It's been a few weeks and things have been relatively quiet on the Magic front, in regards to major controversial topics. I don't believe there have been any updates about Zach Jesse, the petitions to reinstate his DCI membership, or announcements from Wizards of the Coast (WotC) highlighting any changes in company policies in relation to his banning. It's unlikely it will ever happen, but one can remain hopeful. However, you know what they say about putting Hope in one hand and Shit in the other...

There was some debate over a specific Magic card's altered artwork I've enjoyed reading about via a Facebook group. Not really news, but I found it to be entertaining.

Do You See What I See?

 It was almost too easy...

It was almost too easy...

I guess I find it hard to believe that you don't. But just in case you happen to be the one of the few remaining innocent individuals completely detached from the industry, Brazzers is a porn production company. This meme features the art of the new Friday Night Magic (FNM) Serum Visions promo with the porn company's logo pasted on. Simple as that. If you don't understand why someone would find that humorous, well, I'm going to just leave it up to you to figure that one out...

I can't help but find it hilarious. Maybe I'm just a skeevy perv, I dunno. Either way, I wonder if the original artist never saw what eventually the masses within the Magic community would, especially once this meme went viral. If they hadn't before, they surely do now. I doubt they will make that unintentional mistake again. Keep those eyes open!

Earlier this week, a member within the MTG Altered Cards and Artwork Community group on Facebook altered an actual Serum Visions card, mimicking the meme. In just under 24 hours it had received over 500 Likes on Facebook. Right now it's over 700.

A few debates arose over the course of that 24 hour period. Nothing major, mind you, but more or less food for thought.

Is She Legal?

 Would it be voted out of the tournament?

Would it be voted out of the tournament?

One was whether or not the altered card would be allowed in tournament play. This seemed to be a toss up, but most involved in the discussion believed it would be accepted. This was on the basis, however, that a 13 year old (an arbitrary age chosen representing the most common age of Magic players?) wouldn't know what the logo represented. People believed that lack of knowledge would thereby avoid anyone becoming offended by the alter. Others argued that even if an opponent of that age was clueless about where the logo originated from that others may. All it would take is one event participant to be offended and you'd likely receive a game loss, unless you had an additional copy to replace it.

Despite some of the adamant claims of knowing judges personally and that they knew without a doubt the card would be tournament legal, I tend to agree with those saying that any and all altered cards have to be approved by the Head Judge of an event. This means that the tolerance of such alters will vary wildly from one to another. Therefore, there are no guarantees it would be playable.

I believe the creator of the alter mentioned the main focus for the card, besides being a joke among friends, was casual play. That makes a lot of sense, in my opinion. I'd be very curious, though, to hear the outcomes of attempting to play with such an alter in sanctioned events. I'm sure many have tried to slip in some NSFW altered artwork that was a lot more graphic than this.

Eye of the Beholder

The second debate was over whether or not the piece even qualified as art. Or possibly the lamenting of how a card, which had such unoriginal inspiration and little time spent on altering it, would receive so many Facebook Likes. Apparently 500+ Likes is a big deal and a rare occurrence within the Magic altered artwork community. Admittedly, I have seen between 1-200 at most for some pretty impressive projects. I try to "Like" and support most any of the alters I see, as I'd imagine many of them take a long time to perfect. But that doesn't mean the simple ones don't deserve some love as well.

 Is that depicting someone painting with REAL blood?! GROSS!

Is that depicting someone painting with REAL blood?! GROSS!

And this is where people chime in about the crime of something so simplistic overshadowing the beautiful, time-consuming alter work of others. While I understand the importance of Likes/Shares on social media — all those funky algorithms — because it optimizes exposure, it's deserving of any and all. It's great you've created, posted, and/or shared something that many others enjoy and can experience, whether offensive of not. You or I may not understand the "why", but that's irrelevant.

The truth of the matter is that everyone is going to have their own opinion about what they like or dislike. What they find offensive or acceptable. You'll never be able to please everyone. That cliché phrase "Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder" is true. You likely come across it on a daily basis. Also, I don't believe that an abundance of attention on one piece of art completely detracts or sullies another. They can both be appreciated equally.

Some may find it a shame that this card's altered artwork is being so engaged, believing it to be tasteless and unworthy, but it's obviously not based on the level of skill involved. Even the artist himself, who has done more intensive pieces, recognizes that. The biggest factor will be that the subject matter is so universal.

Odds are that if you ask people what they like among the following subjects: arts and crafts, football, reality TV, video games, Game of Thrones, Star Wars, Star Trek, anime, and porn, you'll have some overlapping, but the most universal will likely be porn. Sure, there are people out there that despise porn and  claim to have nothing to do with it, but I have to believe they are the minority.

So while there may be some great pieces of altered Magic: The Gathering cards, featuring a handful of the subjects listed above (or even those consisting of completely original ideas), some are more universal than others. This one also happens to have the backing of the popular, and most agree funny, meme it was based off of.

There's still plenty of love to spread around for the more complex projects. I'm amazed at the level of detail some of these artist are capable of producing in their work and I would highly recommend checking them out! Simple or complex, though, like it or not, art is art.

And if you find yourself asking "What is it?":

Do you think the altered Magic card in question would be more likely to be accepted or denied during sanctioned events? Do you feel that the fact it is garnishing so much attention is a slap in the face to more "serious" artists in the same field? Do you have a favorite alter artist or specific altered Magic: The Gathering card? Have you ever really liked a piece of art that others have despised?