BREAKING: Comic book fans rejoice: the superhero scene could be getting even busier. Steven Pauls SP Media Group (SPMG) has entered into an agreement to acquire a majority interest in the Atlas Comics library, it was announced this morning in Cannes, with Paramount aboard for a first-look deal.
The Atlas Comics treasure-trove is owned by Nemesis Group Inc. and its principal Jason Goodman, grandson of publisher Martin Goodman, founder of Marvel Comics, which was later run by Martins cousin Stan Lee.
SPMG has signed a co-production and co-financing first look deal with Paramount Pictures to develop, produce and distribute superhero films based on the comic books. Ghost In The Shell and Ghost Rider producer Paul has also signed a deal with Oscar-winner and A-list scribe Akiva Goldsman – writer on I Am Legend, The Da Vinci Code and multiple Batman movies – and his Weed Road Pictures to oversee a writers room in connection with developing out the universe of the characters from the Atlas comic book library.
According to the team, production on the first project is due to begin during the second quarter of 2020 with a release expected to take place in 2021. The companies intend to produce and release at least one superhero project each year thereafter. The films will be produced by Paul, Goldsman, Atlass President of Production Spike Seldin (The A-Team), and Paramount. The studio will jointly finance with SPMG and Paramount will handle domestic distribution. SPMG will handle international distribution.
This is a developing story so its unclear at this stage which characters exactly will be in the mix. The picture may be complicated by the fact that Atlas went on to become Marvel Comics, which dominates the superhero scene thanks to its Avengers, Iron Man, Captain America and Spider-Man properties. According to imagery sent to us by those involved in the deal, characters could potentially include Phoenix, Tarantula, Tiger-Man, Cougar, Destructor, Grim Ghost, Morlock, Iron Jaw, Scorpion, The Brute and Wulf The Barbarian. The comics spanned different genres including sci-fi, fantasy, action, supernatural, and horror.
Development for Atlas will be supervised by Seldin and Greg Lessans will supervise for Weed Road. Jason Goodman will maintain an interest in the new Atlas company, serving as executive producer on all films. Scott Karol, SPMGs President, will also executive produce.
“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,” explained Andrew Gumpert, COO at Paramount Pictures, which is in Cannes with Elton John biopic Rocketman.
“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 familys body of work in the comic book industry into filmed entertainment,” said Goodman.
Paul added, “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… The breadth of this material is extraordinary. I am looking forward to this adventure with Atlas for many years to come.”
“Atlas Comics is a treasure chest of classic art characters and storylines. I am more than excited by the prospect of joining Jason Goodman, Steven Paul, Scott Karol, and Spike Seldin in opening it up for the world. We will do our sincere best to satisfy fans old and new,” noted Goldsman.
The reason this treasure trove of material has remained undiscovered until today partly lies in Atlas Comicss long-standing and rich history. In late 1939, publishing magnate Martin Goodman founded Timely Publications.