Anyone who's ever been a kid should be familiar with Bazooka Joe, the eye-patch wearing mascot of Bazooka bubble gum from Topps. After several years of producing chewing gum, Topps entered the bubble gum market in the late 1940s. As with Fleer, Topps thought it was a good idea to include comics with their gum. Initially, the comics came from outside sources, in either a trade agreement or licensed, until they created their own character, "Bazooka, the Atom Bubble Boy". This was not the same character we know today and he was scrapped after a relatively short time. After the "Atom Bubble Boy" bombed, Topps turned again to licensing their comics from other sources until they struck paydirt in 1954 with an original concept, "Bazooka Joe and his Gang". The rest is history
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It was after World War II ended that Topps developed its Bazooka bubble gum product in Brooklyn, New York. It was named after the humorous musical instrument which entertainer Bob Burns had fashioned from two gas pipes and a funnel in the 1930s. (This contraption also gave its name to the armor-piercing weapon developed during the War.)
Bazooka, with its distinctive name, taste, and red, white and blue logo and packaging, soon became a familiar part of Americana. As a matter of fact, a psychological study of tastes and smells that bring back memories found that one of the most frequently identified items was Bazooka Bubble Gum.
Bazooka is also famous for the popular series of Bazooka Joe comics, first introduced in 1953 to add extra interest for youngsters. There are 500 to 700 different comics that Topps has developed over the years, and a new series of 75 Bazooka Joe comics are in the market right now. Besides reading them, thousands of children each year send in for the premiums offered on these comics.
Comprehensive lists of mainly U.S. bubblegum issues and the difference with issues from other countries.
Non-Sport Update magazine, the magazine for the discriminating collector of non-sport cards.