Steven Paul’s SP Media Group has acquired the majority stake of the Atlas/Seaboard Comics library, and has signed a first-look deal with Paramount to “develop, finance, produce and distribute superhero and other films.” Akiva Goldsman (DC Universe’s ‘Titans’) and his Weed Road Pictures will create a writer’s room to adapt these characters. 10 stories will be developed, from which the premiere film project will be selected.
As Paul said:
“We don’t yet know what our flagship character will be. We aim to generate material that will attract top talent.”
Paramount’s COO, Andrew Gumpert said:
“Intellectual property of this kind is hard to come by in this day and age. We are excited to be working with Steven Paul and SP Media Group to bring the iconic Atlas comic book library to the big screen.”
This might be a little confusing, but during the 1950s, Atlas Comics was the name used by the publisher formerly known as Timely Comics, and later as Marvel Comics. This is NOT the Atlas Comics that SP Media Group has purchased the rights to. Technically, the books published by that Atlas are considered Marvel publications and many are in-continuity.
However, Marvel’s former publisher, Martin Goodman founded the second Atlas– more commonly called “Atlas/Seaboard Comics” to avoid confusion. (Not sure that worked.) Goodman also hired Larry Lieber, Stan Lee’s brother, as an editor.
If it helps (and it won’t), they can’t use the name “Atlas Comics” anyway, as that belongs to someone named Jeffrey Stevens, who once sued Martin Goodman’s grandson Jason, after he attempted to revive the comics brand. It’s Jason Goodman that sold the majority share of the characters and their IPs to SP Media Group, but he retains a small stake.
Atlas/Seaboard Comics launched in 1974 and was out-of-business by 1975, yet in that time, they cranked out a variety of comics of different varieties– superheroes, barbarians, police, horror, martial arts, science fiction and more. Most titles only lasted one issue, and none lasted for more than four.
Perhaps their most successful property was the superhero The Destructor whose comic featured art by Steve Ditko and Wally Wood. Variety listed some of their more popular properties as “Wulf, Iron Jaw, Son of Dracula, Brute, Texas Kid and Dopey Duck.” If you say so.
Paul expects the first film to begin production in 2020 to be released in theaters (Pssh! Yeah right!) in 2021. The plan is to release a new theatrical film a year. Budgets begin at $60 million, but reportedly “could reach superhero level,” meaning if they are successful, they’ll get more money for later films.
Personally, I think the superhero film genre is getting a little too crowded, but every studio wants their own Marvel Cinematic Universe, so they’ll snap up whatever they can get the rights to, in hopes of replicating that.
Are you familiar with Atlas/Seaboard Comics? Are you excited about a new superhero film universe?