Monday, October 27, 2014

Atlas Comics? DYNAMITE!!!

I first reported in 2012 on the fight between Jeffrey Stevens and the Nemesis Group, headed by Jason Goodman, grandson of Marvel Comics founder, Martin, for the brand name, Atlas Comics.  In summary here’s how it panned out: the name Atlas Comics was the second name of Marvel Comics (after Timely Comics) in the 1950s. In 1974 the name was revived by Martin Goodman and his son, Chip, after they sold Marvel Comics and founded their own line.  The 1974 line, although fondly remembered now and featuring some of the top names of the comic book industry of the time, folded in a heap amidst cries and claims of non-payment and general shenanigans. After that debacle, the name Atlas Comics remained dormant until a wannabe publisher named Jeffrey Stevens claimed the name, and resulting trademark, in 2002.

In 2010 Jason Goodman relaunched the 1974 version of Atlas Comics, using the characters that he ‘owned’ from those days, to much fanfare.  The only hiccup was that he, nor his company the Nemesis Group, actually owned the Atlas name.  They filed suit against Stevens but, ultimately lost the proceedings.  The upshot of it all was that the relaunched Atlas fell silent, Stevens owned the trademark and the Goodman family was on the outer once again.  If you want a far more detailed look into the legal battles, then click here and here.

Flash forward to today.  As of mid-August the trademark and name Atlas Comics was duly handed over to Dynamite Characters, meaning Dynamite will now be the publishers, and owners, of Atlas Comics.  Well played, Jeffrey Stevens, well played indeed. Despite the wind and fury of Jason Goodman's legal filings, in the end he (Goodman) just gave up and stopped fighting, at around the same time that he stopped publishing.  Stevens, who had never published anything outside of a few ashcans, then entered into negotiations and sold the Atlas Comics name for an unknown amount (although it's doubtful if it was a large amount, plus Stevens had legal fees to pay for).  

I have no idea as to what, if any, role that Jason Goodman (or Jeffrey Stevens) will play in the obvious relaunch of Atlas Comics as he still owns the copyrights to the characters, but it'd not be inconceivable to presume that Dynamite have also entered into negotiations with Goodman with the view of reuniting the 1974 Atlas characters with the brand.  No word on if Psychic Octopus Jr was part of the deal, but we can only hope.  


What this now means is that people should be digging into trademarks for old comic book names.  Forget characters and the murky copyrights that exist there.  American Comic Group, Ace, Nedor, Fiction House, Quality Comics, Toby Press, Star – there’s a plethora of old trademarks just sitting there, some assigned and owned and some not, all it takes is some digging and exploring.  However when I say, 'all it takes' such digging will cost you time and money and most of the leads will go nowhere, but if you do find a name that hasn't been trademarked then the rewards might be good.  So, if you want instant name recognition or just want to cash in like Stevens has, then here’s your chance.


2 comments:

CheckMait said...

Hi, Daniel. The document is actually dated August 10, not October 8. It's dated 08/10/2014, which is American parlance (and the document is from Los Angeles) is August 10. That's different from the British and, I guess, Australian way of reading that date. You might want to update the text.

Daniel Best said...

Thanks for the correction chum. I've made the fix and updated the images to a better resolution while I was it.