Artist Kelly McMahon and writer Mat Groom are joining forces to commit a murder. McMahon has designed a new deck of playing cards featuring artwork inspired by the deco style and fashion of the 1920s – and featuring the central characters in a new murder mystery game by McMahon and Groom. Bad Blood can be played using the cards, and follows a journalist digging into the murder of a successful thief. A Kickstarter campaign to fund production of the game will launch later this year, and will also include an exclusive eight-page ashcan comic that fleshes out the world of the game. The comic will be written by Groom and illustrated by Nicoletta Baldari.

Here’s how the announcement describes Bad Blood:

BAD BLOOD invites players to fill the well-polished shoes of journalist Joseph Field and uncover the mystery behind Dee Dumas’ murder. His journal is the key to solving this crime, read through his findings and decipher the clues across the deck of cards and you might just find yourself unraveling the threads of a diabolical conspiracy. Or grab a drink and try your hand at a game of poker as the body count grows, it’s your call… 

The prints

Each character card brings to life a different faction of the one-time solve murder mystery that can be played alongside any traditional card game. In the BAD BLOOD game, it is no secret that Dee Dumas was an extremely talented thief, guilty as sin with a wicked smile, yet nobody was ever able to ever actually pin anything on her. She was on a track to develop a global reputation, to go down in the books as one of the great criminals of all time… until she was found dead at the docks. A single gunshot, to the head. 

The ashcan comic will reveal backstory about the relationship between reporter Joseph Field and murder victim Dee Dumas, as well as reveal new information about the world of the game. Other reward tiers for the Kickstarter include a 2″ enamel pin (limited to 200), a set of prints featuring all four Queens from the deck, and a 40+-page art book featuring a prose story by Groom and behind-the-scenes illustrations by McMahon.

The artbook

In a statement announcing the Kickstarter, McMahon described her inspiration for the card game:

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve been enthralled by the mystery genre, be it film, television, literature or a good old fashion internet stalk, I love to be the detective!” said BAD BLOOD creator and designer Kelly McMahon, a graphic designer and illustrator based in Los Angeles by way of Melbourne, Australia. “The romanticized glamor of the 1920s masquerades for the realities of the era. A ritzy elegant design, lavish lifestyles and devious underground happenings. There is a similar romance in moving your life to the otherside of the world, the dream sparkles but the reality is much less polished. All of this led to BAD BLOOD, my idea for a card game and murder mystery experience that harkens back to my love of the 1920s and my love for a good whodunnit. 

McMahon and Groom also told The Beat a bit more about their experiences working on the project. “The best projects are those that allow you to explore creativity in different mediums and concepts,” McMahon said. “The opportunity to bring Bad Blood to life with such an incredible team has me feeling as through I already have the winning hand.”

The enamel pin

“Kelly’s got a wonderful way of distilling designs to their core essence, and representing that in a profoundly elegant way,” added Groom. “This pin is an exemplary example of that– it’s iconic, and it’s stylish, and it’s gorgeous. I’m so glad we were able to get Kelly’s take on Erica’s superheroic design, in a form anyone can take with them everywhere!”

Check out the cover art for the ashcan comic, as well as mockups of the face cards and a few of the numeral cards from each suit from the Bad Blood deck, below. The prelaunch page for the Kickstarter campaign to bring the game and comic to life is live now.