Sneaky Moves: Bronze Age Atlas Loaded With Potential!

by Peter Daddone

Sneaky-300x157 Sneaky Moves: Bronze Age Atlas Loaded With Potential!If you blinked, you missed the Atlas Comic Production run.  It produced comics for less than two years and none of the titles they produced made it to issue five.  It’s time to open your eyes and see that Atlas Comics has major, super sneaky potential!

Stop me if you heard this one before.  Two young people meet and build a business empire together.  Then, one day, one of the people decides the business isn’t being run correctly.  They want adjustments.  The future of the company is at stake, they say.  When person two disagrees, person one leaves and starts their own business with the new business model.

Of course, you’ve heard this before.  It also happens to be the story of the split between two icons at Marvel Comics during the 1970s.  It’s when Martin Goodman and Stan Lee parted ways and Goodwin re-booted Atlas Comics.

Bronze Age Atlas Is Loaded With Great Artists!

planet-of-vampires-1-e1620227640314-192x300 Sneaky Moves: Bronze Age Atlas Loaded With Potential!Where did Atlas go wrong that it only lasted a year?  They sure didn’t go wrong with hiring artists!  The list of great artists that contributed to the Atlas staple is MASSIVE!

Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, Neal Adams, Russ Heath, Rich Buckler, and Howard Chaykin all contributed work to Atlas.  Neal Adams is responsible for my favorite Atlas Cover, Planet of Vampires #1.

I like Planet of Vampires. In addition to Neal Adams and Russ Heath’s art, Larry Hama is involved as a writer and we all know how great much of his Marvel work is.  He also has experience with GI Joe making it to the big screen.  Besides, it combines Horror AND Sci-Fi!

Watch Out For the Duds!

tarantula-196x300 Sneaky Moves: Bronze Age Atlas Loaded With Potential!There are some real duds in the Atlas catalog, so which do you go after?  That might depend on which titles you think will make their way into a Paramount motion picture.  They own the rights to the Atlas line, but I would bet that Tarantula is not one of the comics in pre-production movie planning!  Still, the comic is up slightly in the 9.4 and 9.8 tier, but down almost 13% in the 9.6 tier.

There are a ton of potential misses here.  I’m not sure TIger-man, Brute, Phoenix, or Cougar have much of a shot in picking up collector interest. 

There Are Some Stories That Will Make Good Movies

destructor-197x300 Sneaky Moves: Bronze Age Atlas Loaded With Potential!

Destructor is another title with some potential.  The series featured Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, and Archie Goodwin.  A Ditko/Wood collaboration is historic! 

It’s a great origin story. Mob enforcer, Jay Hunter, becomes a superhero after his own gang turns on him. It sounds like an early Punisher prototype.

Still, There Is More To Love Than Not To Love With This Publisher

scorpion-e1620227436108-194x300 Sneaky Moves: Bronze Age Atlas Loaded With Potential!Picking up Howard Chaykin’s Bondage cover for Scorpion #1 is also a sneaky move.  Chakin’s character is an early prototype for Dominic Fortune and American Flagg!

I love the “campiness” of the Atlas staple.  Tarantula, Wulf The Barbarian, IronJaw, Kid Cody all have a slight 50’s vibe to their stories or gratuitously “borrow” from their Marvel counterparts!

Another sneaky move would be to pick up the last issues in the series of these comics.  It appears that as Atlas was running out of money, the print runs went lower, so by the time the last issue in a series went to press, their print runs were lower than previous books.

Atlas comics has several of the key indicators that interest me as a collector or investor.  I like the campiness vibe.  It is definitely something different than what we are seeing during the Bronze Age.  Artists and writers that everyone knows are included in the lineup, and print runs may be lower on some issues.  The only drawback to the Atlas lineup is that they didn’t last long enough to gain a following.  Not being familiar with the characters, knowing origins, or “growing up” with them makes it difficult to pinpoint how high they can go.

Another good indication of a sneaky move investment is the comics have been pretty stable in high grade.  Planet of Vampires has seen a 33-116% increase in sales.  Destructor has seen between a 12-96% increase.

Conclusion

Atlas comics might not have been in publication very long, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make their mark on the comic industry.  It also doesn’t mean that their books won’t ever shoot up the charts.

Could Destructor be the winner? Maybe, maybe not, but any series featuring Steve Ditko, Wally Wood, AND Archie Goodwin is worth looking at if only for the gorgeous art. Atlas has a lot to offer for little cost to you, and that’s what makes it SNEAKY! 

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4 comments

LukeLandWalker May 13, 2021 - 2:23 pm

Atlas definitely had great potential. However, in my opinion, the only title they had that has any chance of making it to the screen, is Planet of Vampires. The one thing that may hamper Planet of Vampires, is that the story is extremely similar to Planet of the Apes. Astronauts go to space, only to come back later and find the planet has been taken over by Apes (in this case replace Apes with Vampires). I would still watch it 🙂

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Peter Daddone May 14, 2021 - 10:37 am

I would still watch it too! Maybe a Destructor or Scorpion might make a good premise. Paramount owns the whole Atlas production run so maybe we’ll see “Brute” in 2023!

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Jay Pele May 14, 2021 - 4:06 pm

The best of the stories to actually READ is Scorpion, it has a strong Nick Fury vibe to it, like back in the early Steranko days (sans the amazing splash pages). Still, I think it would sell today, provided it had a good team on it.

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Peter Daddone May 16, 2021 - 3:54 pm

Oh yeah, a great cast and cinematography would make it a hit, or they can give the comic to Quintin Tarantino and tell him to time travel back to his 90’s work and have at it! Thanks for sharing!

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