Atlas as seen on the cover of 1st Issue Special (April 1975).
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearance1st Issue Special #1 (April 1975)
Created byJack Kirby (writer & artist)
In-story information
Alter egoAtlas
SpeciesHuman (empowered)
Team affiliationsJustice League
AbilitiesSuperhuman strength and invulnerability

Atlas is a superhero and antihero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. It debuted in 1st Issue Special #1 (April 1975) and was created by Jack Kirby.


In 1st issue special #1 editorial discussed the creation of Atlas in "The Story Behind the Story"

"Legend has it that Atlas was the king of Atlantis, and the leader of the Titans that Zeus overthrew. For his role championing the titan cause, he was condemned to carry the heavens on his shoulders. yet what is a legend ? The Dictionary defines legend as "a story coming down from the past; especially one popularly accepted as historical though not verifiable." But Modern interpretation has given the word legend the quality of something larger than life...more dramatic. more powerful. more unique. And that's appropriate for our new version of atlas. Certainly our hero is larger than life. laden with qualities beyond the reach of ordinary mortals. The only part of the description that doesn't work is the "coming down from the past" section, but that's easily enough explained . This is the era of instant legend. Electronic media and mass market magazines publicize any extraordinary feat so rapidly that new heroes... new legends, are born everyday. No sooner has the world record for anything has been broken than the media use their influence to announce the birth of a new star. and so the value of age wanes . A story is no longer a classic because it has been handed down from generation to generation. Our classic are now the tales aimed at our decade, our year, our instant. Which brings us to Atlas #1. If there's been one theme running through comics career of Jack Kirby, its been legend And that applies on two levels: The first being the new characters who he's raised to the quality of legend, and the second the numerous experiments with magazines devoted to modern versions of the legends of the past. Whether its Greek, Roman, Norse or entirely new gods, alien races with stature approaching godhood have always entered into the Kirby scheme of themes. Nowadays its very popular to hypothesize about the possibility of alien races landing on earth and giving giving unintentional birth to the concept of pantheons of gods. but Jack Kirby envisioned such events years earlier. In that sense, Atlas is the latest in a long series of visons of the past/present/future unknown. It possess the qualities that made the earlier Kirby creations so popular, and draws upon the concept of legend again. But more importantly it is an entire new speculation-a new addition to the Kirby mythos. How it develops, whether it gains the vast popularity of the other Kirby myths, only time will tell. Its up to you, the readers, to tell us if you want this magazine to continue, even an incredibly fast artist like Jack Kirby can only do a certain number of magazines at once, and if you want this to be one of them-let us know."

Publication history

The first Golden Age version of a character named Atlas in DC Comics appeared in Action Comics #121 (June 1948).[1] The second appearance of an Atlas was in Action Comics #320 (January 1965).[2] The third was in Action Comics #353 (August 1967).[3]

The Jack Kirby Atlas' first and only appearance prior to Superman #677 was in 1st Issue Special #1.[4] James Robinson brought Atlas back in Superman #678. According to Robinson, Atlas is going to save humanity: "The way I like to look at him is like in the Marvel Universe, Namor is a hero but he really skates the fine line between being a hero and a villain, but he stays on the side of the hero. Atlas, skates that line between hero and villain but he ultimately always falls on the villain side". He continued to say that Atlas will become a major player in the Superman mythos moving forward and there will be some real twists to the character.[5]

One of the earlier characters named Atlas re-appeared in Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman, where a version of Atlas appears in issue #3. This Atlas is more closely based on the mythological figure of Atlas and competes with Superman and Samson to "win" Lois Lane, similar to the story in Action Comics #320 from January 1965.

Fictional character biography

The Jack Kirby Atlas' family and people were slain by the raiders of Hyssa the Lizard King. Atlas was raised by a wise and mysterious traveller named Chagra. Because of an alien crystal carried by Atlas, Chagra theorized that Atlas was one of the people of the Crystal Mountain. Chagra agrees to help Atlas achieve his revenge, but only if Atlas leads him to the Crystal Mountain. Atlas grew up to become a protector of the innocent, but once King Hyssa was defeated, his petulance and darker nature came to the forefront.[4][6]

Atlas returns in Superman #677 as part of The Coming of Atlas storyline and his origin is retold in issue #678 where he is seen saving citizens of Metropolis he himself had endangered. He is currently working with a secret government project that intends to kill Superman. Atlas wants to defeat Superman and replace him as Metropolis' champion on his way to conquer the modern world. He fights the Science Police and Superman.[7] He holds the upper hand on Superman for most of the battle, but is interfered with by his dog Krypto, who seems to be powered by magic. Atlas eventually defeats Krypto and prepares to kill him only for Superman to re-enter the fight and defeat him with some magical enhancement from Zachary Zatara. Atlas' return and fight with Superman was described as part of a ruse intended to test Project 7734, a governmental project that utilizes magic in an effort to kill Superman, who is vulnerable to magic.[8] Atlas continues to work for this project.[9]

Atlas is later kidnapped and brainwashed into fighting the Justice League by an unknown party. After being defeated by the team, Atlas explains to Batman that he has no idea who captured him in the first place.[10]

Other versions

Kingdom Come

In other media



See also


  1. ^ "Action Comics #121 - Is Atlas Stronger Than Superman? You'll Find the Answer in This Exciting Adventure: Superman Vs. Atlas! (Issue)". 1948-04-21. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  2. ^ "Action Comics #320 - The Three Super-Enemies! / The Man Who Broke Supergirl's Heart (Issue)". Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  3. ^ "Action Comics #353 - The Battle of the Gods!; The Cosmic Collectors! (Issue)". Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  4. ^ a b As seen in 1st Issue Special #1 (April 1975).
  5. ^ "Golden Age James Robinson II: Superman". 2008-05-23. Retrieved 2016-09-23.
  6. ^ Wallace, Dan (2008), "Atlas", in Dougall, Alastair (ed.), The DC Comics Encyclopedia, London: Dorling Kindersley, p. 29, ISBN 978-0-7566-4119-1
  7. ^ Superman #677-679 (August–October 2008)
  8. ^ Greenberger, Robert; Pasko, Martin (2010). The Essential Superman Encyclopedia. Del Rey. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-345-50108-0.
  9. ^ Superman: Secret Files 2009 #1 (October 2009)
  10. ^ Justice League of America vol. 2 #42 (April 2010)