Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Rogers, Buck. Buck Rogers was created John F. Dille, Phil Nowlan, and Dick Calkins (Skyroads, Inc.) and appeared in the comic strip “Buck Rogers” (1929-1967) and the film serial Buck Rogers (1939). “Buck Rogers” was one of the most influential comic strips of the Twentieth Century.
Buck Rogers is a football All-American who goes into the depths of a mine shaft in the Rockies and is thrown into suspended animation because of a strange gas present in the mine. Rogers wakes up 500 years in the future, in 2430 C.E., and discovers that America was taken over by Yellow Peril Mongols sometime around 1960. The Mongols have been ruling America ever since. Rogers is quickly recruited into the resistance, the "Orgs,” by Wilma Deering, who soon becomes his girlfriend. They eventually manage to overthrow the Mongols but are then forced to deal with invading Martian "Tiger Men.” Following their defeat Rogers and Deering venture into outer space and have space opera adventures. During World War Two Rogers and Deering fight Asian-looking Martians.
In addition to Deering, Rogers is also aided by Buddy Deering, Wilma's kid brother, and Princess Alura of the Golden People of Mars, Buddy Deering’s special friend. Later on "Hot-Rocket" Horace and "Ram-Jet" Rosie, two top spaceship pilots, and Black Barney, a reformed space pirate, became Rogers’ friends. The obligatory scientist figure is the brilliant Dr. Huer, who often creates SCIENCE! weapons for Rogers and Deering, including the psychic restriction ray, the molecular expansor, the teleradio, radiovision transmitters, and mechanical moles, among others. The most common villain of the strip is "Killer" Kane, the space pirate, who was aided by the beautiful and slinky Ardala Valmar.
* I'm including "Buck Rogers" in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because Rogers is an archetype and the comic strip was a fun read which also happened to be historically important. "Buck Rogers" got there before "Flash Gordon" and was heavily influential on it as well as on all the other science fiction comic strips of the 1930s; "Buck Rogers" was seen as primus inter pares by them, even though by any objective assessment "Buck Rogers" was a lesser strip in both writing and art. Not in imagination, however; there, "Buck Rogers" could stand proudly alongside "Flash Gordon" and "Brick Bradford" and all the others. The imagination is what made and makes the strip fun; "Buck Rogers" is raw imagination and id-produced science fiction devices and weapons and vehicles, and that combination overcomes the crude writing and art and makes for entertainment. And Buck Rogers himself is the archetypal science fiction hero--they don't call it "Flash Gordon stuff," they call it "Buck Rogers stuff." All that being said, however, modern readers will frequently be dismayed by the anti-Asian racism of "Buck Rogers," and with good reason.
Table of Contents / Annotations / Blog / Books / Patreon / Twitter / Contact me