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These days, science fiction is considered fairly mainstream.  Many of the top box-office films of the past few decades have been SF movies, and science fiction novels are considered a legitimate genre along with detective fiction, westerns and romance.  True, it is raily considered as Serious Literary Fiction, but neither is it dismissed as a trashy fringe genre.  Yet just a couple generations ago, it was not uncommon for science fiction to be dismissed as "That crazy Buck Rogers stuff."

Buck Rogers has somewhat faded from the popular imagination, a dim memory of pop culture past; which is unfortunate, because although Heinlein was the first SF author to break into the "slicks" and Bradbury the first American SF writer to be taken seriously by the Literati, it was Buck who first made anti-gravity-propelled leap from the pulp magazines to the broader popular culture.

Rogers first appeared in a story by Philip Francis Nowlan in the August 1928 issue of Amazing Stories titled Armageddon 2419 A.D.  As it happens, that same issue featured the first part of E.E. Smith's The Skylark of Space.  Although the cover of that issue illustrated a scene from Skylark, its image of a man in a flight suit suspended in the air might well have inspired the classic look of Buck Rogers.

John F. Dille, president of a newspaper syndicate, read the story and thought it would make a good premise for a comic strip.  Philip Nowlan agreed to write the strip and a cartoonist named Dick Calkins was hired to draw it.

The first few strips followed the outline of the original novella.  Anthony Rogers, renamed "Buck" for the comic strip, is a chemical engineer investigating strange phenomena related to an abandoned mine in a remote corner of Western Pennsylvania.  A cave-in traps him in the mine and he is overcome by strange fumes which put him in a state of suspended animation.  

He awakens 500 years later.  The America he knew is no more; the fields and towns of Pennsylvania are now a forested wilderness.

He encounters Wilma Deering, a member of a small community living in the forest, and rescues her from a group of outlaws.  This, by the last time Wilma ever needs rescuing -- in the novel, anyway.  She explains to Rogers what has happened while he was asleep.

America has been conquered by a Mongolian race called the Han who have obliterated its cities and all but exterminated its population.  The Han Airlords posess devastating disintigration rays which, with the control of the skies afforded by their huge airships, make them seemingly invincible.  America has been reduced to a wilderness and the remnant of surviving Americans live a furtive existence in the forests where they are hunted by the Han for sport.  

Yes, this is quite racist.  It was the 1920s and stories about the "Yellow Peril" were popular.  It's not much of an excuse, but it's all I got.  I suppose we're lucky, given the era, that the story didn't include a comical colored servant.

But the Americans have slowly rebuilt their civilization in secret, forming tribal units called "gangs."  In their underground laboratories they have made scientific discoveries which will enable them to strike back.   Chief among these is Inertron, an anti-gravity substance discovered shortly before the Han invasion which the Americans have re-discovered.  They use this material to make contra-gravity harnesses which allow the wearer to make tremendous leaps in the air.  Inertron also has the advantage of being impervious to the Han "dis rays".

Wilma brings Rogers back to her gang, where his knowlege of forgotten WWI military tactics proves useful in the guerilla war against the Yellow Blight.  (I mentioned the racism, didn't I?)  His acumen and his leadership qualities become so evident that he quickly rises to "boss" of the gang and becomes involved with coordinating with the other regional gangs in the war against the Han.

In the book also get a good deal of what I call the National Geographic stuff:  descriptions of the society in which Rogers finds himself.  Although the comic strip specifically called the Han invaders "Reds", the society of the American underground is by neccessity cooperative and socialistic.  The good of the Community is of greatest importance, because without the Community the Individual is little more than a hunted animal.

