The nearly 60-year-old mini comic included in packets of Bazooka bubble gum are ending as the brand gets a visual overhaul and new flavor. According to a profile of the gum maker at the New York Times, the eye patch-wearing mascot is going away in favor of brain teasers and codes for videos and video games.
Those three or four panel gag strips have been a fixture for Bazooka gum since 1953, featuring Joe and friends along with fortunes and mail-in advertisements for toys. The comics were the invention of sometime "Tijuana Bible" cartoonist Wesley Morse as "Bazooka Joe and his Gang," back when gang activity among youths was a considerably more acceptable activity.
Bazooka is making the move to remain relevant to today's young gum chewers, mounting their first ad campaign in five years to resuscitate interest in the line starting in January.
I genuinely can't remember the last time I saw a packet of Bazooka bubblegum in a store, but that's probably because major chains like Target, 7-Eleven, and Kroger haven't kept it in stock (plus, I'm more of a candy man). However, with the redesign, those chains will be carrying Bazooka gum in its new packaging, which will include illustrations featuring Joe and his sidekick Mort.
[Source: New York Times]