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So I started to read Atari Force...


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Let's start this out by saying I'm not big into comic books, like at all. I like comics as an art form, I just don't like your typical superhero-esque comic books. They have always seemed intimidating to me.

I've had my Atari stuff for close to a year now, and with that came three issues of Atari Force: Berzerk, Phoenix, and Star Raiders. I decided to finally read Berzerk yesterday.

I didn't finish it yet. I was very tired last night so I had trouble keeping my eyes opened (plus, it was pretty boring). Here are some of the highlights so far:

  • It has absolutely NOTHING to do with Berzerk. What a disappointment. They say "berserk" a few times, but that's not the same. Where's Evil Otto?
  • Apparently there was a massive civil war in Ireland in the nineties (plus there was time for Klax)
  • Social commentary. In a flashback, one of the Indian street kids said "The police will never believe us over a rich white". Said rich white looks an awful lot like Sir Dudley Dashley.
  • It takes place in 2005, the year I was born.
  • California is in space now?
  • Atari has graduated from a company that creates video games and computers to a... whatever you call this.

So yeah, not great. What do you think?

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There are two distinct "series" of Atari Force.  There's the ones that came within those games you mention.  And there's the real official DC release (don't quote me here, but I think they made about 12 issues). 

IMO:  both are pretty bad. 

On the one hand, I give Atari credit for trying to create something unique and different.  On the other, it's just so bland...what was the point?

Ideally, they would have created a series that fleshes out some of their game story lines.  And that may have led to some new game ideas. 

As for comic books themselves....my suggestion is to find an expert that can guide you to the good stuff.  My older son is a huge fan of the X-Men series.  And then there's also some graphic novels to consider.  And Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" series is fantastic.  For DC, I like a lot of the Batman stuff but not much else. 

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I left a little off the table on my "comic book" general info above. 

I feel like modern comic books are kind of a rip-off.  The artwork and storylines can be really good.  But the main issue I have is how little story you get in each issue.  In the old days, you'd get several different stories in the same comic book.  But in the modern comics, you get about 1/10 of one story arc in each issue. 

What I've found to be really helpful is to find the compilation books of a given series.  That way, you get all of the storyline at once, and save a few bucks too.  In fact, our library has a lot of them.  We tend to try to find the books we want at a local bookseller and do it that way. 

 

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The Yars' comic book is the best of the lot (and I don't think it was Atari Force).  They used it to give us the backstory of the game.  Well done.  And it's also the first time Atari gave named credit to the game developer. 

 

Edited by RickR
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On 2/16/2021 at 12:01 PM, RickR said:

The Yars' comic book is the best of the lot (and I don't think it was Atari Force).  They used it to give us the backstory of the game.  Well done.  And it's also the first time Atari gave named credit to the game developer. 

 

But not proper credit to the person who wrote that comic (Warshaw).

I thought the full-size Atari Force comics were just as good as the mini-comics, if not better.   The artwork was superb. Gerry Conway and José Luis García-López worked on the first 13 issues, which is basically where the story ended IMO.  The last 7 issues were done by different folks.  Conway also wrote the mini comics with Roy Thomas.

I have all of them on my site:

http://www.ataricompendium.com/archives/comics/comics.html

Atari Force certainly wasn't Conway's best work, but was certainly acceptable (esp for pack-ins).  With the minis, story-wise, the game titles were primarily used as chapter titles.  Some of them were loosely tied into the story.  Ex: #3 features a Star Raider ship, complete with the same scanner screen (btw, there were also several Berzerk mentions in #5, which was more appropriate).  The full-size comics allowed for more creativity  It would have been nice if he continued with the original characters, instead of relegating them to brief cameos (and seeing Martin Champion as a sullen, bitter old man was a bit too cliche for me).  But the 'ending' in ish #13 was memorable.  You can't argue with the destruction of an entire universe :)

 

af1.JPG

af2.JPG

Edited by Scott Stilphen
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On 2/16/2021 at 5:06 PM, intellicolecovisonary said:

I did not know that ATARI was an acronym for Advanced Technology and Research Institute. I always thought Atari was a term used in the game Go for a situation where a stone or chain of stones has only one liberty, and may be captured on the next move if not given one or more additional liberties.

They came up with that acronym for the comics and the "organization" that team worked for.  Truthfully, it fit Atari at at the time.

I have all the comics, the ones that came with the games and the official ones DC published.  I discovered them quite a few years ago and bought the entire collection.  They were a fun read.  🙂

Edited by TrekMD
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