To accompany the TV premiere, LOOK-IN launched their own two-page Buck Rogers comic strip.
The strip ran from 18 October 1980 until 2 February 1982. The ten stories were all written by Angus P. Allen and illustrated by illustrated by Martin Asbury (S1 & S4), Arthur Ranson (S2), and John M. Burns (S3 & S5).
18 OCTOBER 1980
When Look-In bailed on Buck in early 1982, DC Thompson's long-forgotten TV tie-in TV TOPS rushed in to secure the license.
The new version of the strip ran from 4 September 1982 until 28 January 1984, issues 48 - 121, skipping a few issues along the way. TV TOPS changed its name to TOPS from issue 90.
4 September 1982
BUCK ROGERS IN THE 25TH CENTURY - THE FEATURE FILM
NBC and Universal had already looked at another creative execution for Rogers before drafting in Glen Larson to create a lighter, more tongue-in-cheek approach. Motivation for this might have been simply to make it as accessible to SF-adverse mainstream America. Or they may have wanted to clearly differentiate it from STAR WARS, while retaining the most bankable elements (space ships, robots and lasers) to avoid another legal run-in with George Lucas. Or they may have seen the relative softness of BATTLESTAR GALACTICA's ratings and decided to go in a different direction. Or maybe Larson just had a Burt Reynolds thing.
The studio and network originally envisaged a series of ten TV films but, with production underway on the first (and scripts in development for the sequels), the studio saw the success of the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA faux features in the US and overseas markets and decided to rush the pilot into theatres as a fully fledged feature.
BUCK ROGERS was released in the United States on 30 March 1979 followed by its TV premiere (slightly re-edited, partially to better set-up the subsequent weekly series) on 20 September 1979.
The feature film, accompanied by a host of merchandising, hit the UK on 26 July 1979, followed by the TV series in 1980 (where ITV placed it head-to-head against DOCTOR WHO in a Saturday night ratings battle which saw the glitzy interloper emerge victorious). ITV were contractually obliged to skip the movie but subsequently aired it as a stand-alone event.