And although I've made slighting comments about racism regarding the Mongol Han, I have to admit that Nowlan's 25th Century society is remarkably egalitarian towards women.  True, when Buck first meets Wilma she is in peril and needs to be rescued, but she doesn't make a habit out of it the way some of Edgar Rice Burroughs's heroines seem to.  Wilma's a soldier, and in her gang every citizen, male or female, is expected to rotate between civilian jobs working in the underground factories which produce the community's needs and serving as a soldier, defending the community, watching against Han raids and engaging in commando attacks on the gang's enemies.  I can't say that her character is really written with a lot of depth, but she is presented as a strong woman and as an equal, usually fighting right along side of Buck.  In The Airlords of Han, the sequel to Armageddon 2419, Rogers is taken captive for a time and we later learn that Wilma, and not some male lieutenant, has assumed his position as gang boss.  

The novel focuses a great deal on military tactics and working out the uses of the 25th Century wonders:  the Han's "dis" and "rep" rays, and the American's inertron, ultraphones and rocket pistols.  In the comic strip, the focus is more on action and the visual aspect of the gadgets.  The plot of the comic strip quickly diverges from the novel.  In the book, a major subplot invovled the regional gangs coming together to form a united organization; in the comic strip, the united "org" already exists, with it's capital in a fortified city at Niagra Falls.  Buck also does a lot more traveling around North America in the comic strip, a conscious decision on the part of the syndicate to make the strip more appealing to newspapers in other parts of the country.

At one point in the strip, Buck visits one of the western "orgzones" with a predominately Indian population.  Buck is surprised to learn that the aren't backwards and primitve at all; in fact, they have a considerable air force, comprised of easy-to-build and maintain biplanes.

The comic strip also introduced new characters into the story, most notably the brainy Dr. Huer and the man who would become Buck's nemisis:  "Killer" Kane.  (Much later, it would be revealed that Kane's first name was "Coe".  And that he had a brother named "Nova".  Don't know if he had a sister named "Candice.")  Kane is Wilma's ex-friend and when we first meet him he is the best fighter in the gang.  Buck quickly bests him with his superior U.S. Army training and Kane never forgives him for that humiliation.  Of course Buck's exposing him as a traitor selling out to the Han didn't make Kane any less antagonistic.  Kane is a slimy creep, and with his girlfriend Ardala make the perfect villainous couple.

For its first year, the strip involved the war against the Han, but over time the "Yellow Peril" stereotypes began to soften.  I suspect this might have been because the syndicate wanted the strip to be accessable to a wider audience.  Buck discovered a secret society of Han dissidents who sympathized with the American's plight and condemned their government's corrupt system.

The war against the Han came to a dramatic turning point when chance enabled the Americans to capture the Han viceroy of North America.  With this important hostage, Buck and Wilma were sent on a diplomatic mission to negotiate personally with the Grand Emperor of all the Han.

To Buck's surprise, the Emperor turns out to be a pleasant fellow, if a bit over-trusting.  It seems he's been spending most of the last century in scientific pursuits, and was under the impression that his viceroy was using their advanced Han science to uplift and enlighten the backwards races of North America.  The Emperor is shocked -- shocked, I say -- to hear that this is not the case.  He promises that the Viceroy shall receive due punishment and signs a lasting peace treaty with the American orgs.

This marked an important turning point in the strip.  The end of the Second War for Independence, as the novel called it, is a bit abrupt and anticlimactic in the comic strip; but I think that if the strip had continued to be America vs. the Yellow Blight, it would not have endured.  Even before this point, the strip had begun to explore other corners of the world, like South American sky pirates.  Now the strip turned its attention to space.

Buck encounters a rocket from outer space bearing tiger-like aliens from the planet Mars.  This first meeting is fairly benign, all things considered, but the Tiger-Men of Mars quickly develop into major antagonists.  (And yes, I pay tribute to them in the "Cat-Men from Mars" storyline of my own webcomic).  But the important thing is that this meeting between humans and Martians changed "Buck Rogers" from an early version of Red Dawn to something more inspiring and more wonder-filled: a story of rockets and adventure and interplanetary exploits.

Besides the Martian Tiger-Men, Buck encountered other exotic alien races and wonders on other planets in the solar system.

