Just in time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the creation of the Bazooka Joe bubble gum line of mini-comics, the Topps company and Abrams ComicArts have teamed up to release a new 224 page book on May 14th of this year that celebrates that wonderful artwork on the insides of the Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrappers that actually ceased production just this last year.
The three panel, sometimes four panel comic strips were begun in 1953 featuring Bazooka Joe and a large cast of his neighborhood friends like Butch (AKA Toughie), Janet, Pesty, Li’l Pats, Hungry Herman, Sarge and Walkie Talkie (Joe’s talking dog).
Co-created by Wesley Morse in 1953 the Bazooka Joe character is considered to be one of the most iconic American advertising characters in the 20th Century, helped in part by the world wide distribution of the candy. This book which is a first-ever compilation of original art from the Topps archives, rare advertising artwork and promos, preliminary sketches and Bazooka Joe jokes and fortunes as well as reproductions of two hundred classic Bazooka Joe mini-comics selected by and from the collection of Jeff Shepherd. In those reproductions are the very first mini-comics series which can now be seen for the first time in forty years!
The book also features a pre-face by Talley Morse (Son of Wesley Morse) and comprehensive essays from the likes of Nancy Morse (Daughter-in-law of Wesley Morse), Kirk Taylor, veteran Topps employees Len Brown (Mars Attacks, Dinosaurs Attack!), Bhob Stewart, R. Sikoryak and an afterword penned by Jay Lynch. The essays do not just cover the subject of the Bazooka Joe icon but the life and times of Wesley Morse who got his start with the creation of the Copa girl from the Copacabana logo as well as being one of two known authors of the Tijuana Bibles from back in the 1930s.
The Bazooka Joe and His Gang 60th Anniversary book also includes four exclusive bonus trading cards and the book cover is a genuine wax wrapper, the same that covered the Bazooka Joe gum! You can pre-order this awesome look back at kid humor from the last 60 years over at the Abrams Books site or Amazon.Com.