An Auspicious Date in Comics History

Compiled by Cat Eldridge: I’ve no idea why three newspaper comic strips were first published on this date. Before you think that can’t be possible, I’ve double-checked and yes, they were. I think it has to do with traditional Christmas holidays at that time in American history, so they’d be launched after those holidays.

January 7, 1929 — The Buck
Rogers in the 25th Century A.D.
comic strip premiered. Philip Francis
Nowlan Was the writer for the first decade with Dick Calkins and Russell Keaton
being the artists for the first three years. At its peak in 1934, Buck Rogers
appeared in 287 U.S. newspapers. Like many other popular comic strips of that
day, Buck Rogers was reprinted in Big Little Books in a reformatted
form. 

January 7, 1929  — The Tarzan of the Apes
strip was first published.  It was drawn by Hal Foster (the first decade
of strips) and Rex Mason (nearly twenty years’ worth) with Don Kraar adapting
 Edgar Rice Burroughs story.  A full-page Sunday strip began on March
15, 1931, with artwork by Rex Maxon. A dozen artists would draw the strip
including Gil Kane and Mike Grell in its waning years. Russ Manning’s portrayal of Tarzan Is considered by
many to be the definitive one. We’ve included two strips here, one with him as
artist, the first with Hal Foster. 

January 7, 1934 — First published on this date, the Flash Gordon comic strip was inspired by the success of, and created rather obviously to compete with, the already established Buck Rogers strip. The story goes that King Features tried to purchase the rights to John Carter of Mars from Burroughs who refused, so King Features then turned to Alex Raymond, one of their staff artists, to create a similar story. The rest is history. Raymond’s strip would run until 1943 with the various artists and strips continuing for decades.


An Auspicious Date in Comics History