Buck Rogers became popular enough to be spun off into a radio program, the first ever science fiction series on the futuristic medium of radio, which aired off and on from 1932 to 1940.

In 1934, Buck gained his only serious rival, a dashing blond polo player named Flash Gordon.  Drawn by Alex Raymond, Flash Gordon had frankly better artwork, and his adventures leaned more towards Burroughs-style planetary romance than gadget-based space opera like Buck.

Universal produced a big-budget Flash Gordon movie serial starring Olympic swimming star Buster Crabbe which was popular enough to lead to a similar Buck Rogers serial (recycling many of the costumes and sets from Flash).  Buster Crabbe starred in that one too, and was happy not to have to peroxide his hair.

Buck's first appearance on TV was in 1950.  He had already been beaten to the airwaves by the cheesy but popular Captain Video.  Buck aired opposite Uncle Miltie's Texaco Star Theatre and lasted only a single season.  No copies of any episodes have survived.

Over a quarter century later, thanks to the success of Star Wars, he returned to TV, played by Gil Gerard.  The TV series also occasioned a revival of the comic strip, which had ended in 1967, but was brought back for a brief run from 1979-1983.  At the time that series aired, I used to have arguments with a friend of mine over Buck Rogers vs. Battlestar Galactica.  In retrospect, I have to admit he was right; Galactica probably was better.

The '90s saw an attempt to revitalize Buck Rogers.  TSR, the publisher of Dungeons & Dragons, got the rights to produce a role-playing game based on Buck's adventures, which they supplimented with a line of paperback novelizations and comic books.  I thought they did a good job of combining themes popular in contemporary SF like genetic engineering, terraforming and artificial intelligence with the Buck Rogers characters.  The line faltered, however.  TSR put out a second, completely different game based on the original comic strip with Mongol airlords, jumping belts and the works.  I loved it because I love retro stuff, but the general gaming public disagreed.

Since then, Buck has kind of faded into the background again.  Sometimes a new Buck Rogers project is announced, but so far none of them have come to much.  But I prefer to think that Buck Rogers isn't really dead.

He's just in suspended animation.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar in the 25th Century (21+ / 0-)

    You can read more of my explorations into the Worlds of Science Fiction starting at my Nifty Sci-Fi/Fantasy Index.  Because it's nifty.

    Or you can read my thrilling Space Opera Webcomic Hannibal Tesla Adventure Magazine, at my website: Kurtoons Online.  It has Tiger-Men from Mars!  Rowrl!

    And you can read Dark Redemption, an urban fantasy set in a city where creatures of magic dwell behind the shadows, at my other blog: Cold Steel and India Ink.  No cat-men, but we will be meeting some Cyperpunk Faeries.

    I live for feedback!

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 05:47:30 PM PDT

  •  "Buck Rogers in the 25th Century" was one of my (11+ / 0-)

    favorite TV shows back in my younger days.  I saw every episode several times.

    But yes, Galactica was better.

  •  When I entered high school... (6+ / 0-)

    ...we moved from Chicago to Waukegan, and I discovered that Buck Rogers had been a regular strip in the Waukegan News-Sun. I spent many an hour on Saturdays in the Waukegan Public Library enjoying them on microfilm!

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 06:57:45 PM PDT

    •  Buck Rogers, the movie! (6+ / 0-)

      Saw that at the long-gone Evanston Theaters on Central Street. Both Erin Gray (Wilma Deering) and Pamela Hensley (Princess Ardala) made impressions on this group of middle-school lads. Unfortunately, so did the awful disco music.

      I remember it was an overall entertaining way to spend a coupletwo-tree hours, but also thinking both, "1987 isn't that far away," and "That ain't Chicago!"

      As for the TV show, good premise, but that second season? Oy, vey!

  •  Flash Gordon was a knock-off of Buck as well (6+ / 0-)

    and even got a movie made (early 80s maybe?) which had one of my favorite Shakespearian actors, Brian Blessed, who also was in the Black Adder tv shows.

