Atlas is back, debuts at NYCC

atlas Atlas is back, debuts at NYCC
Can an old-fashioned comic book company that lasted about a year in the newsstand era find happiness in the modern world of licensing and Hollywood exploitation? That’s what Stan Lee’s cousin (by marriage) is counting on, with the relaunch of Atlas Comics.

Atlas/Seaboard, was founded by Martin Goodman, founder of the original Marvel/Atlas/Timely. After selling Marvel to the distributor Cadence, Goodman got back into the publishing game in 1974 with Atlas Comics, a short-lived but innovative outfit that offered art returns, profit sharing, and other ahead-of-their-times perks. However, it didn’t last long — by 1975, it was dead.

Atlas has long been a kind of a punchline in old timer comics circles, as the one ’70 comics company whose characters have not been resurrected, relaunched, or acquired.

Until now.

Jason Goodman, Martin’s grandson, tells Deadline he’s bringing Atlas back to the party, starting with issues of THE GRIM GHOST and PHOENIX, which will debut at next month’s New York Comic-Con. Goodman has one advantage over start-up comics companies: a library!

“Although my grandfather eventually sold Marvel, he insisted on keeping Atlas Comics in the family,” Jason said. “As a result of his vision, Atlas Comics is the largest individually-held library of comic book heroes and villains on the planet. We have 28 titles and hundreds of characters imagined by some of the greatest minds in the industry.”


The new Atlas is teaming with Ardden Entertainment, which has of late been resurrecting FLASH GORDON. Brendan Deneen, who has worked in both the Hollywood agenting and New York publishing fields, will oversee while J.M. DeMatteis has been hired as editor-in-chief.

PR below:

In 1974, Martin Goodman, the Founder of Marvel Comics, created Atlas Comics. On October 8th, 2010, Jason Goodman, the grandson of Marvel’s Founder, will re-launch Atlas Comics at the New York Comic-Con.

Goodman, in association with Ardden Entertainment, will release Atlas’ first two titles, THE GRIM GHOST and PHOENIX. Both series will draw from the original Atlas library that featured stories and art by such industry legends as Neal Adams and Spider-Man co-creator Steve Ditko.

THE GRIM GHOST and PHOENIX are the first of many Atlas properties that Goodman plans on releasing. “Although my grandfather eventually sold Marvel, he insisted on keeping Atlas Comics in the family. As a result of his vision, Atlas Comics is the largest individually-held library of comic book heroes and villains on the planet.”

Goodman continues, “We have twenty eight titles and hundreds of characters imagined by some of the greatest minds in the industry. They will now find a new life in comics, television, and movies. We are thrilled to finally bring these great characters back for the world to enjoy.”


Co-President of Ardden Entertainment and comic book industry veteran, Rich Emms, and Brendan Deneen, Co-President of Ardden Entertainment and a former development executive for Scott Rudin and Bob & Harvey Weinstein, add, “Ardden has had success and critical acclaim for our own Flash Gordon and Casper the Friendly Ghost re-launches. We are very excited to be working with Jason and his Atlas team on revisiting a group of characters created by some of the biggest names in the business.”


Ardden’s Editor-in-Chief and legendary comic writer, J.M. DeMatteis, concludes, “”The Atlas universe is filled with characters of tremendous potential. I look forward to being a part of this re-launch as we re-imagine these wonderful characters and send them off on new adventures for the first time in thirty-five years.”
For more information, contact Jason Goodman at Jason@NemesisLtd.com or Brendan Deneen at Brendan.Deneen@GMail.com

Comments

  1. Very interesting.

    Given the egalitarian origins, will the original creators receive a “created by” byline and/or remuneration for their characters?

  2. R. Maheras says:

    In today’s entertainment environment, one would think “Planet of the Vampires” would have been one of the Atlas/Seaboard revivalists’ first options.

  3. 28 separate titels in one year? No wonder it was dead in one year!

    Good luck though!

