Could you have been a famous hero in the place and time you have awaken to if you have accidentally underwent hibernation for more than 400 years? Who knows? But in fiction, one can attest that such is possible, and he is a great American space hero by the name Buck Rogers.
First named Anthony Rogers, who later was called William Rogers (in a television series), and finally more known, as he was nicknamed, Buck Rogers, this space-faring hero began his life as an ordinary American citizen born in 1898, became a World War I veteran, and after the war, served in an American company doing investigative works in abandoned Pennsylvanian coal mines.
That latter profession provided the twist in his fate. A cave-in in 1972 exposed him to radioactive gas as he was trapped in one of the mine’s lower levels and that left him in suspended animation for 492 years.
Upon waking in 2419, with an unknowing thought of having slept for just several hours, he found himself amidst strange forests and later, embarked on a new, heroic existence in the 25th century North America, which then was struggling with the technologically-armed rule of the invading Hans.
This hero’s character was created by Philip Francis Nowlan, an American science fiction author based in Philadelphia. Originally introduced as a fictional character in a story published in a 1928 pulp magazine, Buck Rogers gained much fame when syndicate John Flint Dille Corporation, now the National Newspaper Service syndicate, opened a contract with Nowlan for the story’s comic strip adaptation, along with enlisted illustrator Richard “Dick” William Calkins, then a Michigan-born editorial cartoonist.
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century wears a plain white jumpsuit, a rocket pack and a ray gun, and in the movie serial, a studded leather belt. There are endeavours though in attempting to redesign this hero’s appearance, to make it more suited to the modern perspective. Under Dynamite Entertainment, with painter and noted character designer Alex Ross and interior artist Carlos Rafael, Buck Rogers dons a pure black with Tron-esque complete jumpsuit, which includes a head cover and a visor, with holographic hard light effects on the suit as well as for his gun, and aptly, a propulsive jetpack.