For Beatty, telling Buck’s story and reimagining the character was incredibly satisfying – to the point of it being a personal milestone. “As I’ve said both here and in previous interviews, Buck is such an important part of science fiction that I came to the project with great expectations on all fronts,” Beatty said. “We wouldn’t have Han Solo or ‘Farscape’s’ John Crichton or James T. Kirk without a literal trailblazing character like Buck. For me, having a chance to write him and ‘discovering’ a voice for the character that felt true and new at the same time was both challenging and exciting as a writer. In my career to date, I’ve written Batman, Buck Rogers, and now The Phantom, three of comics’ and science fiction’s original and most influential characters. I consider that a personal milestone.”
“For me, the joy of writing is always more about the journey than the destination. I like the fact that sitting down with Buck is always an exercise in discovery, both for him and me,” Beatty continued. “When it’s all said and done, which I hope isn’t for a long, long time, I think I’ll have more perspective. Right now, I think I’m happiest with Buck’s perspective and self-reflection… and the fact that-as you’ll see if you read the entire initial twelve-issue cycle-that Buck may have left the 21st century, but it hasn’t forgotten about him. The last page of issue #12 encapsulates everything a ‘Season Ender’ should: A loose thread is tied up and the lives of the characters are changed forever with a jaw-dropping moment.”
But for Beatty, the most exciting aspect of recrafting and reimagining the world of Buck Rogers could be boiled down to one thing… “Hello! They live in the future,” he said. “Buck originally debuted nine months before the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Before almost the entire Earth was torn asunder by World War II. Yet there was optimism that the Future would somehow be better. Sure, there would still be conflicts, but the human spirit would endure. I’ve been writing Buck through this generation’s own economic meltdown and uncertainty, the lingering fear of terrorism, and wars on two fronts. But like Buck, I still think tomorrow will be brighter… as long as there are jet packs and ray-guns. What’s appealing to me about these characters is that Buck lives for tomorrow, while his new friends and foes in the future consider it simply the now. Plus, it’s a fun intellectual exercise to postulate how things change and how things stay the same 500 years later.”
Even with Issue #12 heralding the end of Buck Rogers for the moment, Beatty isn’t done with the Buck Rogers universe just yet. Both the Wilma Deering miniseries releasing from Dynamite and Beatty’s desire to pick up again with Buck Rogers in the future are two very big points for the possibility of the series continuing. “Oh, I’m not done yet! If anything, I’m only sorry that ‘Season One’ didn’t have more Ardala, but we’ll see more of her in ‘Moonfall,’ the arc running in issues #11 and #12.”
“Endings are always hard,” Beatty continued. “But as I’ve said, there’s more to tell. And I’d be hard-pressed to chronicle ‘The Last Buck Rogers’ story just yet. Except for our ‘Zero Issue,’ ‘The Life and Death of Buck Rogers.’ Buck’s adventures have just started.”
“Buck Rogers” #12 blasts off May 26. Read the full first issue here on CBR.