Buck Rogers is a fictional space opera character created by Philip Francis Nowlan in the novella Armageddon 2419 A.D., subsequently appearing in multiple media. In Armageddon 2419 A.D., published in the August 1928 issue of the pulp magazine, Amazing Stories, the character's given name was "Anthony". A sequel, The Airlords of Han, was published in the March 1929 issue. Philip Nowlan and the syndicate John F. Dille Company, later known as the National Newspaper Service syndicate, were contracted to adapt the story into a comic strip. After Nowlan and Dille enlisted editorial cartoonist Dick Calkins as the illustrator, Nowlan adapted the first episode from Armageddon 2419, A.D. and changed the hero's name from "Anthony" to "Buck". The strip made its first newspaper appearance on January 7, 1929. Later adaptations included radio in 1932, a film serial, a television series (in which his first name was changed from "Anthony" to "William"), and other formats. The Buck Rogers strip 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 Jack Swift (1930-1937), Brick Bradford (Central Press Association, 1933-1987), Don Dixon and the Hidden Empire (Watkins Syndicate, 1935-1941), Speed Spaulding (John F. Dille Co., 1940-1941), and John Carter of Mars (United Feature Syndicate, 1941-1943). The adventures of Buck Rogers in comic strips, movies, radio and television became an important part of American popular culture. It was on 22 January 1930 that Buck Rogers first ventured into space aboard a rocket ship in his fifth newspaper comic story Tiger Men From Mars. This popular phenomenon paralleled the development of space technology in the 20th century and introduced Americans to outer space as a familiar environment for swashbuckling adventure. Buck Rogers has been credited with bringing into popular media the concept of space exploration, following in the footsteps of literary pioneers such as Jules Verne, H. G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
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