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Dynamite is Disputing the Atlas Comics Purchase, Sort Of

Dynamite Entertainment Atlas Comics

We’ve been researching this one since the announcement was made. but Dynamite Entertainment is disputing the relaunch of Atlas Comics. Well, at least the use of the name “Atlas Comics.”

Last week, Steven Paul revealed he had purchased a majority stake in Atlas Comics, the 1970s comic publisher, with plans to launch movie franchises. In our research for that announcement, we noticed there was a dispute over the trademark of Atlas Comics. Dynamite Entertainment claims that it owns the trademark.

Atlas Comics launched in 1974 as an imprint of Seaboard Publishing. Martin Goodman founded it after a dispute with Marvel Comics, which he founded. Jason Goodman, Martin Goodman’s grandson, is in control of Atlas Comics and its character through Nemesis Group. Paul purchased a stake to the character library from Nemesis Group.

Dynamite Entertainment is claiming they own the name “Atlas Comics” but do not own the characters.

In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Dynamite said:

We have no clue why Martin Goodman, or anyone associated with him, feels that they can use the ‘Atlas Comics’ brand name. Any trademark rights the original Goodman’s Seaboard Publishing group may have owned in the ‘Atlas Comics’ name was abandoned decades ago. Because of that abandonment, the trademark ATLAS COMICS was adopted in 2002 by Jeffrey Stevens, who then registered the trademark in 2005, and Dynamite now owns all rights in the ATLAS COMICS trademark, having purchased it from Mr. Stevens in 2014. We have been actively using the mark ever since.

Jason Goodman attempted to relaunch Atlas Comics in 2010. He found out that Jeffrey Stevens had registered the trademark for comic books in 2005. That led to a lawsuit being filed by Nemesis against Stevens. Their argument was that Stevens hadn’t used the trademark. In March 2012 the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board allowed the case to proceed. In the end, the board ruled against Goodman in August 2014. Stevens’ trademark was then assigned to Dynamite Characters LLC, aka Dynamite Entertainment. In February 2016 Nemesis Group filed a new Atlas Comics logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Dynamite claims they have used the “Atlas Comics” branding. They use it to denote “limited-edition signed copies of high-profile titles.” Those copies feature a visible cover banner. You can see examples of that above.

It is possible that the Atlas Comics announcement was just about the characters and intellectual property. Atlas Comics as a publisher is dead and the name was just used for the announcement with no intention on further use. That still remains unclear and this is a story we’ll continue to follow.

Atlas Comics Returns! Ghost Rider Producer Steven Paul Acquires a Majority Interest in Atlas Comics Library

Atlas Comics

At Cannes, Ghost Rider producer Steven Paul announced he has acquired a majority interest in the Atlas Comics library. He’s also signed a co-production and co-financing first-look deal with Paramount Pictures. The goal is to develop, produce, and release superhero films based on the classic comic books.

A writer’s room of nine individuals is being put together and overseen by Akiva Goldsman and his Weed Road Pictures.

Production is set to begin in the second quarter of 2020 with the first film to be released in 2021. The goal is to release one superhero project each year after.

Paul acquired the stake from its owner Nemesis Group and principal Jason Goodman, grandson of Martin Goodman. Goodman was the founder of Marvel Comics, which was later run by Martin’s cousin Stan Lee.

The actual character count is going on but from the initial announcement it sounds like publishing will be included. Jason Goodman who is taking a stake in the new Atlas company will head up publishing and be involved in the film and television projects.

Atlas has a long history in comics. Martin Goodman founded Timely Productions in 1939. He then created the division of Atlas Comics in the 1950s which was the original home to Marvel‘s characters. In the 1960s, that became Marvel Comics. Due to a bad deal, in 1974 Goodman and his son Charles “Chip” Goodman “re-launched” Atlas Comics.

Upon Martin Goodman’s death, the company remained untouched. In 2010 when Jason Goodman, Martin’s grandson, took possession. That resulted in a false start in an attempt to relaunch the publishing brand with Ardden Entertainment. Subsequent lawsuits over trademarks were launched as well.

Atlas Comics Returns

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Jason Goodman, the grandson of Marvel founder Martin Goodman, is bringing back Atlas Comics.  The comic company was originally launched in the 1970’s by his grandfather to compete with Marvel.

From ICV2:

According to industry legends Martin Goodman sold Marvel to Cadence Publications in the early 1970s with the understanding that Goodman’s son Chip would stay on as editorial director of Marvel.  When Stan Lee, with Cadence’s backing, showed Chip the door, Martin Goodman launched what historians now refer to as Atlas/Seaboard Comics to distinguish it from the 1950s Atlas Comics, which was one of the precursor companies to Marvel Comics.  When Goodman sold Marvel, he kept the rights to the Atlas name, and dusted it off in the mid-1970s to compete with Marvel and DC.

It is believed a formal announcement will occur at New York Comic Con, but the company claims to have the rights to hundreds of characters.

Deadline Hollywood is reporting that Brendan Deneen, a former development executive for Scott Rudin and Harvey Weinstein, who is now an editor at St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan, is “spearheading the relaunch,’ and comics industry veteran, J.M. DeMatteis will be the new company’s EIC.

The first two titles that the new company are Phoenix and The Grim Ghost.