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A strong or superstrong character picks up an object that is obviously too bulky, if not also too heavy, for him to carry properly. This character holds the object in question between his head and the supporting shoulder. This is at least Older Than Steam, since the earliest atlas had Atlas in the Atlas Pose on the cover holding up the globe. The most famous incidence of this trope probabily the Atlas statue in front of the Rockefeller Center in New York city.

Of course, in the original myth Atlas bore the weight of the heavens, not the world. The object he is holding is not a globe, but a celestial sphere.

Not to be confused with the "Atlus pose", a look of sheer despair that one gets after staring at their millionth Game Over screen in an Atlus game.

Bears minimal relation to Atlas Shrugged, though this pose is mentioned once and shows up on the cover of some versions.


Anime and Manga

  • Dragon Shiryuu in Saint Seiya, when the tunnel underneath the Sagittarius House collapses and he stays behind to support it as the others escape.

Comic Books

  • This pose is one of the iconic images of Superman. He's lifting a car on his very first cover; some more early examples are here (including #28, where he seems to be helping out a statue of Atlas himself!). These covers have been homaged countless times since. In Superman Returns, he even does an Atlas pose catching the Daily Planet's giant metal globe.
  • The Thing has been known to do this when moving lab equipment around for Mr. Fantastic.
  • The cover to The Incredible Hulk Special #1, homaged many times since.
  • Spider-Man did this while trapped under a bridge (later homaged in a simmilar scene with him in a subway). While he has super strength, it is not as vast as someone like Superman so for him, this was a monumental feat.


  • Mr. Incredible catches and lifts a robot on his back, briefly mimicking the Atlas pose.

Live Action TV

  • There was a British sketch show from many years ago, the title of which has long since fled this troper's memory, which had a scene where a man was under the delusion that he was Atlas - so he was posing upside-down on the ground. Think about it.

Video Games

  • 'Rayman 2 and the explosive kegs.
  • City of Heroes has their very own superhero named Atlas. He died defending Paragon City during the sneak attack that started World War II, and was immortalized with a life-sized statue of Atlas holding up the globe outside City Hall. Considering Atlas was a couple-hundred feet tall...


Western Animation

  • In Chaotic, a Combining Mecha that went on a rampage after being given free will did a last minute Heel Face Turn and used itself to support the section of the Underworld ceiling formerly propped up by the Iron Pillar which it just destroyed moments ago. The robot assumed the Atlas pose as it held up the section of the cavern ceiling. But it also had another dose of Atlas in that the robot was petrified by Chaor (Atlas Mountains, anyone?), permanently becoming the new Iron Pillar.
  • Done by Megatron, of all bots, in episode 5 of Transformers Prime (but it's with a chunk of Dark Energon).
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