Comic and Tarot icon Rachel Pollack dies

Coagula in Doom Patrol
(Image credit: DC)

Writer and Tarot expert Rachel Pollack has died at the age of 77, according to a public Facebook post from her wife Judith Zoe Mateen. She was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in July 2022, and moved into home hospice care in March.

Pollack was well known for her work in comics on titles such as Doom Patrol and The New Gods, as well as for her work as an expert in the art of divination through the use of Tarot cards. The first openly trans writer in mainstream comics, Pollack also created the first openly trans mainstream superhero, Coagula, during her Doom Patrol run.

Pollack got her start in mainstream comics in the early '90s, taking over Doom Patrol from writer Grant Morrison. Pollack was announced as the title's next writer through an appropriately meta gimmick of seemingly getting the job by writing into the comic's monthly letter column, eventually succeeded Morrison with 1993's Doom Patrol #64. 

Pollack continued writing Doom Patrol for two years, until the title ended with 1995's Doom Patrol #87. In that time, she wrote openly about life as a transgender woman, even creating the aforementioned Coagula, a transgender lesbian with the power to dissolve objects with one hand, and create them with the other.

That power, aligned with the magical art of alchemy, hinted at Pollack's expertise in Tarot. Along with often serving as a consultant on the topic for writer Neil Gaiman, Pollack also taught Tarot for nearly 40 years. 

She also wrote several fantasy novels, including the 1989 Arthur C. Clarke Award winning Unquenchable Fire, the 1997 World Fantasy Award winning Godmother Night, and the 1995 Nebula Award nominated Temporary Agency.

"I know that Rachel will continue to be a Light in this world and in the next," reads Mateen's statement in part. "She will continue to inspire so many of our beloved Tarot community, the Science Fiction and Fantasy community, the Comics community, and the Transgender community for whom she shared so much respect and care.

"We have felt and cherished your love and prayers over the past months and years as Rachel experienced so many health challenges. We are One."

George Marston

I've been Newsarama's resident Marvel Comics expert and general comic book historian since 2011. I've also been the on-site reporter at most major comic conventions such as Comic-Con International: San Diego, New York Comic Con, and C2E2. Outside of comic journalism, I am the artist of many weird pictures, and the guitarist of many heavy riffs. (They/Them)