There’s an old familiar saying when it comes to celebrity deaths; “They often come in groups of threes”.
First came the untimely demises from both Chris Cornell and the notorious PIG, Roger Ailes who by no means, I could give two shits about the latter as a matter of fact, I was relieved at how the racist and misogynist pig Ailes’ shifted his mortal coil to the great beyond. Or rather “below”., but when someone who creates constructive art and literature (Yes, comics can be considered constructive.) As in the case of one of my favorite conceptualists, I kinda take this shit seriously as with many of you who were affected by some form of Pop Culture that had a significant impact in your life, be it an author, artist, actor or musician.
Rich Buckler may not have been within the confines of the latter two, however, his contributions toward the comic medium as well as pop culture in general has not gone unnoticed. And sadly, now comes the “third”.
After a long battle with Cancer, Buckler (68) had ultimately succumbed to the horrific illness and it comes as a shock because I for one, was unaware of his condition after speaking to him on two different occasions not too long ago.
Rich was solely responsible for the creation of Deathlok The Demolisher-a Man resurrected from death as a cyborg struggling to maintain his humanity within a world gone mad. Deathlok was Rich’s greatest and most influential creation to the extent that a few movies and comics in one way or another, borrowed ideas and aesthetics from the cult classic seventies comic.
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Rich Buckler was hired by comics legend Jack Kirby whose early experiences of critical acclaim was during to his stint on Marvel’s Jungle Action featuring Black Panther, that was highly regarded as one of the best Marvel comics from the seventies. Then there’s also the Fantastic Four and the Death of Jean DeWolff arc from the Spectacular Spider-Man comics. But of all his contributions, it was Deathlok, who I held in the highest regard because he was the first antihero I have become a fan of since his anthology from Astonishing Tales #25. Deathlok’s mythos was rich with groundbreaking concepts and perhaps a forerunner of the cyberpunk formula. Before Terminator, Robocop or Universal Soldier, there was Deathlok!
I had the pleasure and honor of knowing Rich since arriving at the 2014 New York City Comic Con and after I had mentioned my Deathlok article during the days of Talkbacker, he quickly cited what I had written and mentioned it on his Facebook page. I received a signed Deathlok print free of charge as his way of saying thanks. Rich was both humble but very outspoken especially when it came to his views regarding the comic industry-especially when it came to Marvel but that is a story too long and controversial to post here.
Buckler has been a major influence within the comic industry who helped launch the careers of George Perez (Creator of Dc’s Cyborg who bears similarity to Buckler’s Deathlok.) and Klaus Janson.
Rich, you were truly a giant among giants within the industry and without your talents, pop culture may not have been the same.
Rest in power, friend.