    But yes, rereading my battered old copy of Armageddon 2419 AD, the racism is blatant and cringeworthy.  You mention Heinlein - he made a somewhat similar book in 'Farnham's Freehold', although it's certainly been argued that he was doing it to actually point out racism, rather than to embrace it.  But it fed the notion that white people have to worry about a time when they aren't in the majority any more, that other races might 'do unto them' as they have been done unto.

    •  The Day After Tomorrow (8+ / 0-)

      I think that Heinlein's The Day After Tomorrow (also known as Sixth Column) has more obvious parallels with Armageddon 2419, in terms of America being conquered by the Yellow Blight and fighting to win it back.  In Heinlein's defense, he was writing to an outline his editor insisted upon and he tried to mitigate the racism as much as he could.  Didn't help a lot.

      But now that you mention it, Farnham's Freehold also features 20th Century characters thrust into a future where America is a wilderness and a Non-White Race dominates the world.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:16:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Nice chunk of early SF history here, thanks (7+ / 0-)

    I was pretty interested just to get a sense of Buck Rogers in the different media, and how the storytelling, realism and character development compared. Then you went and dropped in Flash Gordon, Captain Video and Battlestar Galactica.

    You say, of the second game, "I loved it because I love retro stuff, but the general gaming public disagreed."

    I think retro has grown more popular since then, and steampunk has pushed some boundaries of taste. I wouldn't be surprised if someone went back to the original Buck Rogers books, and wrote more in between the lines, to come up with a darker and more complex iteration of the hero - as Dark Knight did for Batman.

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:02:46 PM PDT

  •  What are the greatest onscreen SF stories? (6+ / 0-)

    If you haven't already written that diary, quarkstomper, I expect some Kossack has. At least as a weekend free-for-all, with a poll.

    Star Trek has had so many iterations, and now seems to be getting the movies it deserves (I haven't seen them, but Zachary Quinto was the best thing about Heroes). It'll be interesting to see someone reinvent Star Wars. And I've heard that Ridley Scott will be making a sequel to the best SF movie of all time (no, not Alien).

    But there's been a whole new level of storytelling introduced to the best TV series of the last decade, with the rise of the showrunner. It is for TV what the late '60s into the '70s was for movies: The age of the auteur. Except showrunners foreground great writing more than anything else.

    You have to be able to tell stories on three levels at once: Each episode tells a tale, which feeds into the larger arc of each season, which adds up over the life of the show to a novel or three pushed through a different medium.

    We are living in the golden age of TV. Noone has developed deeper characters or larger, subtler stories than The Sopranos, The Wire, Mad Men, House, Breaking Bad, Deadwood, Game of Thrones . . .

    But the only SF series I've seen that really reaches that level is Battlestar Galactica. J. J. Abrams has been preparing for Star Trek & Star Wars his whole career, and Fringe had some brave ideas and compelling story to it. The last few seasons of Doctor Who are pretty magical, but I think they're ultimately more about a rollicking good time than storytelling. Perhaps I'm unfair - there's a lot to them.

    I'm watching an ambitious, and mostly successful new Sf on hulu: Defiance.

    Are there any other SF TV shows that compare, for depth, thrill and complexity of storytelling, with (the 2nd) Battlestar Galactica? Or any SF movies that are as finely detailed and realized, as breathtaking as Bladerunner?

    "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

    by Brecht on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 07:21:47 PM PDT

    •  Good Stories? Early Dr. Who, Farscape, B5. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Ahianne, RiveroftheWest

      If you can find ones from the first through roughly the fifth Doctors (midway through Peter Davison is when they started coming off the rails, if I remember correctly), watch them. There were some good stories in there.

      Babylon 5 revolved around (sorry about that) good stories, and was a great ride from start to finish.

