Saturday, June 9, 2012


Heavyweight boxing champion Joe Palooka was created by Ham Fisher
and made his comic-strip debut in 1930.  According to Wikipedia, at
its height, the strip was carried by over 900 newspapers.  Joe was
also no stranger to success in other media.

Quoting from Wikipedia:

The strip was adapted to a short-lived 15-minute CBS radio series,
12 feature-length films (chiefly from Monogram Pictures), nine
Vitaphone film shorts, a 1954 syndicated television series (The Joe
Palooka Story), comic books and merchandise, including a 1940s
board game, a 1947 New Haven Clock & Watch Company wristwatch, a
1948 metal lunch box featuring depictions of Joe, Humphrey and
Little Max, and a 1946 Wheaties cereal box cut-out mask. In 1980,
a mountain in Pennsylvania was named for the character.

Joe appeared in Famous Funnies, Big Shot Comics, and four issues of
his own comic book circa 1942.  The stories were likely reprints of
his comic-strip adventures reformatted for comic books.

Harvey Comics acquired the license and published 118 issues of Joe
Palooka Comics
from November 1945 to March 1961.  These were most
likely also reprints of the newspaper strip, though Joe Simon may
have drawn some new covers for the title.

A number of comics notables worked on the Joe Palooka strip and the
comic books.  The Who’s Who of American Comic Books 1928-1999 lists
a number of them: Al Avison, Al Capp, Joe Certa, Ernie Colon, Ed
Cronin, Tony DiPreta, Bob Gustafson, Warren Kremer, Jim Lawrence,
Mo Leff, Ed Moore, Jack Sparling, and Mo Weiss.

Joe Palooka Comics #65 hit the stands in my birth month of December
1951.  Harvey also published spin-off comics starring two members
of Joe Palooka’s supporting cast: Humphrey Pennyworth (no relation
to Batman’s butler that I know of) and the mute Little Max.  I’ll
be showing you their covers tomorrow and Monday.


We’re on short bloggy thing rations today through Monday because I
will be in Columbus celebrating my son Eddie’s graduation from The
Ohio State University.  Full-size bloggy things resume on Tuesday. 
© 2012 Tony Isabella

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