Monday, January 18, 2010

Free Comics Monday: Morlock 2001

Yeah, so I've always been afraid to post any of the Atlas Seaboard comics, but thanks to an incredibly illuminating set of articles over on Pigs of the Industry Blog, I've decided my concern may have been for nothing. Thanks to RKB's research, I've discovered that the Atlas comic characters have apparently fallen into public domain (per a Beau Smith interview with Comics Bulletin.)

So with the internet as my legal counsel, I am happy to present to you the wonder that is Morlock 2001 - The World's Strangest Super-Hero!

In a totalitarian ruled future, a mad botanical professor is killed while conducting illegal botanical experimentations - experiments which result in the morbid man plant known as Morlock!

How strange is Morlock? Well he spends part of his existence as a confused futuristic superhero who turns people into fungus with a touch - and the other part of his life as a meat eating plant monster.

Speaking of half plant/half beast creatures - as a strange coincidence, just a few minutes after I wrote this post, my wife found an article on a just discovered Sea Slug that can convert sunlight into food!

Let the illegal botanical experiments begin!

[ Morlock 2001 1]

[ Morlock 2001 2 ]

- Enjoy!


RKB said...

my wife found an article on a just discovered Sea Slug that can convert sunlight into food!
Atlas always was ahead of it's time. :)

To add to the incredible amount of weirdness you already get from a comic when you cross Swamp Thing with Fahrenheit 451, this is one of the few Atlas titles that actually didn't get worse with the Third Issue Switch, only more interesting.
Weirder and weirder still. ;)

cash_gorman said...

As much as I like the idea of the Atlas characters being PD, I don't see how the comics could have fallen into public domain unless they were never copyrighted to begin with. Sure, trademarks would have lapsed, but these titles would have had their copyrights automatically renewed.

Likewise, according to one website, books published 1964 or later don't have to actually register through the Library of Congress to be afforded copyright protection as long as they contain the proper marks and information

RAB said...

I wouldn't necessarily trust hearsay attributed to Dean Mullaney, given the messiness surrounding Eclipse and the subsequent legal dramas. It's quite possible he believed what he was saying, and it's possible he also didn't know what the hell he was talking about. Heck, any day now Todd McFarlane could step forward claiming to have bought exclusive rights to the Atlas Seaboard characters from Eclipse! That said, it doesn't look like anyone is claiming to own those books at this moment, so there's probably no one about to attack a blog like this for posting those issues.

Now, if it did turn out those characters were in the public domain…I call dibs on Phoenix the Protector! I have a treatment in mind that would totally rationalize both versions of the character into a coherent whole with a really elegant twist. I've been dreaming of it for years! Okay, whew, glad I got that off my chest...!

JimShelley said...

Thanks guys, it seems the Atlas properties may not be as fair game as I originally thought - I think I would have to actually have to hire a lawyer myself to find out the truth. (And I heard through the grapevine that another comics mover and shaker may be looking into the Atlas properties as well.)

bchat said...

While you made not need to register a work for it to be Copyrighted, not doing so means you wouldn't be able to do anything if someone used that work without permission.

As far as Atlas/Seaboard's books being Public Domain, I simply don't buy it. Martin Goodman was very good about making sure he had valid Copyrights for every single comic Timely/Atlas/Marvel ever produced, why would he all of a sudden drop the ball with every single book produced by Atlas/Seaboard?

Paul said...

The Atlas comics are indeed in public domain because the company no longer exists. When the owner of the copyright dies (or otherwise ceases to exist) without heirs, his/its property is up for grabs. please post more Atlas comics. I liked many of the titles and would like to see some company pick up some of their ideas and trudge forward with them.

Darkness U.S.A said...

Martin Goodman did have heirs, he had a son that worked at Atlas/Seaboard named "Chip". Chip had a son that is reviving the titles again. I talked to him in a email a little while ago if i had the money i may have been able to buy the characters LOL


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