turn people into furniture. But she’s had a long career with the KGB and Gucci decided to depict her in younger years with three different looks, all of which draw on the child-eating witch of Russian folklore.
Speaking of deadly aces, we also told Gucci about Mackie Messer, a terrifying creation of the late great Victor Milan. A pale blonde German ace who can vibrate his molecules to walk through walls or turn his hands into buzz saw, Mackie is known for wearing a leather jacket, which becomes an important plot point in Dealer’s Choice. Here’s Mackie from the cover of volume six, Ace in the Hole.
Gucci’s choice for both Mackie’s jacket and the model to present it are both perfect. The falling leaf appliques on the shoulders echo Mackie’s vibrating fingers and also serve as a kill count.
Of course not all the deadly aces in Wild Cards are villains. Some are like Walter Jon Williams character Neil Langford, aka Shad, a troubled ace with multiple powers, who alternates personas between the vigilante ace Black Shadow, the personable deuce Wall Walker, the terrifying joker-ace Mr. Gravemold, the street thug No Dice, and others.
Gucci picked up the color palette from the Wild Cards Mutants and Masterminds game book illustration, giving Shad a New York Yankees cap since he’s another proud New Yorker and splitting his costume down the middle to symbolize Shad’s duality, Black Shadow in dark morally gray charcoal on right, Wall Walker in black, white, and blood-red plaid on the left, with a bag to hold his mask and other accoutrements to make the transformation into Mr. Gravemold.
Another of Victor Milan’s creations is Dorian Wilde, the celebrated poet of Jokertown, aka Jokers Wilde. Dorian looks completely normal, if a bit dissipated and bloated, except for a mass of twitching green tentacles that have replaced his right hand. He usually keeps them tucked into a pocket of his smoking jacket and is known to frequent the infamous floating nightclub Jokers Wild, another of Vic’s creations. Dorian was also part of the globe-hopping cast for Aces Abroad.
Gucci decided to depict Dorian Wilde in his younger years, not bloated but just on the road to dissipation, with a stylish sequined smoking jacket perfect for a night at Jokers Wild, the twitching green lines picking up the shape of his tentacles, the white the eye-itching fluorescent lights of the club, and the red the blood that’s often on stage. Points also to Gucci for realizing as we never did that long poet’s sleeves would be a perfect fashion metaphor for the poet laureate of Jokertown and would make an easy way for Dorian to hide his tentacles.
Also part of the UN Tour is Aces Abroad is Joann Jefferson, Lady Black, created by John Jos. Miller. A statuesque African American woman who’s an energy vampire and projector, Joann wears a quilted cloak to contain her power that’s lightless black on one side and reflective silver on the other. She’s part of SCARE, the Senate Committee on Ace Resources and Endeavors, entrusted to guard the dignitaries on the tour and was borrowed by Carrie Vaughn for a new story “Always Spring in Prague” for the expanded edition of Aces Abroad. Carrie has written two more adventures for Joann which will be appearing in the reissues of One-Eyed Jacks and Jokertown Shuffle and was tapped for the cover of the Jokertown Shuffle reissue. This is Lady Black’s depiction thus far.
Gucci’s designer paid attention to the description in the text, particularly that her cloak was quilted to insulate her power, it was reflective silver on one side, and also that Joann loves beautiful clothes. The result is stunning even without Lady Black unleashing her ace.
Also one of our fashion plates, on many Wild Cards covers, is Suzanne Melotti, also knowns as Bagabond, created by Leanne Harper. Bagabond is Doctor Doolittle as a bag lady, able to communicate with cats, pigeons, hawks, jaguars, or any animal and use them to do her bidding.
Gucci pulled on the 80s bag lady look here, showing off Bagabond’s random assortment of styles, one look with a knit cap to keep her warm, another with her hair worn loose, Bagabond’s affinity for animals shown with a tiger brooch and horse prints as part of the fabric of her jacket. Beautiful subtle work.