  4. MaxPower says:

    @ R. Maheras

    I loved “Planet Of Vampires” and re-read it many times.
    I have thought for many years, if any concept needed an ongoing comic series, HBO TV show, or movie series, it was POV.
    I always wanted to see more of POV.

    http://www.atlasarchives.com/comics/planetofvampires.html

  5. @maxpower – Agreed. I loved that POV series concept. Thought the execution could have been better, but overall I had a lot of fun with it.

    And let’s be honest – The Grim Ghost is Spawn. Period.

    Atlas – IMO – was a company that had a lot of great concepts but were just shy of the mark when it came to the full realization of those ideas.

    I’m looking forward to seeing what the new series bring to the table.

  6. This is very cool, as is the origin of Atlas, which was basically created by Goodman senior out of spite against Marvel when a power struggle ended up with Stan on top and Goodwin jr out as editorial director of the comics line.

    One funny jab at Marvel was a house ad that showed a bunch of Atlas characters and at the top of the page the declaration “Atlas Comics The NEW House Of Ideas”.

    I always liked the Atlas stuff if only for the art. There was some pretty amazing talent working there. I was particularly fond of the Larry Hama, Pablos Marcos and Ernie Colan stuff.

    It would be interesting to see if they bring back Chaykins Dominic Fortune prototype “Scorpion”.

    They did have the raw materials for some interesting characters though. I just hope it’s better than the craptacular Moonstone Publishing and their god awful attempts at reviving dormant characters.

    The fact that DeMatteis is on board for this makes it all the more promising.

  7. As I commented elsewhere, the ugly mid-90s Image house style art on those pinups is not making me excited to see these comics, but the fact that J.M. DeMatteis is in charge of publishing gives me hope that they could be good.

    But that art. Man oh man.

  8. Those logos aren’t so hot either.

  9. Randall Kirby says:

    DC has a character named the Grim Ghost (formerly the Gay Ghost)

  10. Atlas editor Jeff Rovin wrote a wonderful article quite a while back which gives his account of all the problems with Atlas from practically day one, aptly titled “how not to run a comic book company”. It makes fascinating reading: http://www.atlasarchives.com/articles/cj114.html

    I love the first issue or two of many of their titles, including Chaykin’s Scorpion and the Grim Ghost. They had an energy of “wow, we can do anything”. Of course, thanks to Goodman, that didn’t last long.

  11. It wasn’t Goodman’s fault. You can’t sell what isn’t getting retail shelf space.

  12. jacob lyon goddard says:

    i have no idea what the interiors look like, but those covers would have looked dated if they came out 15 years ago.
    is this a re-hash of ideas that failed in 1975 or ideas that failed in 1995?

  13. Michael Churchill says:

    I loved those 70’s Atlas books so much that I actually talked to Jason Goodman about buying the rights to the characters around five years ago.

    We never came to an actual amount, but he said it’d be in the six figures given the increasing popularity of super-hero movies.

    So, I’m incredibly curious to see how this pans out. The preview art, sadly, doesn’t fill me with hope.

  14. I often wonder if Goodman had hunkered down and stuck with Atlas, if he and son Chip had stayed out of Rovins way, what the impact might have been on the industry.

    Consider that when Atlas was running, Giordano was at Continuity and not far off from returning to DC. Considering that Goodman was paying an almost unheard of page rate, returning original art, offering medical, profit sharing and a retirment plan, it’s possible that Giordano might have went to Atlas instead of DC.

    If that had happened, perhaps Giordano would have had Rovin/Goodman purchase the Charlton “Action Heroes” line instead of DC. Watchmen might have been written at Atlas instead of DC and might have had the Charlton characters instead of the Watchmen composites.

    Also consider, Kirby was returning to Marvel around that same time. If Atlas had stuck with it, perhaps Kirby would have went there instead of returning to Marvel with his tail between his legs. True he had no love for Goodman but he didn’t have much for Stan at that point either. Goodman would have definitely jumped at getting Kirby just to stick it to Marvel.

    If this had happened, this might mean that Kirby wouldn’t have created The Eternals or The Celestials for Marvel. He may or may not have created them for Atlas, who knows?

    If Goodman had thought in terms of being one third of a “Big Three” instead of trying to knock Marvel down a peg, Atlas might have been “Image” almost 2 decades before Image.

