In the early 1980s, video games were everywhere as everyone was trying to cash in on the booming video game business. This included the comic book companies. First of all, both DC and Marvel, two of the largest publishers at the time, were licensing their characters for use in video games; the primary examples being the Superman and Spider-Man Atari 2600 games. (For more examples, just flip through the previous issue of
CGM.) When it came to linking video games and comics, DC may have had an edge because both it and Atari were, for a time, owned by Warner Communications. Atari included several small, DC-produced comic books, called “pack-ins” or “in-packs,” with their Atari 2600 games. What I believe was the first one, however, was apparently produced without the help of DC.
Yars’ Revenge: The Qotile Ultimatum was a short, eight page comic that served as a prolog to Howard Scott
Warshaw’s first Atari 2600 game. It explained the origin of the Yars, the reason (more or less) they were fight-
ing the Qotile, and even how to play the game. If it had included the game version matrix, it could have almost been substituted for the instruction manual. The story, by Hope Shafer, was rather simplistic, but the art by Frank Cirocco, Ray Garst, and Hiro Kimura was well done. It was not a bad first effort, but apparently Atari’s new parent, Warner Communications, decided it would be more expedient to have another Warner company, DC, handle the pack-ins from then on. (This is conjecture on my part as Yars’ Revenge and Defender, the first game to include an Atari Force comic, were both released in 1982, so I’m not 100% certain which came first.)
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