Atari Games may be long gone, but Atari Force is coming back. According to Comics Beat, Dynamite Entertainment has inked a deal to reprint the venerable ‘80s series, along with a series of comics based on classic Atari games such as Asteroids and Centipede.
Created by comics legends Gerry Conway and Roy Thomas, Atari Force began as a five-part series of mini-comics bundled with Atari 2600 cartridges such as Defender and Berzerk in the summer of 1982 before graduating to a regular DC series that ran from 1984 to 1986. (Both DC Comics and Atari were subsidiaries of Warner Communications at the time.) Set in the far-off future of 2005, the series told the story of the brave interdimensional explorers of the recursively-named Atari Technology and Research Institute, charged with finding a habitable alternate Earth after our own world had been decimated by environmental collapse and nuclear war. The multicultural team’s adventures recapitulated the plots of popular Atari cartridges like Phoenix, Star Raiders, and Galaxian, depending on which game the comics were packaged with. The DC series, whose release coincided with the Great Video Game Crash of 1983, featured an all-new generation of heroes and aimed for more of a space opera feel, distancing itself from the Atari license as the industry fell into disarray.
If you’re curious about the original Atari Force comics, you can read them here (along with some comics DC produced for a number of other games during 1982-83). They’re kind of like Interstellar, if Matthew McConaughey spent more time fighting hostile alien warriors and giant insects. It’s not clear if Dynamite will continue the Atari Force saga, or if the new comics will tie into existing continuity. But it’ll be great to have this ‘80s touchstone back in print.