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Bazooka Joe and His Gang Hardcover – 7 May 2013

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Abrams ComicArts; 60th edition (7 May 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419706322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419706325
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 2.5 x 15.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

The Topps Company, Inc., founded in 1938, is the preeminent creator and brand marketer of sports cards, entertainment products and distinctive confectionery.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 9 May 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One again Abrams ComicArts delivers a lovely warm glow of nostalgia with this latest Topps title. The same size as the two 'Wacky packages' titles but this book is turned sideways to better accommodate the Bazooka Joe comics. Unlike 'Wacky packages' it delves into Topps Company history especially as it relates to the origins and marketing of BJ, so there are plenty of historical pack shots of counter display boxes, trade ads, artwork of the comics and those premiums that kids could send off for.

Eight writers reveal all you need to know about Joe. Len Brown and Bhob Stewart with their essays look at Wesley Morse who drew the comics from the start in 1953 and though he died in 1963 he had produced enough art to last another twenty years. The company updated Joe in 1983 using the art of Howard Cruse for forty new strips. Jay Lynch, in the last essay in the book, looks at Joe's eye patch: the comic started in 1953 and that was the year the Ogilvy & Mather agency created a huge media stir with their ads for Hathaway Shirts featuring a model with an eye patch, so Joe got one too.

Among the several hundred illustrations in the book you'll see the first series of forty-eight comics published, reproduced 5.75 by 4 inches, most of them have an illustration of a toy to be sent off for with some comics (you needed 375 of 'em to get the Bazooka camp knife) but I was interested to see that they all had the same expiry date of June 30, 1955. Oddly there's no mention of how the premiums were chosen or who handled the hundreds of thousands of orders, counted up all comics and checked the right cash had been sent with each order.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 17 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Hey kids! Get this swell book about your favorite chew! 14 May 2013
By Robin Benson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
One again Abrams ComicArts delivers a lovely warm glow of nostalgia with this latest Topps title. The same size as the two 'Wacky packages' books but this one is turned sideways to better accommodate the Bazooka Joe comics. Unlike 'Wacky packages' it delves into Topps Company history especially as it relates to the origins and marketing of BJ, so there are plenty of historical pack shots of counter display boxes, trade ads, artwork of the comics and those premiums that kids could send off for.

Eight writers reveal all you need to know about Joe. Len Brown and Bhob Stewart with their essays look at Wesley Morse who drew the comics from the start in 1953 and although he died in 1963 he had produced enough art to last another twenty years. The company updated Joe in 1983 using the work of Howard Cruse for forty new strips. Jay Lynch, in the last essay in the book, looks at Joe's eye patch: the comic started in 1953 and that was the year the Ogilvy & Mather agency created a huge media stir with their ads for Hathaway Shirts featuring a model with an eye patch, so Joe got one too.

Among the several hundred illustrations in the book you'll see the first series of forty comics published, reproduced 5.75 by 4 inches, most of them have an illustration of a toy to be sent off for with some comics (you needed 375 of 'em to get the Bazooka camp knife, that's a lot of chewing) but I was interested to see that they all had the same expiry date of June 30, 1955. Oddly there's no mention of how the premiums were chosen or who handled the hundreds of thousands of orders, counted up all comics and checked the right cash had been sent with each order.

The last pages in the book have a Topps-Bazooka timeline showing the little square of gum (originally five flavors but just called Topps) from 1939 to 2013, the Bazooka name started in 1947. Inside the back cover there are the four bonus cards reproducing the first four BJ comics from 1954 (if you are buying book used it's worth checking with the seller that the cards are there).

Overall the wonderful look back at Bazooka Joe and anything connected with him in a handsomely designed book.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
All about Bazooka Joe 16 May 2013
By Hardyboys.us - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you ever chewed Bazooka bubblegum, you are no doubt aware of the adventures of Bazooka Joe & his gang.
This is a good book with interesting background information about both Bazooka gum and Bazooka Joe, complete with reprints of the first series of comics.
Lots of fun and highly recommended.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The good old days just got better. 18 May 2013
By R. Kolin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Boy, does this book really bring back memories! And they are good memories at that. Slide the baseball glove on the bike handlebars and head on down to the local park or nearby field for a game of catch or pick-up ball. But first, stop at the neighborhood convenience store with an empty quart soda bottle to get the nickel deposit and spend it on five pieces of Bazooka Joe gum; one for you and four to share.

I am truly enjoying this book. Not only is it filled with history of Bazooka Joe, how he was created and evolved, but it contains tons of the early comics that came inside each piece of gum. There are also four bonus card reproductions of the first four comics from 1954, as well as various other drawings by the artist, Wesley Morse.

You can almost smell the scent of the gum just holding this book. It is pink and shaped like a piece of gum, with a cover that looks like the gum wrapper. Very neat! It brings back great memories of a simpler time, where something as simple as a piece of bubble gum and good old Bazooka Joe were a great part of our growing up.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Great, But Not What You Might Expect 17 May 2013
By mrslate - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book, but please understand that it is not a collection of Bazooka Joe comics. It is instead a book about Bazooka gum, that contains many reprints of Bazooka Joe comics (but maybe not as many as I would have preferred). Still, it is a great read, and certainly small enough to get through in a single sitting. The photos are fabulous, and cover the entire spectrum of Bazookaness, from the comics to the ads and other associated materials. A special bonus is seeing some of the actual prizes one could get for 125 Bazooka Joe comics (did anyone actually send away for these prizes?), and I would have liked to see more of those. The fortunes included with the comics are also priceless: "If you are not careful you are likely to become a hermit. You must get out more and mingle with people. Find friends." Not exactly fortune cookie stuff there. Maybe the best thing about the book was reading about the original Bazooka Joe comic artist, Wesley Morse. Morse cut his teeth as a artist drawing pin-up girls and mildly pornographic comics, but went on to create the most wholesome and corny of all American comics. Oh, the lives people lead. I could go on for days. Buy this book.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Terrific presentation 23 May 2013
By Randall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the interesting things about ordering books on-line as opposed to getting them in brick and mortar bookstores is that the books can surprise you when they make it into your home. Such was the case with Bazooka Joe.

I had read a couple of reviews in various nostalgia magazines and web sites and decided to give the book a try. When I opened the box, I was greeted with a book about half the height of a regular book. It's shape mimics the shape of a slab of penny Bazooka gum. But it doesn't stop there. The dust jacket is made of a material that imitates the wax wrapping of the gum. Now I remove dust jackets when I read a book so as not to damage them. And what a treat I found below the jacket. The book cover is a Pepto pink with little white dots duplicating the corn starch that was put on the bubble gum slabs.

Inside there are several essays about the formation of Topps and the different sizes and shapes that Bazooka went through. Did you know that the cartoon characters Henry and Archie used to be featured in Bazooka (and its sister product Blony) comics? That was news to me and thankfully there are a couple of the comics reproduced here.

Another fun aspect of the comic is that there are photos of many of the premiums you could get for Bazooka comics. As a child, I would look at the offers and dream of receiving them (never ordered one, though). There are lots of photos of the premiums, the shipping boxes they came in, and the catalogs that featured them.

My only complaint (and it's a minor one that does not move my "star" rating) is that the type on the pages with the essays is very small. Even with my glasses it was a little difficult for this sixty year old man to read some of the text. Oh, well, I guess that's why they make magnifying glasses, huh?

All in all, this book is great fun and fabulously presented. Nostalgia books could take a lesson from "Bazooka Joe and his Gang" for its completeness, its mission to amuse and entertain, and the general sense of satisfaction that it brings to the reader. Highly recommended.
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