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Buck for a quarter: Sci-fi character Buck Rogers returns to comics in 25-cent issue

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm •  Published: February 27, 2009

WORD BALLOONS
Writer Scott Beatty and artist Carlos Rafael will create the new adventures of Buck Rogers, under covers from John Cassaday (“Astonishing X-Men”).

“Buck is a sci-fi icon. We wouldn’t have ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Star Wars’ or many of the familiar trappings of the genre without the trails blazed by Buck with his trusty ray-gun and jet-pack,” Beatty said in a news release.

Buck Rogers started in the pulps in 1928, as Anthony Rogers in the story Armageddon 2419 by Philip Francis Nowlan. Rogers moved to the comic strips the next year, when he gained a new first name, Buck, and an artist, Richard Calkins, according to Don Markstein’s Toonopedia.

Buck Rogers is an accomplished pilot who is frozen in suspended animation for 500 years. He awakens in the 25th Century to a new world. He befriends Wilma Deering and Dr. Huer, and joins Earth’s defenders, as the planet is under siege from an alien force.

Buster Crabbe, who previously played Flash Gordon, brought Buck Rogers to movie screens in 1939 as part of a motion picture serial. The character briefly appeared on television in the 1950s; the comic strip ended in 1967.

But that wasn’t Buck’s last gasp. The success of “Star Wars” – which was partially inspired by “Buck Rogers” – brought Buck back to cinemas in 1979. The film, starring Gil Gerard, was followed by a TV series. These episodes are now available for viewing online at www.hulu.com/buck-rogers.

The series lasted two seasons. The comic book based on the series was published by Gold Key for three years, according to Toonopedia, and a new newspaper strip ran through 1983. Other than a brief revival in the early 1990s, it’s been mostly quiet for Buck since then. Dynamite aims to change that.

“We’re planning Buck’s launch to be one of our biggest of 2009, one that will propel him into the comics future,” Dynamite President Nick Barrucci said in a news release.

And Buck may grace the big screen again, as well: According to a December article in The Hollywood Reporter, “The Spirit” director Frank Miller was in talks to bring “Buck Rogers” to movie theaters.

By Matthew Price
From Friday’s The Oklahoman

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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