A new comic book universe is potentially on the horizon with the trades all reporting that Steven Paul acquired a majority stake in Atlas Comics. Paul’s SP Media Group will finance, co-produce and with Paramount Pictures in a first look development and distribution deal with Paramount Pictures announced out of Cannes on Thursday, along with word that the Ghost In The Shell producer has tapped Akiva Goldsman to oversee a writers’ room through his Weed Road Pictures banner.
Paul reportedly acquired the stake from owner Nemesis Group and principal Jason Goodman, in a deal that took years to iron out according to Variety. Goodman’s grandfather, Martin Goodman, firstly founded Timely Publications in 1939 whose Atlas Comics emerged in 1950. Then-Atlas creative hive member Stan Lieber (a.k.a. Stan Lee) was promoted to editor for Marvel Comics a few years after Atlas went defunct; Goodman and son Charles attempted to relaunch Atlas in 1974.
Atlas, whose franchise saw characters like Phoenix, Tarantula, Tiger-Man, Cougar, Destructor, Grim Ghost, Morlock, Iron Jaw, Scorpion, The Brute and Wulf The Barbarian, could see either of these characters go into production by next year for a 2021 release. Goldsman will produce with Paul, and with Atlas production president Spike Seldin (The A-Team) also producing, whereas Nemesis’s Goodman, who will share a stake in the new Atlas company for all matters (publishing, film and television) exec produces with SPMG president Scott Karol.
“We’re still counting the characters,” said Paul, as he addressed the audience in front of a dozen blown-up Atlas covers including Tiger-Man, Sgt. Stryker’s Death Squad and Devilina. “Marvel has 4,700. I want to be up there.”
Paramount COO Andrew Gumpert was on hand and explained Paramount’s interest in mining the library.
“Intellectual property of this kind is hard to come by in this day and age, and 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,” he said.
“Steven Paul, Akiva Goldsman and the whole team at the singularly iconic Paramount Pictures bring a level of talent and enthusiasm to this venture that carries my family’s body of work in the comic book industry into filmed entertainment,” said Jason Goodman
“What an opportunity that we have with the Atlas universe, which spans so many genres: superheroes, sci-fi, fantasy, supernatural, horror, creatures, vampires, cops, cowboys, soldiers,” said Goldsman. “The breadth of this material is extraordinary.”