Bazooka Joe 60th Anniversary

Review by C.J. Bunce

Until only a few years ago every gas station across the country and every local supermarket had Bazooka bubble gum on the counter as a point-of-sale purchase item and at last look three cents was a pretty fair price for the flavor packed into that loud pink rectangle of gum.  And until last year each of those pieces of gum was wrapped in a mini-comic wrapper featuring Bazooka Joe.  As nostalgia goes, what single item compares to the smell and flavor of Bazooka gum—that same smell and flavor tied to baseball cards.  Topps, the gum and trading card company, and Abrams Publishing have released a celebration of the gum and its mini-comic art with Bazooka Joe and His Gang 60th Anniversary.

On first look it’s the design that really hits this new collectible book out of the park—the book jacket has the appearance of a piece of Bazooka gum, complete with the see-through wax paper where you can almost peek at the comic on the back side.  The edge of the paper is all bubble gum pink, creating a perfect package for this coffee table look back at 60 years of the small “throwaway” comics that everyone eyed before wadding ‘em up and throwing them into the trash.  How many if these did you go through in your lifetime?  Literally thousands of the mini-comics were created, most by artist Wesley Morse, including so many in inventory that new comics were being wrapped around gum decades after Morse created them, and decades after he passed away.  This explains why kids in the 1970s were exposed to the 1950s style of artwork on the wrappers.

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