200711050050We sort of missed out on the drama over who would own Topps, the venerable gum and trading card company, but in case you missed it, Michael Eisner’s company came out on top, and according to this article in USA today, he’s got big plans for the company mascot Eisner has his new Mickey: It’s Bazooka Joe.
Eisner, you’ll recall, ran first Paramount and then Disney to mostly successful years. But you can take the guy out of the brand-oriented studio, but can’t take the brands out of the boy:

He wants Topps to create a movie, TV, Internet and publishing franchise around Bazooka Joe, the eye-patch-wearing kid introduced in 1953 on the waxy comics that wrap Topps’ Bazooka bubble gum.

“Bazooka Joe could be the next big hero,” Eisner, 65, says. “I’m not saying it’s going to be Raiders of the Lost Ark,” which he oversaw as CEO of Paramount Pictures. “But that would be the goal. Bazooka Joe is my new Mickey Mouse.”

While considering this much-loved character who appears solely in pun-filled comic strips packaged with squares of barely chewable gum, Eisner reveals even grander plans for the Topps name.

“There’s no reason why there can’t be Topps movies, Topps Internet, Topps television, Topps miniseries and Topps publications,” he says. “It’s all about sports and sports stories.”

Hm…wethinks Eisner may be the next guy to start a comic book company, even though Topps already did that.
A quote further in the article just about clinches it:

Still, aside from Harry Potter, “Most of the characters of the big-event movies made in the last couple of years (including Spider-Man, X-Men, and Superman) were created in comic books 30, 40, or 50 years ago,” Eisner notes.

“I’m hoping that Bazooka Joe has that same little piece of your brain, or somebody’s brain. And if it doesn’t, it’ll just be a good movie and we’ll create a new emotion around it.”

Michael, if you’re reading this, consider it our job application: there is only one story to be told about Bazooka Joe, and it’s the tragic story of how a young boy came to wear an eyepatch! We don’t want to give away the plot here, but we have one word: “Plastics.” Call us.


  1. Considering that Joe perfected the novelty redemption model, I could see him utilising the Internet to great effect. Read the comic, log on, enter the code, get an animated comic, plus earn points to redeem for games, swag, and free dental care.
    Heck, Topps could restart their card division with collectible GIFs and JPGs! They would provide the freebie content for movie websites, sports teams, and other merchandise heavy properties. They should also acquire a company that produces items on demand, like Cafe Press.
    Topps sells bubblegum, but they do it by having you collect the wrapper. That’s where the money lies. Not “plastics”, but “cheap collectibles”. Something fun for a kid that’s less than a dollar.

  2. When I was working at Ruby-Spears back in the 1980s, one of the networks had us develop a BAZOOKA JOE show that mercifully never got past the initial development stage. I suggested the show would be a good teaching tool re Joe’s eye patch: We would explain this is why your mom doesn’t want you playing with sharp sticks. The network’s resident Einstein said, “Oh, no, Bazooka Joe has two healthy eyes. He just wears the patch as a fashion statement.”

  3. I assume that Bazooka Joe lost his eye in the same adventure that made his pal Mort a germophobe who wears his turtleneck over his mouth to protect himself.

  4. I think Eisner has suffered brain damage from inhaling too much helium while trying out for the Mickey Mouse voice job.

  5. I just happened to look at the Bazookajoe.com site yesterday, wondering why the recent comics imprinted on the wrappers wrapped around the gum were so difficult to read.

    Only because of Halloween… I came across an individually wrapped piece of Bazooka gum and looked at the inner wrapper – at a cartoon that was impossible to see.

    Then I looked up the website to find a small archive of some wordless ’60’ to 1980’s wrapper comics from the past.

    Bazooka gum is now made in Mexico and marketed by a company out of Europe. So much for the palookas from Bazooka hanging out on the corners of NY. The redrawn charachters do have an new exchange kid on board from Germany named Wolfgang Spreckles. And they have a special Bazooka Joe dance.

  6. Mark Newgarden has a story about how he submitted a proposal to Tops about 15 years ago to do a mini-series about Bazooka Joe: with each issue dedicated to how he lost his eye, but they was turned it down.

    Newgarden, get on the horn to Eisner tout suite!