When Gucci asked us about other fashionable aces who’ve appeared in Wild Cards universe, we mentioned Apsara, a lovely Thai woman who’s the Fort Freak file clerk. Apsara is also haunted by her phi, the guardian spirit of her spirit house.
Here is the look Gucci imagined for Apsara.
This is how Gucci imagined the appearance of Apsara’s phi, come to curse her for some moral failing or wrongdoing.
Gucci also delved further into the books than we expected. Introduced in Suicide Kings, Simone Duplaix is a French-Canadian ace for the Committee codenamed Snowblind. Another creation of Walton Simons, Snowblind’s power allows her to broadcast blinding migraine whiteness into the minds of all those around her. Both of Gucci’s looks for her are stunning and unmistakable.
Among the other characters we shared with Gucci is The Magpie, aka Trudy Pirandello, an old lady with a very long career as an ace thief who’s finally apprehended by Slim Jim in Fort Freak, both characters creations of Kevin Andrew Murphy. Kevin revealed that The Magpie, while circumspect with her crimes, did have a few distinguishing traits. Trudy is fond of two-tone fashions, particularly black and white, like a magpie. She also favors masks or oversize face-obscuring sunglasses depending on what’s considered normal for the area, large capacious bags to hold her loot, and is a proud New Yorker with her flat in Gramercy Park. Trudy will be returning this year for an earlier appearance in the expanded reissue of One-Eyed Jacks for perhaps her greatest caper. Here a younger version of herself appears in three classic looks from Gucci. And yes, Kevin confirms, Trudy is indeed a Yankees fan.
Another unexpected fashion plate is The Whisperer, created by George R.R. Martin. The Whisperer is a very sick man, his body a hothouse of diseases for which there is no cure, and he’s usually resting in a blanket on the couch. When he goes out, he wears a face mask to keep from passing his diseases on, except when he is sent out as an assassin by the Shadow Fist Society who keep him supplied with drugs for his constant pain. But at least he can enjoy he ball game, hopefully from the privacy of his apartment, for he is also a Yankees fan.
One of the characters we hoped to see Gucci realize was Candace Sessou, codenamed The Darkness, one of the child soldiers of the People’s Paradise of Africa introduced in Suicide Kings and another creation of Victor Milan. Candace is a tragic figure, a brutalized young girl who might grow up to become a beautiful young woman haunted by the darkness of her past which is the theme Vic explores in “Evernight,” his final story for Tor.com with a beautiful illustration by John Picacio.
Gucci’s interpretation is more literal. Candace’s underskirt is in patterned pagne cloth, speaking to her happy childhood in the Congo before it was conquered by the People’s Paradise. Her black velvet dress depicts the obscuring darkness that can pour from her mouth. The diamonds are reference to the blood diamonds of Africa and her balaclava is gear for her work as an international terrorist and criminal which she’s trying to leave behind.
Also created by Victor Milan is the villainess Alicia N’Shombo, a wereleopard, whose power and ritual orgies allow her to create the Leopard Men, her lovers and the secret police for the People’s Paradise of Africa. An obese woman who becomes a fat leopard, in human form she prefers dainty feminine attire when she isn’t wearing a leopard-print catsuit for rituals.
Alicia N’Shombo’s depiction was rather deliberately unflattering, so Gucci opted to instead design the look for the Leopard Men, her secret police, especially once they flee for foreign nations after the fall of the People’s Paradise.
Another unlikely fashion plate is Vaporlock. Introduced in Lowball, Vaporlock is indeed another Yankees fan (established in text in David Anthony Durham’s “Those Who are About to Die” with a Yankees sticker on the bumper of Vaporlock’s van, a detail we hardly remembered). Vaporlock is also a minor villain, a joker-deuce whose skinny body oozes mentholated slime which he can use to knock people out if he shoves a handful up their nose.
We mentioned him to Gucci mostly because we’re familiar with fannish masquerades and Vaporlock would violate two of Rostler’s Rules, #3 the “no costume is no costume” nudity rule, and #8, nothing edible, smelly, or that falls off, the “no peanut butter and jelly rule.”
