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The Week In Comics: Palicki Is Prince, Spidey Gets Nubbly, Comics Are Doomed

In this publicity image released by Sony Pictures, Andrew Garfield portrays Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man.

In this publicity image released by Sony Pictures, Andrew Garfield portrays Spider-Man in The Amazing Spider-Man. Associated Press/Sony Pictures hide caption

itoggle caption Associated Press/Sony Pictures

As The Washington Post's Michael Cavna (and many others) noted yesterday, the golden tiara has officially passed to Adrianne Palicki, who'll assume the role of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in an upcoming TV pilot for NBC.

It's a David E. Kelley project, a fact that caused those familiar with the man's quirk-riddled oeuvre to make jokes about Ally McBeal in star-spangled panties. Meanwhile, comic book nerds like me (very like me) (okay: me) made jokes about dancing clay babies that were greeted with blank stares, as is only meet.1

It seemed a little ... reflexively unkind. Autonomically snarky. But then the pilot's shooting script started making its way around the internet. Others have weighed in already — fans of television, and fans of the character — and I'm not sure how much can be reasonably taken away from the exercise, at this early stage. One thing is clear, though: Of all the David E. Kelley joints, this thing's shaping up to be the David E. Kelleyest.

But Palicki's performance is a big reason I'm still catching up on Friday Night Lights, so: We're putting this development in the plus column.

It's pretty lonely, over there.

Law and Order: Special Artists Unit

On Tuesday, Heidi MacDonald's comic news site The Beat highlighted (highlit?) a weirdly charming corner of the internet, in which artist Brandon Bird asked artists to choose and interpret Direct TV's one-line summaries of Law & Order episodes. The pieces were created for an exhibition called "These are Their Stories," which ran in LA last summer. There are lots; they are fun. Go, look.

The Comic Book is Doomed, Again, Still, Some More

Let's stipulate that nobody knows how the advent of digital comics will change the direct market (read: comics shops), or the comics publishing industry, or the reading habits of comics fans. Yet discussion of the change that is coming to book publishing — and the peculiar niche that comics occupy — continues, and has just gotten a bit louder, given this week's bankruptcy of a major book chain that brought comics (especially manga) back out of the comics shops and into the mainstream marketplace.

Last week — over on The Beat again — the awesomely-named writer Torsten Adair weighed in with two thoughtful pieces that advanced the discussion. In the first, he warns that digital distribution is not the panacea the comics industry is aching for; in the second, he examines what comics shops can do about it.

Many took issue with Adair's points, and the comments sections of both posts consist of extended, civil and ultimately heartening arguments enjoined by comics creators, retailers and publishers over just what the future brings. (The level of discourse is yet another reason The Beat should be in your RSS feed, if you care at all about comics.)

Inside baseball? Sure. But it's not about box scores and the infield-fly rule, it's about whether baseball itself will be around, in any recognizable form, five or ten years from now.

On This Issue You Don't Care About, We Stand Strong

Yesterday, on the Robot 6 blog of Comic Book Resources, Archie Comics announced that beginning in April, it would start releasing digital versions of comics on the same day those comics appear in stores, via the digital reader Graphic.ly. (They'll do the same thing via an Archie app and, in July, via the in-store service mentioned in Adair's posts over at The Beat.)

Many in the comics industry use the term "day-and-date" to describe the simultaneous appearance of digital and physical versions of a comic: "Archie Goes Day and Date with Graphic.Ly," for example. Comics writer Matt Fraction, on Twitter and elsewhere, has noted that the phrase ... rather sucks: It doesn't convey much information, and doesn't make all that much sense on its own.

His suggestion: "Same-day digital."

Let it be known that, here at Monkey See, we stand with Fraction. Because "day and date" is hella dumb.

The Amazing Spider-Man: Ol' Nub-Head

On Monday, Columbia Pictures released the title of their upcoming Spidey film reboot (The Amazing Spider-Man) along with first image of Andrew Garfield in full costume.

I'll have a bit more to say on this movie in this Friday's episode of Pop Culture Happy Hour, but for now, let's just note the costume's ... unusual texture.

A texture which caused Sound of Young America host Jesse Thorn to opine on Twitter: "We all agree that the new Spider-Man looks like he's made of ABA basketballs, correct?"

Dismemberment Plan: Bewitched, Bothered and Behanded

As we've noted in this space, Aquaman's been through a lot: Death of a son, end of a marriage, loss of a hand, death, an unfortunate sartorial dalliance with a seashell headband (which I'm not gonna link to, but TRUST ME.)

But DC brought him back to life last year, and things were looking up for him: His wife came back! And his hand! And the headband went the way of ... well, headbands, I suppose.

But as the weekly series (with the cruelly ironic name of Brightest Day), we quickly learned that Aquaman ... came back wrong. Now he can only summon zombie fish.

Go back and read that last sentence again. It may help to read it out loud to yourself, to get the full impact.

And two weeks ago, in what can only be called the unkindest cut of all, a villain done chopped his hand off. Again.

Dude can't catch a break. It's like his superpower.

And so I stand with my fellow Aquaman fans as, fearful but determined, jaws clenched, eyes welling with too-familiar tears, we await the inevitable return of the headband.

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1 In the comics, Wonder Woman was born when the Queen of the Amazons shaped the clay of Paradise Island into the form of a baby, which the gods then imbued with life. So.

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