      As for Defiance, it's off to a good start. I'm very interested to see where they take it. Speaking of Rockne O'Bannon, check out "Farscape." A lot of good stories there, too. Also.

      •  I was a Tom Baker fan, until Matt Smith came along (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        quarkstomper, Ahianne, Railfan

        and took it to a higher level. Though it's more Steven Moffat's baby, and the budget for serious effects made a big difference.

        Early Star Trek had the same problem re. budget - but they had some very good stories.

        I have to be careful, seeking out new shows, as I'm prone to addiction. That's why I have hulu instead of netflix: Less room for time-wasting. But that's two recs for Babylon 5, so I'll be sure and look into it, when I have some time on my hands. I have thought about Farscape, too. Thanks.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:31:38 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I was a Tom Baker fan until David Tennant... (4+ / 0-)

          ...came along.  Matt Smith was good, and got me into it again - but Tennant is the best there ever was, IMHO.

          BTW:  Firefly.

          It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

          by Jaime Frontero on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:31:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agree about 'Firefly'; disagree about Tennant. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            quarkstomper, RiveroftheWest

            He is good, very good - 2nd best, IMO. Tom Baker was the Sean Connery of Doctors - he had the wit, the personality, fun stories. Tennant was written as a souped-up Baker: Same DNA, faster and funnier.

            Matt Smith is the same process taken further. In the Baker years, it might take six episodes to tell one story. Moffat just crams every frame to the brim, and fits a movie into one or two shows. It's fine that you're in Tennant's corner. It seems to me, though, that Smith is the best actor to fill the role - I think he's won more awards for his acting than the other ten Doctors together.

            "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

            by Brecht on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:02:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I think Tennant takes the award... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              quarkstomper, RiveroftheWest

              ...for awards, followed by Eccleston.

              I suspect that part of my preference for Tennant lies in the production crew.  His name eludes me at the moment, but the main continuity guy left with Tennant, and for me that may have made a difference.  He'd been with the franchise for as long as I've been watching it, I think.  Maybe longer (I started with Baker - you never forget your first Doctor).

              Thinking about though, you're right - Tennant really was a continuation of Baker in many ways.

              D'you think John Hurt will be the new Doctor?  I hear his name floated - and panned.

              It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

              by Jaime Frontero on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:26:11 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Very sneaky and underhanded. Here we are having (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                quarkstomper, RiveroftheWest

                a perfectly civil argument, and you start citing facts at me. Hmph.

                No idea about Hurt. I watched the first two seasons of Smith on DVD, and am presently on hiatus (until I go to Amoeba and splurge on more).

                I will say, though, that after Tennant won me over, it took me some time to warm up to Smith. But his first assistant was pretty win. And Moffat's good at wacky but clever, coherent plotting, and nasty villains.

                I followed Baker because he was on every week when I was going to boarding school in England.

                "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

                by Brecht on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:33:45 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  Other SF TV shows... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brecht, Ahianne, Railfan, RiveroftheWest
      Are there any other SF TV shows that compare, for depth, thrill and complexity of storytelling, with (the 2nd) Battlestar Galactica?
      I'd hold Babylon 5 up against any TV series, SF or conventional, for storytelling. In addition to the wikipedia article, check out the Lurker's Guide for further depth, including J. Michal Straczynski's episode-by-episode comments.

      Under SOPA, you could get 5 years for uploading a Michael Jackson song. That's one more year than the doctor who killed him.

      by Charles CurtisStanley on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 08:53:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  OMG, Brecht: (5+ / 0-)

      Best onscreen sf?

      You have to start with Forbidden Planet. Its effects look a bit cheesy now, but it's a classic.

      Nobody agrees with me, but I liked ST: Voyager the best of the offshoots, partly for Kate Mulgrew & partly b/c I thought it had the spirit of the original with better acting and immensely better special effects. (The first episodes are a bit stiff, I admit, but the show improves as the season progresses.)

      2001: A Space Odyssey. Need I say more?

