Genre: adventure; science fiction
Created in: 1928
- Buck Rogers is a science fiction (and later, particularly space opera) character created by Philip Francis Nowlan in the novella Armageddon 2419 A.D., subsequently appearing in multiple media. First published in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine Amazing Stories, the character and story were shortly adapted into a syndicated comic strip which debuted in early 1929. Later adaptations included radio in 1932, a film serial, a television series, and other formats.
The Buck Rogers strip, syndicated by the John F. Dille Co., was popular enough to inspire other newspaper syndicates to launch their own science fiction strips. The most famous of these imitators was Flash Gordon (King Features Syndicate, 1934–2003); others included Brick Bradford (Central Press Association, 1933–1987), Don Dixon and the Hidden Empire (Watkins Syndicate, 1935–1941), and Speed Spaulding (John F. Dille Co., 1940–1941).
The strip was originally entitled 'Buck Rogers, 2429 A.D.'. The title changed in 1930, 1931, 1932, and 1933 to 'Buck Rogers, 2430 A.D.', 'Buck Rogers, 2431 A.D.', 'Buck Rogers, 2432 A.D.', and 'Buck Rogers, 2433 A.D.', respectively. The title then became 'Buck Rogers, 25th. Century A.D.' [sic]. The strip has also gone by the titles 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' and 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D.'
The strip was often reprinted in comic books and collected in books, which sometimes shortened the strip name to simply 'Buck Rogers'. The character also appeared in original comic book stories, usually with a feature of simply 'Buck Rogers'. In the late 1970s Gil Gerard and Erin Gray starred in a television series loosely based on the strip, which was entitled 'Buck Rogers in the 25th Century' (without the 'A.D.' in the strip name) and there have been comics under that title based on the show as well.
The strip centers on Anthony "Buck" Rogers (renamed William "Buck" Rogers in the 1970s show and its comics adaptations), a World War I veteran from the 1920s who falls into suspended animation and awakens five hundred years in the future. He then meets Wilma Deering a member of an underground resistance that is fighting an occupying force that has destroyed the United States. Other cast members include Dr. Huer, Killer Kane, Ardalla, Wilma's younger brother Buddy Deering and Buddy's girlfriend Alura, Black Barney, and various hostile aliens such as the Tiger Men of Mars, the dwarf-like Asterites of the Asteroid belt, and giant robots called Mekkanos.
- 25th century; ray guns; rocket ships; science fiction; space opera