Bazooka Candy Brands, a division of The Topps Company, owned by former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, is collaborating with animation artists to give Bazooka Joe—the 60-odd-year-old bubblegum mascot—a makeover for a new generation.
Ben Balistreri (How to Train Your Dragon), Rob Lilly (Nickelodeon Animation Studios), Ben Reynolds (mobile games Ghostbusters and Monster Pet Shop) and Victor Intrasombat (Clockwork Animation) will each design potential new looks for the eyepatch-sporting youngster. The designs will be shared weekly on BazookaJoe.com, where fans can vote for their favorites. The winning design will be unveiled in June, and new comics and gum wrapper jokes, like the one below, will follow later in the year:
“Bazooka Joe is an American icon and important part of our brand’s heritage,” said Bazooka Candy Brands senior brand manager Nicole Rivera. “Reimagining Bazooka Joe was the ultimate step in the Bazooka brand revitalization and we expect to see continued growth and excitement as a result.”
Bazooka Joe, whose name was also determined through a contest, was designed by pornographic cartoonist Wesley Morse in the 1950s.
When Michael Eisner acquired the character in 2007, he claimed that, “Bazooka Joe is my new Mickey Mouse.” His plans for a Bazooka Joe film, announced in 2009, have yet to come to fruition.