Gucci’s designers took this as a thrown gauntlet as well. Yes indeed, this is Vaporlock, nakedness, slime, and even a Yankees cap. Well done, Gucci. Well done.
We also mentioned, in addition to the Infamous Black Tongue, who’s a twenty foot coral snake from the waist down, that we also had Wyrm, John Jos. Miller’s snakelike muscle for the Shadow Fist Society, and La Vipère, an upcoming snaky character for Vic’s “Evernight.” Alessandro Michele asked if we had any snakelike joker assassins who could shed their skin, becoming nats again for a time. No, but we had to admit it was a cool idea.
In the planning for Follow the Queen, Gucci got introduced to a number of characters who have yet to appear in print. One of them, Glory, the floronic woman, created by Caroline Spector, is a friend to Caroline’s Seamstress whose origin story “Needles and Pins” is about the only tale to survive the reworking of Follow the Queen into Knaves Over Queens.
Gucci’s two looks for Glory are both glorious.
Knaves Over Queens also introduces The Green Man, created by Peter Newman, one of our new recruits. We won’t post more spoilers since the book will be out soon enough, but feast your eyes on Gucci’s interpretations of The Green Man’s looks for spring and summer.
Not yet announced, except on stage at World Con in Kansas City and at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe, the upcoming Texas Hold ‘em, third book of the America Triad, will introduce Skeeter Girl created by Diana Rowland. Skeeter Girl is a teen with the power to control mosquitos. Given her power, Skeeter Girl is the last person in the world who would need to wear mosquito netting but it does work as a visual metaphor for her ace and better than releasing a bunch of mosquitos in a fashion show.
Also in the works, from a not yet announced novel, here’s Gucci’s interpretation of Bastet, created by Caroline Spector. Bastet is one of Egypt’s Living Gods.
From a yet-to-be-announced project, here’s Moon Maid, created by Mary Anne Mohanraj.
Nothing but good things to say about Gucci’s look for Moon Maid, except for the fact that the character could have used an Indian or Sri Lankan model.
As with all things, there are also characters who do not make it to the page, for one reason or another, but they have here made it to the runway. These are considered non-canon, as with characters appearing in the games and comics, but as with those, there are often “canon immigrants” so you may expect that some of these characters may grace the pages of Wild Cards in the future.
A joker simply described as Four Eyes. Four Eyes? Well yes. The Wild Card means that not all the eyes have to be on your head.
A new Native American ace or joker-ace of Hopi ancestry, The Kachina.
Tricolor, ace hero of France, may get an apprentice, Mademoiselle Eiffel!
The Langwidere Twins can remove their heads and grow new ones. Gucci realized both their looks beautifully. (The Langwidere Twins are a tribute to Sturm und Drang, the villainous but fictional Hohenzollern Twins, from Howard Waldrop’s Jetboy! Comics.)
The eponymous Queen from Follow the Queen was going to be The Red Queen, taking her name from Through the Looking Glass. The less said about her and her ace the better, except to note that the fashion world has an awful lot of mirrors in it and her other operating name was Bloody Mary.
And when two mirrors reflect each other? Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary….
Following our planned Alice riff for Follow the Queen, another planned character was The Knave of Hearts. We won’t reveal his powers just yet, but will mention that he was going to be from Los Angeles, where the baseball team is the LA Stars, and also that we planned for knave to be the British term for what the Americans had been using the clumsier term joker-ace, for wild cards with ace powers and joker deformities.
Worth mentioning, going forward, that we’re planning to mirror the British knave with the American jack, again a term to take the place of joker-ace, English being a language that evolves. And here is Gucci’s concept for a character we were calling Jack of Diamonds.
Finally, to finish off the show and give you a preview of things to come, while we don’t know if Dr. Tachyon will ever come back from Takis—Melinda has not made up her mind—there has been talk about having Takis send some other psi lord in his place. To that end, let us present Gucci’s design for the Takisian Ambassador.
We can’t say how much we enjoyed Gucci’s take on the world of Wild Cards and we look forward to working with them more in the future.
If you would like to watch the full fashion show, check it out here.