The name may be unknown to newer 21st Century comic fans, but 40 years ago, Atlas Comics was an industry player set on knocking Marvel Comics off its perch as comics best-selling company. While Atlas didn't last long past its 1974 debut, it's primed to return to comic shelves starting at this year's New York Comic Con.
As announced via press release, Jason Goodman (grandson of Atlas and Marvel founder Martin Goodman) has teamed with Rich Emms and Brendan Deneen of Ardden Entertainment to relaunch the properties owned by Atlas starting with zero issues for the "Phoenix" and "The Grim Ghost" superhero series.
“We have 28 titles and hundreds of characters imagined by some of the greatest minds in the industry," Goodman said in the release. "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."
Atlas Comics (not to be confused with the short 1950s period of Marvel history that used the same name) lasted less than one year in publishing terms after departing Marvel publisher Martin Goodman started the company as competition for his former business. However, Atlas did leave a legacy as an early pioneer of better pay and rights for its creators including returning original art to its stable of artists – a practice not common at the time.
Amongst the Atlas creators were then and soon-to-be name talents like Steve Ditko, Larry Hama, Howard Chaykin and Wally Wood. The relaunch of "Phoenix" and "The Grim Ghost" will be spearheaded by Ardden Editor-in-Chief J.M. DeMatteis, although the full creative teams of the launch titles have yet to be announced. [UPDATE: DeMatteis has clarified his role in the creation of the two series on his own website.]
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