Science fiction fans might be familiar with the trope of the ‘Space Cowboy’ - an intergalactic adventurer who explores cosmic unknowns, gets into wild adventures, and has dramatic romances. Names such as Han Solo and Captain Kirk are popularly associated with this trope and they can trace their roots back to the 1920s and 30s, when the world was introduced to a character named Buck Rogers for the first time.
Buck Rogers made his debut in the 1928 novella Armageddon 2419 A.D. by author Philip Francis Nowlan. World War I veteran Rogers is thrown into a state of suspended animation for 492 years during a workplace incident, emerging in the year 2419. After Rogers awakes he is rescued by a group of rebels and is thrown head-first into adventures throughout this technologically-advanced new world.
The novella was successful and quickly followed by sequels and adaptations into other formats including a syndicated comic strip (1929-67), radio series (1932-47), serial film (1939), and TV series (1950-51). The character would later be revived in the 1970s with a 1979 film and a prime-time TV series (1979-1981).