The first couple of years into the new century saw a continued release of the Yoe! series of comics which began in 1996. In the works however, was something special to celebrate Bazooka Joe's 50 years of being wrapped around bubble gum. Some evidence strongly suggests Bazooka Joe first appeared in 1954. However, Topps chose 2003 to celebrate the 50th anniversary and decided to dig into the archives and resurrect 50 select comics to include with Bazooka. It was a nice idea actually since most of them hadn't been seen in thirty years or more. Adding to the excitement, a contest was promoted where one lucky person had the opportunity to win $50,000 if they could find the comic that said something other than "Sorry, this is not a winner".
The range of comics chosen for reissue is surprisingly good in that they extend from 1962 through 1983. The lettering was reset, making them easier to read. Unfortunately, they are not numbered which discourages collecting. The black & white comic in the sample above is NOT a misprint or rare, as some people think. In fact, two comics in the set were intentionally printed in black & white. Gum wrappers that say: "Game Piece Inside" or "Save Comics, Get Stuff" will contain these anniversary reissued comics.
These comics have been released more than once since 2003. The main difference between the series is found in the 'prize' text. Here are three variations. Notice the price in the t-shirt offer.
After about a three year run, it's time to kiss the anniversary comics goodbye. You might want to complete your collection now while they are still available in stores. Topps announced in a March press release, that a brand new series of Bazooka Joe comics, with new characters and packaging, will be coming our way ... soon.