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Atari’s bringing back its Swordquest comics

The canceled video game series lives on, but now it’s meta

Swordquest Fireworld
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

More than 30 years ago, Atari and DC Comics teamed up to release a series of video games for the Atari 2600, Swordquest, that tied into comic books published by DC. The Swordquest series was memorable for two main reasons: Atari held a competition through the games, promising $150,000 in prizes to players who solved their puzzles, and the fourth game in the series never came out, due to Atari’s financial problems.

But Swordquest is coming back, at least in comic book form, thanks to Dynamite Entertainment.

The original Swordquest comics were packed in with the three released Atari 2600 games: Swordquest EarthWorld, Swordquest FireWorld and Swordquest WaterWorld. The comics helped explain the plot of each Swordquest game and included clues that would help players solve the contest-winning mystery.

While the original Swordquest comics focused on twin warriors Torr and Tara and their search across four elemental worlds to procure the Sword of Ultimate Sorcery, the new Swordquest will take a more meta approach; it’s about a participant in the original Swordquest contest and the unreleased Swordquest AirWorld video game.

Here’s the description of the new Swordquest, straight from Dynamite’s press release:

Peter Case was a boy on a quest... the quest to win the prizes from Atari's Swordquest challenge! He was counting down the days to the release of the final game, AirWorld, only to be shattered when the news surfaced that it would never be released. Now Peter is an adult... and things aren't going well. The bad news is he has to move back in with his mother. The good news is she still has all of his old Atari stuff. With nothing else to look forward to, his obsession with Swordquest is reignited, in a more daring -- and fantastic -- way!

Swordquest is written by Chad Bowers and Chris Sims, who worked together on Marvel’s X-Men ‘92 and Oni Press’ Down. Set. Fight! Scott Kowalchuk, whose work includes Batman '66 and Down. Set. Fight!, will handle the art.

The first issue of the new Swordquest (#0) will be released this May for just 25 cents. Here’s a look at the introductory issue’s four covers, which includes one illustrated by George Perez, who drew the original series with Dick Giordano.