      And I've never seen it, but A Clockwork Orange is supposed to be quite good (I read the book eons ago).

      Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

      by Youffraita on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 10:50:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah, well, if you start with Shakespeare . . . (3+ / 0-)

        But the hero looked to me like a young, serious version of that guy from the Naked Gun movies.

        Yes, I have to see 2001 again. Maybe read the book first.

        Clockwork Orange - shocking, brilliant, disturbing, way ahead of its time. Here's Stephen Spielberg explaining how it was punk, 15 years before punk happened.

        "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

        by Brecht on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:11:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Aha, I'm wrong. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brecht, quarkstomper, RiveroftheWest

          I started to write that I didn't think Clarke wrote 2001, just the novelization, but Wiki says I'm wrong:

          2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 British-American science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was co-written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by Clarke's short story "The Sentinel". Clarke concurrently wrote the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey which was published soon after the film was released.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          Agree w/Spielberg about Clockwork Orange, but I was never much into the punk scene. Some of the music was great, but otherwise...meh.

          Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

          by Youffraita on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 11:35:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I wasn't a Voyager fan (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brecht, RiveroftheWest

        I think the "lost in space" premise put me off a bit. Still, I have enjoyed pretty much every episode I've watched. In particular, the one where they encounter a 2 dimensional species that mistakes and old Flash Gordon style serial being studied by a crew member for reality, forcing Janeway to enter into an alternate reality as the character of Queen Arachnia.

        "A Clockwork Orange" is good but I've always thought it a little over rated. I prefer "2001: A Space Odyssey."

        Nothing human is alien to me.

        by WB Reeves on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 02:15:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As an aside to your aside about racism... (4+ / 0-)
    And although I've made slighting comments about racism regarding the Mongol Han...
    It's also interesting to note that in this first installment of Smith's Skylark series, the first few paragraphs are racially dismissive of the (black) guy who cleans up after Seaton's first copper crash through the wall of his lab.

    What's interesting about it is how thoroughly this passage was excised - and how quickly.

    There are only three extant versions (out of countless reprints through the century) of Skylark that have the original, racist passages:  the 8/28 Amazing, the uncommon 1st edition (Providence: Buffalo Book Co.; 1946) of the whole book, and a relatively recent (1991) Easton Press edition - Frederik Pohl's introduction to which omits the issue; although Pohl was quite aware of it, and mentioned it in other writings.

    It ain't called paranoia - when they're really out to get you. 6 points.

    by Jaime Frontero on Sun Jul 14, 2013 at 09:40:05 PM PDT

  •  It had weird stuff sometimes (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    quarkstomper, Brecht, RiveroftheWest

    The 1950's daily strip had some very weird episodes.  There was this blonde babe (no other word will do) who had a mechanical bird named Buzzy who would suddenly fly around and wreck the joint and kill people.  The babe would go around and say stuff like "I'm frightened, Buck!  Hold me HARD!" and then the bird would fly around and wreck stuff.  Well, Buck figured out that the two events were related and that the babe (she looked like Gidget) was cueing the bird with this key word, "HARD."  This setup enabled Buck and the Babe to have several days of argument about the word "HARD," which was always capitalized.

    Also there was Dr. Polaris who was greatly accomplished as a physician or something and who was pretty handy with her ray gun.  I had a gigantic crush on Dr. Polaris that kept me up nights.  Fortunately I was 7 so nobody cared.

  •  Classic Buck (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Brecht, RiveroftheWest

    Something I probably should have mentioned in the piece, but didn't get around to it.  When I was in high school, our art teacher had a big coffee-table book titled The Collected Works of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a huge volume collecting most of the first year or two of the comic strip and selected storylines from succeeding decades.  I don't remember if I read it before or after I bought my paperback copy of Armageddon 2419 A.D., but I enjoyed both.

    "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

    by quarkstomper on Mon Jul 15, 2013 at 06:05:53 PM PDT

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