Cover Girl: The Magicians: Alice’s Story

A nude young woman surrounded by dark, scary trees and cogs that cover her nipples, shapes a ball of magic in her hands

Welcome to Cover Girl. Each month, we gather a team of WWAC contributors to analyze a new and notable comic book cover featuring one or more women. This month, Nola, Annie, and Louis discuss Steve Morris’ cover for The Magicians: Alice’s Story from BOOM! Studios.

A nude young woman surrounded by dark, scary trees and cogs that cover her nipples, shapes a ball of magic in her hands

What is your initial reaction to this as a piece of comics art?

Louis Skye: I like the shades of darkness and that burst of yellow in the centre. It immediately caught my eye. And the broken clock with the gears flying out—very steampunk. But the effect is kind of ruined for me by the fact that the woman, presumably Alice Quinn, is naked. I double-checked to make sure I hadn’t seen incorrectly, but nope, if it’s a woman on a cover, apparently she’s got to be nude. *Sigh* I love the light and shadow on her though. But that strategically placed gear over her nipple is a bit much. I giggled at that. Also, isn’t Alice Quinn blonde? Or is the cover someone else? I am confused.

Annie Blitzen: I, too, enjoy doing naked magic to a clock that’s also a tree. It’s one of my favorite ways to spend a Saturday night.


What do you think the artist is trying to achieve?

Louis: A sense of mystery and darkness, I guess? This isn’t the happy magic of fairy tales and children’s books; this is grown-up magic, which is dark and horrible. In the words of Deadpool, “So dark, are you sure you’re not from the DC universe?” I understand this book is based on The Magicians series, but I’m not getting that vibe at all. The show can get dark, but the magical elements tend towards the bright and joyful. This doesn’t look like that.

Annie: Oh. This is that The Magicians? From TV? It’s definitely not a visual sensibility that connects me to that show. Maybe it’s more to do with the books? I’ve just looked up the covers, and two thirds of them have a dark background, two thirds have a tree, and two thirds of them have a magician posing dramatically. So, yeah, I’m going to say the artist was trying to create a link between this cover and the books, which is somewhat questionable given the show has been far more successful.

Nola: I dunno, I’m fine with it. Like, sure, she’s naked, okay, but it’s not like she’s cheese-caking it up here. She’s clearly in the act of spellcasting, the lighting is eerie, she’s not vamping at the camera for sexiness purposes. I don’t care about the TV show, and I actively hated the book it’s based on, so eh. It’s a spooky magic cover, which appeals to my goth girl heart. Everyone knows all the best spells are cast naked in the woods at night.

Do you think she’s warm enough? Why or why not?

Louis: She’s so cold, I’m feeling cold looking at her. I don’t care about that little fireball she’s creating; it’s not throwing off any heat, only light. She’s going to be frozen by the time I read the first page.

Annie: Ripping a tree and a clock in half is a lot of work. If she’s paced herself and stretched before beginning this working, she’s probably sweating from the exertion and plenty warm. But she looks bone dry, so no, probably she’s a bit chill. There are plenty of perfectly good reasons to do magic naked, ranging from ritual significance to “it’s just more fun that way,” but I can’t see any significance to it here, and if that is Alice, I don’t think she’s one to enjoy naked time much. She doesn’t seem to be enjoying herself, at any rate.

Nola: I feel like if a mage is displaying that much power, basic temperature regulation is probably not a major concern of hers.

The Magician’s: Alice’s Story, based on the book by Lev Grossman, will be available in July 2019 from BOOM! Studios.

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Nola Pfau

Nola Pfau

Nola is a bad influence. She can be found on twitter at @nolapfau, where she's usually making bad (really, absolutely terrible) jokes and occasionally sharing adorable pictures of her dog.