Thunderbolts Spec: Atlas – Many Names, Many Possibilities

by Matt Tuck

062022F-1024x536 Thunderbolts Spec: Atlas - Many Names, Many PossibilitiesThe Thunderbolts could open the door for the underappreciated, size-changing henchman and anti-hero, Atlas. If you act quickly, you could beat the rush for potential key issues in the making. While there have been many versions of the Thunderbolts, three names are most closely associated with the title: Baron Zemo, Moonstone, and Atlas/Goliath. It’s the latter that is largely ignored, and that is good for buyers.

When it comes to Erik Josten, he has a surprising number of comics to choose from thanks to his numerous name changes. Throughout the decades, he’s been Power Man, Smuggler, Goliath, and Atlas. That gives you at least four new additions to your long boxes.

AVENGERS #21

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Straight from the Silver Age, we have the man with a true identity crisis. Initially known as Power Man, Erik gained his strength from the same device that turned Simon Williams into Wonder Man. That could connect the former Power Man to Wonder Man’s upcoming show, though Thunderbolts is the more likely avenue.

Between this being an early Avengers issue and the Thunderbolts speculation, Erik’s first appearance in Avengers #21 has been getting its share of attention. Just this month, an 8.5 brought a record $239. If you’re looking to save money, a lower-grade raw copy sold for $7.61 on June 19.

PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #49

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In 1972, the Power Man title was handed off to the much cooler Luke Cage. Actually, Luke pummeled Erik in Power Man #21, which helped persuade him to give up the name. That left Erik in an identity crisis. Eight years later, his ego battered and bruised, he took up the name Smuggler, and was promptly beaten up by Spider-Man. 

Since hardly anyone is specifically looking for this comic, it is dirt cheap at the moment. The last time a 9.8 sold online, it went for $30 in 2020. If you head over to eBay, you can get raw copies for as little as $3 and no more than about $15.

IRON MAN ANNUAL #7

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Fast forward seven years later, and Erik got a new lease on superhero life. Thanks to the mad scientist Karl Malus, Erik got his hands on Hank Pym’s growth serum. Armed with the ability to change his size, he took on the name Goliath, which would be his most famous iteration. The first time we see Erik as Goliath was in 1987’s Iron Man Annual #7, and that could be the name he takes in the MCU.

Graded sales are few and far between for this comic, so getting a copy shouldn’t be a problem. The highest grade sold in close to a year has been the 9.6, which brought $35 in July 2021.

THUNDERBOLTS #1

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Four years into Erik’s career as Goliath, he was recruited to Baron Zemo’s original Thunderbolts lineup. Although the character Atlas first appeared in Incredible Hulk #449, he wasn’t revealed to be the constant henchman Goliath until Thunderbolts #1. This would be a big turning point for the character, and he would stick with the name Atlas during his many stays at Thunderbolts Mountain. It’s because of that close association with the Thunderbolts that he could be an addition to the upcoming movie. 

Since the MCU announcement, Thunderbolts #1 has been red hot, and the 9.8 has consistently sold for $200+ all month. 

SUPERSIZE ME

It’s hard to see Erik Josten being a star of stage and screen, but his status as a traditional Thunderbolt could be the difference-maker. I also can see him appearing on She-Hulk: Attorney at Law because his frequent name changes are a joke waiting to happen. As Marvel scrapes the bottom of the barrel for new characters, that makes this a good time to introduce Atlas in one or all of his forms.

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030222E Thunderbolts Spec: Atlas - Many Names, Many Possibilities*Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not represent advice on behalf of GoCollect.

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