One of the reasons I kept making sure to get the larger format of Maguire’s books once I’d gotten my hands on Wicked in that size wasn’t just that I like it when a book series looks roughly the same on a shelf.
It was the art. The art, which is all done in a woodcut style that would not at all seem out of place in an exhibit of newspaper woodcuts from just before photography took off, and which just would not fit in a small-format paperback.
And with the beginning of “I: Munchkinlanders”, the art of Wicked begins. It’s time to meet the Time Dragon and his Clock.
The Clock of the Time Dragon will come up repeatedly, and so will the Time Dragon’s role in the religious life of Oz. More about that soon, as we’re about to meet the missionaries (not his, although an argument could be made about the keepers of the Clock being clergy of a very odd sort).
The cover of “Munchkinlanders” is of the Clock with the Time Dragon perched on top of it and a crowd gathered beneath.
The Dragon is glaring – the effect made even better by the style – and pointing one claw at the reader.
The crowd isn’t much happier. All of the eyes are overshadowed. There’s a lot of judgmental frowning going on. One of the two smiles present is downright predatory.
In short, whoever the viewpoint character of the image is, that person is not going to be having a good night.
And it’s just before midnight according to the Clock.