on the number of unsolicited calls I received for the properties); having enough time to devote personally to the project (this is not a passive endeavor for me); and finding the right team to work with (my creative team along with Brendan Deneen and the whole gang at Ardden Entertainment)."

How did Atlas and Ardden become partners in the relaunch??"After the success we'd been having with Flash Gordon and Casper the Friendly Ghost (published as Casper and the Spectrals), I was trying to think of a new license to go after," Brendan Deneen said. "As you know, almost every single license has been gobbled up by bigger companies. One day, I randomly got to thinking about Atlas Comics, which I had collected as back issues and loved as a teenager. I put out some feelers and eventually got in touch with Jason Goodman. We're both based in New York, so we started meeting and I think we immediately had a great creative connection.

"Once Jason decided that Ardden Entertainment was the right company to work with on the Atlas Comics relaunch, the negotiations literally happened in one afternoon. We had been meeting for a long time before we reached that point, so we were already very comfortable with each other and had become friends."

What made Ardden appealing to Atlas? "The lobster bisque in their corporate cafeteria is the best I've ever had," Goodman joked. "Seriously, we were looking for an
 

independent comic publisher to work with and noticed Ardden's work on the Flash Gordon and Casper relaunches" Goodman said. " After a few meetings it was clear that Brendan's background – and obvious talent – was a great fit for us."

And what made the venture so appealing to Ardden? "A number of factors," Deneen

said. "First off, there is the incredible Goodman legacy. This is the family that created Marvel Comics! That's no small thing.

"Secondly, we're talking about over two dozens comic book titles and hundreds of characters in a library. It's a group of characters that is beloved by a number of people. But it's also a group of characters that have enormous potential. Like we did with Flash Gordon and Casper, we are looking to reinvent these titles for the 21st century while remaining true to what made them so fun in the first place."

Will the books be co-branded with both Atlas and Ardden logos??"The covers will only have the Atlas logo, to keep them from getting cluttered,"?Deneen said, "but the inside covers will have both the Atlas and Ardden info."

How large will the Atlas line be, once the full rollout is complete? Are there any new projects in the works in addition to the already-published properties? "The Atlas line has twenty-eight titles and hundreds of characters," Goodman said. "The rollout will be extensive, but very methodical. There is no intention to flood the marketplace with gobs of mediocre product. Our desire is to pair the right story with the right talent and move ahead only once we have satisfied that criteria.
"We're launching our zero issues of first two books, Grim Ghost and Phoenix, this year, and both titles will begin their normal frequency in January 2011. I think it would be a safe bet to expect at least two more titles to be launched in the first quarter of 2011."
"Those zero issues will be available to comic shops via Diamond in the coming weeks, and the ongoing series will be available in early 2011," Deneen added.

"As to new projects, this is a highly creative endeavor out of which many new stories and characters will emerge," Goodman said. "I'm certain that at some point in the future those new ideas will find life, but at this point we are truly focused on the creative legacy that we have been blessed with!"

" I personally hope we are able to relaunch every single Atlas title over the coming years! Of course, we are going to take our time doing so," Deneen continued. "We have no desire to flood the market. We're talking about each title in great detail before we make any decision about relaunching it. It took us months to settle on Grim Ghost and Phoenix because we wanted to make sure that those two were the absolute best titles to start the relaunch. We factored in modern storytelling/narrative appetites when making those decisions as well."

Are any of the Atlas properties off limits? "I've never been a big fan of limits!" Goodman said. "Seriously though, all of the Atlas titles are in the mix, and it is amazing how much fan interest we get for each of them—thank you, fans! "

Does the deal include reprint rights for the 1970s material??"We're definitely talking about a major reprint—and possibly a number of them," Deneen said.
 The books will be helmed by editor-in-chief J.M. DeMatteis, a comics industry veteran who has worked with virtually every major publisher in a career that spans almost three decades. "The Atlas universe is filled with characters of tremendous potential," DeMatteis said. "I look forward to being a part of this re-launch as we re-imagine these wonderful characters and send them off on new adventures for the first time in thirty-five years."

How did DeMatteis become involved with the line? Will he be writing any of the books, or just working as editor? "J.M. DeMatteis has been the Editor-in-Chief of Ardden Entertainment since we launched the company in 2007, and he is integral to everything we do," Deneen said. "His notes on my Flash Gordon scripts are an enormous help (and also, how cool to have your scripts edited by J.M. frickin' DeMatteis?!). For now, J.M. will be working strictly in an editorial role, but we are in talks to bring him on board as a writer for one of the future Atlas titles."

Any chance that some of the original creators of the properties will be involved? We're certainly open to that!" Deneen said.

Is there any chance that new properties and concepts will be introduced as part of the line? "That isn't something we have discussed," Deneen said, "but personally, I don't think so. With so many titles and characters to choose from, why add something new?! However, Ardden has some new titles coming out next year (not to mention the next arc in the our Flash Gordon series, Invasion of the Red Sword), so we have plenty to keep us busy!"
Grim Ghost #0 and Phoenix #0 are tentatively slated to reach comic shops in November.
To find a comic shop near you, try the Comic Book Locator Service.

by Cliff Biggers

Follow CSN via Twitter at twitter.com/csnsider
Atlas Rejoins Comics Pantheon
 Last week, CSN told readers about the return of Atlas Comics, the short-lived company published in the mid-1970s by Marvel founder Martin Goodman. In early 2011, the company will make its comic shop appearance under the guidance of publisher (and Martin Goodman grandson) Jason Goodman, in conjunction with Ardden co-presidents Richard Emms & Brendan Deneen and Ardden editor-in-chief J.M. DeMatteis.

"Although my grandfather eventually sold Marvel, he insisted on keeping Atlas Comics in the family," Jason Goodman said. "As a result of his vision, Atlas Comics is the largest individually-held library of comic book heroes and villains on the planet. We've had the rights all these years, just waiting for the right moment.

"We have twenty-eight titles and hundreds of characters imagined by some of the greatest minds in the industry. They will now find a new life in comics, television, and movies. We are thrilled to finally bring these great characters back for the world to enjoy."

What made now the right time to bring back the Atlas characters? "A combination of factors,"?Goodman explained. "A very high level of market interest (based