Featured Columns

June 7, 2013

FFGtGR: Bazooka Joe and Ugly Dolls!

From Friendly Ghosts to Gamma Rays

From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays, No. 149

Hello and welcome back to another edition of our all-ages comics column here on the site, From Friendly Ghosts To Gamma Rays! We were unexpectedly off last week, but we are back in action this week with a look at two great titles, so let’s hop on down to review town where I have two high recommendations for you this week!


Bazooka-Joe-Topps-Company-Abrams-BooksBazooka Joe and His Gang
Publisher: Abrams
Art: Various including Wesley Morse
Writing: Len Brown, R. Sikoryak, Bhob Stewart, Jay Lynch, and more

Once again, Abrams and Topps have teamed up and given us an awesome hardcover trip down nostalgia lane with Bazooka Joe and His Gang!

Like previous hardcover collections with Topps, which have included amazing editions collecting¬†Mars Attacks!, Garbage Pail Kids, and Wacky Packages, Bazooka Joe and His Gang go from Topps’ cult card collections to arguably their most mainstream known character, Bazooka Joe, star for 60 years of his comic strip, printed on the inside wrappers of Bazooka gum. This 60th anniversary collection is really the best guide to the world of Bazooka Joe you could find. Packed in its 200 plus pages are in depth essays on all the behind scenes, from Len Brown, Jay Lynch, R. Sikoryak, Bhob Syewart, Nancy Morse, and Talley Morse. The book reprints the original 48 comic strips from 1954 that were created by Wesley Morse (on nice huge pages compared to the original tiny wrappers they were on), as well as other Bazooka Joe strips from later collections, other comic strips used on Bazooka wrappers, tons of numerous advertisements, prizes from different eras and countries around the globe, and more! There is so much packed on these pages for any Bazooka or Pop-Culture buff, that it really is the definitive guide to this bubble gum world.

Also like the previous Topps collections they’ve put out, Abrams once again has out done itself in the presentation. The books cut the shape of a Bazooka wrapper. The cover is bound in a thick wax paper image; if you remove the jacket you see bubblegum underneath, heck, the sides of the book’s pages are a bright bubble gum pink! The paper quality is nice, and each page packed with a ton of information is carefully balanced out with an army of images ranging from the advertisements to the strips themselves. Abrams gets a tip of the hat here.

It’s odd to think upon its 60th Anniversary, only a few short months ago Topps would retire the Bazooka Joe strip and replace it with brain teasers and fun facts printed on the wrappers for their Bazooka gum. It seems a shame and waste, but who are we to question the odd decisions of the marketing gods that be. So although when you feel nostalgic you can no longer open up a piece of Bazooka for an old time laugh, you can 100% pick up this amazing collection that Abrams has amassed to pop your eyes across the page to that classic eye patch clad kid of yesteryear, Bazooka Joe.

Available in print and digital from Abrams, high recommendation!


uglydolls2Ugly Dolls: Goin’ Places!
Publisher: Viz Media
Story and Art: Sun-Min Kim, David Horvath, James Kochalka, Travis Nichols, Ian McGinty, Phillip Jacobson, and Mike Le Kelly

Viz Media’s Viz Kids line has come out with some great titles for the all-ages comics scene over the past two years, and not just manga. Proof in the pudding is this fantastic collection of comics based off the Ugly Doll line of dolls, toys, and more, which some of you may have gotten a sample of on Free Comic Book Day. The collection, titled Ugly Dolls: Goin’ Places!, is a set of fantastic, colorful comics that are sure to please both fans and casual readers alike.

This comic is 80 large glossy pages of goodness, as original Ugly Doll creators Sun-Min Kim and David Horvath, along with James Kochalka, Travis Nichols, Ian McGinty, Phillip Jacobson, and Mike Le Kelly, present to us an array of comics starring Ugly Doll faves Babo, Wage, Tray, Ice-Bat, and more! Each adventure takes us to a different place, from the moon to the wild west, even the everyday, but each one done with a special touch of humor in which combined with the great visuals, really makes the book pop and excel. Tales such as “Picture This” will split your sides on the punch line, while “To The Top” has a smartly executed narrative gag throughout as it plays on the rising band aspect. Cult fans of James Kochalka will be happy to find his work in this collection too, in a lovable, laugh-out-loud story.

Ugly Dolls: Goin’ Places! is an excellent book, out from Viz in print. High recommendation to put a smile on your face!


That’s it for this week, see you next!

Drew McCabe



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