Lieutenant Wilma Deering got her start in 1928, when Philip
F. Nowlan's novel Armageddon 2419 AD was serialized in Amazing
Stories, illustrated by Frank R. Paul.
When Lieutenant Deering first discovered Anthony "Buck"
Rogers on a routine patrol he was climbing out of the cave he had been
trapped in for 500 years, into an America devastated by "Han" invaders.
Their meeting place being in country infested by bandits, she tries to
shoot him with her ray gun first (It was not usual for the woman to make
the first move in those days), but he saves her life and they went on to
beat back the invaders. Buck and Wilma's adventures continued in a 1929
sequel, The Airlords of Han.
John Flint Dille hired Nowlan to create a comic strip for his National
Newspaper Service syndicate. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,
drawn by Dick Calkins, first appeared in the comic pages on January 7, 1929, and Buck and Wilma fought off the "Mongol"
invaders continuously until 1967.
The strip was so popular that Buck Rogers branced out into other media;
Adele Ronson was the voice of Wilma Deering throughout the 1932-1939
Buck Rogers radio serial on CBS.
In 1939, Buck and Wilma moved to the silver screen in a 12-part film
serial with Buster Crabbe as Buck and Constance Moore as Lieutenant
As the Television Age began, the 24th Century was a meme sure to be revisited,
and so in 1950 and 1951, Lou Prentis played as Lieutenant Deering
every Tuesday night on ABC from 8:00 to 9:00.
No analogue of Wilam Deering appeared in the Daffy Duck short "Duck Dodgers in the 24th 1/2 Century!!!"; Porky Pig does not qualify as a love interest, sorry.
Finally, in a 1979 movie and a 1979-1981 TV series, eye-popping Erin Grey played
Wilma Deering, now promoted to Colonel, opposite Gil Gerard's Buck. This
time, they were struggling to survive after a nuclear war, as well as fighting
off a few of Earth's former colonies feeling their oats, having become
more independent after losing touch with the mother world.
I wonder who will be playing Wilma when the 25th century finally does roll around.
Ken Pierce Books - BUCK ROGERS IN 2430 A.D.