First appearance of Erik Josten (aka Atlas)
[from The Avengers (1963) #21]
Erik has a long history of making bad decisions.
I like Erik’s original supervillain concept: None of this cornball stuff. Just a guy named “Erik” in a brown speedo.
Question: Was Josten supposed to be a German? He references “American” science fiction like that’s foreign to him, and he’s only worried about outstanding warrants in Europe.
When the comic was published, it was still a credible idea that Heinrich Zemo had simply survived World War II by living his natural lifespan, as opposed to the Compound X retcon that made him virtually immortal. So I wonder if the original concept was for Zemo’s army to be made up of other ex-Nazis and their ne’er-do-well sons.
Yeah, the context here implies that Josten is supposed to be European (although his dialogue sure sounds American), but I don’t think he’s meant to be a Nazi. That Stan presents a whole other reason for Josten to be here suggests that he wasn’t going there. (I mean, if Erik were a Nazi hiding from a war crimes tribunal, I doubt he’d be worried about the smuggling.) He also doesn’t come across as old enough to have served in World War II, even when the war was only twenty years earlier.
Lee did do the idea of a secret community of WWII war criminals, but it was over in Captain America, when the Red Skull went to the Isle of Exiles to look up some of his old henchmen.