A BIRTHDAY SALUTE in 13 PAGES AND STRIPS, starring Buck Rogers and John Carter, Warlord of Mars

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century: The Complete Murphy Anderson Sundays: 1958-1959 (Hermes Press, 2014) and Weird Worlds #1 (DC, Aug.-Sept. 1972)


Before there was Flash Gordon, there was Buck Rogers. And before there was Superman leaping tall buildings in a single bound due to Earth’s lower gravity than Krypton, there was John Carter jumping across great lengths on the planet Mars due to its lower gravity than Earth.

Both Buck Rogers (created by Philip Nowlan) and John Carter (created by Edgar Rice Burroughs) had similar origins. Anthony Rogers (renamed for the comic strip as “Buck Rogers”) was a World War I ex-soldier who passed out in a mine from exposure to a gas and woke in the 25th century, and John Carter, an ex-Civil War soldier, fell asleep in a cave and woke to find himself transported to Mars. Both started in the pulps and graduated to comic strips and comic books. And both characters would one day be drawn by Murphy Anderson.

Early in his career, the late Anderson (born July 9, 1926) was assigned to the Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. newspaper comic strip. Two times, actually. The first was from 1947 to 1949, with his artwork barely hinting at the great talent he would become later, and the second was from 1958 to 1959, which showed his much more polished style.

Over the years, Anderson had great success with science-fiction related characters (Adam Strange, the Atomic Knights, Hawkman, Captain Comet, as well as features in Fiction House’s Planet Comics). Thus, it was only natural that when DC leased the rights to a number of Burroughs’ creations, he would get a chance at “John Carter of Mars” in several issues of Tarzan and Weird Worlds.

To celebrate the birth of this great artist, here are 13 illustrations of Buck Rogers and John Carter as drawn by Murphy Anderson:

Classic Adventure Strips #10 (Dragon Lady Press, 1987)

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. dailies for January 8 and 9, 1948. Writer: Bob Barton.

Menomonee Falls Gazette #96 (Street Enterprises, Oct. 15, 1973)

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. Sunday (Aug. 3, 1958). Writer: Jerry Siegel.

Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. dailies for March 17 and 18, 1959. Writer unknown.

Tarzan #207 (DC, Apr. 1972). Writer: Marv Wolfman.

Tarzan #207 (DC, Apr. 1972). Writer: Marv Wolfman.

Tarzan #209 (DC, June 1972). Writer: Marv Wolfman.

Weird Worlds #1 (DC, Aug.-Sept. 1972). Writer: Marv Wolfman.

Weird Worlds #2 (DC, Oct.-Nov. 1972). Writer: Marv Wolfman.

Weird Worlds #3 (DC, Dec. 1972-Jan. 1973). Writer: Marv Wolfman.


— 13 GORGEOUS ILLUSTRATIONS: A MURPHY ANDERSON Birthday Celebration. Click here.


13th Dimension contributor-at-large PETER BOSCH’s first book, American TV Comic Books: 1940s-1980s – From the Small Screen to the Printed Pagewas published by TwoMorrows. He is currently at work on a sequel, about movie comics. Peter has written articles and conducted celebrity interviews for various magazines and newspapers. He lives in Hollywood.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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1 Comment

  1. Loved Weird Worlds, but was crushed when Anderson left John Carter and Alan Weiss left Pellucidar. Was crushed further when the ERB series concluded abruptly.

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