Richard ('Dick') Calkins studied at the Chicago Art Institute and became a cartoonist for the Detroit Free Press, before being employed by the Chicago Examiner in 1917. He served in World War I as an Airforce lieutenant and returned in 1919. He joined the John F. Dille Co., where, in 1929, he became the first artist to work on the new feature 'Buck Rogers', based on the novel by Phil Nowlan. In the same year, he also began working on 'Skyroads' with writer Lester J. Maitland. After Phil Nowlan's death in 1940, Calkins did the writing and drawing on the 'Buck Rogers' strip until 1947, when he left due to a dispute with his employers. After that, he worked mainly as a writer on comics such as 'Red Ryder' for the Dell comic books.