YEAR 1929— The late 1920s-early 1930s began a new phase of popular culture, as three significant events took place. Theatrical films converted from “silent” to “sound,” marking a major shift in the presentation of cinematic narrative. Comic strips, long dominated by humorous fare, entered the so-called “age of adventure,” as various heroes—Tarzan, Scorchy Smith and Buck Rogers-- embarked on far-flung adventures. Usually male characters were the stars of the shows, but the nature of the adventure-mythos often made it possible for damsels to get more things to do than simply standing around being in distress. A few years later, pulp magazines began focusing more than ever before on featured heroes like the Shadow and Doc Savage— making possible an intensification of the action-adventure genres in American publishing.
Thanks to a savvy bit of marketing, Nowlan’s ARMAGEDDON 2419 A.D. novel is spun off into a comic strip, while its hero “Tony Rogers” is rechristened BUCK ROGERS OF THE 25TH CENTURY. As in the Nowlan novel WILMA DEERING is pretty much the first thing Buck sees upon awakening from his big sleep. Whereas Wilma only plays a minor role in the novel, in the comic strip she continues to be a regular ray-gun wielding partner to Buck for the next seventeen years, only being phased out of the strip in 1947.