Jan 7, 2008

Buck Rogers Comic Strip Debuts Jan 7 1929

When the Buck Rogers comic strip premiered in January of 1929, it was the first science fiction comic strip ...ever.

Buck had started his fictional life as coal miner Anthony Rogers who awakens from a mine cave-in 500 years in the futue. The story was written by Philip Nowlan and premiered in Amazing Stories Magazine in the August 1928 issue. Syndicate newspaper executive John F. Dille read the story and hired Nowlan & illustrator Frank R. Paul to adapt the story to comic strip form. Since cowboys were the big stars of the time, Dille asked that Anthony's name be changed to Buck.

Three years after the strip, Buck Rogers became a popular 15 minute radio show with an avalanche of send away radio premiums. Eventually, Buck got his own theatrical adventure serial with Buster Crabbe as Buck. Crabbe had previously played Flash Gordon in movies, another sci-fi guy of the times who had been developed after the success of Buck. In just a few years, Gordon would surpass Rogers in popularity, but for now, Buck Rogers was the world's greatest science fiction hero and the first taste of science fiction for millions of kids.

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