    Atlas certainly had more to get off the ground with than either Dark Horse or Image had when they first started. The appeal of getting ones art returned would have definitely appealed to artists, especially during the late 70s when they were really getting hot about the bullshit at Marvel and DC. Imagine a mass exodus of young 70s up and comers from DC and Marvel to Atlas.

    With some patience and a little less ego, and without Chip there to screw things up for Rovin, who knows what could have been. It’s an interesting “What If”.

    Also, I hope this means that we might see some tpb collections or an omnibus collection of some of those old Atlas titles.

    And there’s a great article on Atlas/Seaboard in Comic Book Artist #16.

  15. Call me crazy if you will, but I like that Grim Ghost cover.

  16. >> Consider that when Atlas was running, Giordano was at Continuity and not far off from returning to DC.>>

    Not that far off? Atlas launched in ’74, folded in ’75. Dick returned to DC in ’80.

    >> If that had happened, perhaps Giordano would have had Rovin/Goodman purchase the Charlton “Action Heroes” line instead of DC.>>

    That happened in 1983.

    >> Watchmen might have been written at Atlas instead of DC and might have had the Charlton characters instead of the Watchmen composites.>>

    You’re assuming that Alan Moore would have gone to whatever company the Charlton characters were at, rather than pitch some different project to his editor Len Wein at DC.

    >> Also consider, Kirby was returning to Marvel around that same time.>>

    Kirby returned to Marvel in 1975, which is at least close to the right time period. Getting Kirby and Ditko at a time when you want to challenge Marvel would be quite a coup. And some of the stuff Kirby had in his files at the time — beyond ETERNALS And DEVIL DINOSAUR — could have been quite something.

    But I don’t think Atlas would have lasted longer by giving Rovin more of a free hand; they needed someone who could attract a larger talent pool on a more consistent basis. Had Goodman succeeded in hiring Roy Thomas to run the line (and then given him a free hand), it might have been an interesting time. Or Archie Goodwin, or Joe Orlando.

    Still, the “leave ‘em alone and let ‘em build a consistent line” thing just wouldn’t have been in the cards for any of them, I fear.

    kdb

  17. re: “Not that far off? Atlas launched in ‘74, folded in ‘75. Dick returned to DC in ‘80.”

    Right, that’s why I said “if Goodman had hunkered down and kept it going”. That should imply keeping it going longer than one year. Sigh.

    Also, Giordano was already doing cover work for Atlas, so if they had stuck it out till 80 or so, it’s no stretch to think he would have gone with them. And if he had stayed, then it’s also no stretch to surmise that he would have gotten the Charlton line for Atlas. Get it?

    “they needed someone who could attract a larger talent pool”

    Right. Pablos Marcos, Russ Heath, Ernie Colan, Larry Hama, Jim Craig, Sal Amendola, Chaykin, Ditko, Walt Simonson, Bernie Wrightson, Terry Austin. HELLO! Plus Neal Adams, Giordano and Frank Thorne doing covers for them. Yeah, no talent pool there to draw em in. Seems like Rovin was doing pretty good to me. It would have been nice to have Thomas or Goodwin, but clearly Rovin was doing just fine.

    As I said, without the interference from Chip and Martin, it would be easy to surmise that the talent would have been pretty “consistant”.

    If Goodman was offering the perks he was offering and mangaged to keep Atlas solvent for another 5 or six years, the talent would have been flocking to that place. But yeah, those bronze age guys would have definitely turned up their noses at medical, retirement, profit sharing and returned art. Yeah, don’t think so.

    re: “You’re assuming that Alan Moore would have gone to whatever company the Charlton characters were at, rather than pitch some different project to his editor Len Wein at DC.”

    Yes I am. And I’m also assuming that Moore just might have picked a company that was offereing a hell of a lot more to it’s talent than either DC or Marvel was at the time. Knowing what we do about Moore, I don’t think that’s much of a stretch either.

  18. The exterior in the jacket will even be a variety of, some are developed from leather although other developed of polyamide and genuine down products.

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