This iron-on transfer depicts the popular American space hero Buck Rogers, with ray gun in hand. Dating to the 1930s, it is one of the earliest iron-on transfers, a device in which the image could be ironed on to the clothes of youngsters.
Buck Rogers first appeared in the pulp magazine Amazing Stories in August 1928 as Anthony Rogers in Philip Francis Nowlan’s story “Armageddon 2419 A.D.” Knocked unconscious, the blond hero awakened in the 25th century to find America under attack from “Mongol” hordes, a reflection of contemporary anxiety about the "yellow peril," fear of Asians and Asian Americans.
National Newspaper Service president John F. Dille saw a potential comic strip—with one small change. Renamed “Buck Rogers,” Nowlan’s strip (illustrated by Dick Calkins) debuted in 1929, followed by a color Sunday strip in 1930 and a radio program in 1932. Merchandise, such as this iron-on decal, soon followed.
Collector Michael O'Harro donated this artifact to the Museum in 1992.
Gift of Michael O'Harro; Copyright Uunknown