For over 50 years, Joe Palooka was a beloved character in American pop culture. This good natured but gullible fighter appeared in syndicated comic strips, 2 reel shorts, full length movies and a long running Harvey Comic series. He would often get in trouble, but he would always get out of it.
His heyday was the 1950s, when all of the previously mentioned tie-in products were produced. By the 60s and 70s, he was considered old fashioned and quaint. In 1984, the Joe Palooka syndicated strip was canceled when the artist moved on to a new project.
After his cancellation, Joe Palooka disappeared from popular culture. Sure he had his fans, but they were few and far between. One such fan is Joe Antonacci. A ring announcer for MMA by profession, he bought the rights to the character to give him a proper revival in the a more modern context.
When Palooka was first created, boxing was king and being a boxer made sense. Nowadays, boxing has gone by the wayside and Mixed Martial Arts is the dominant fighting sport in the country. To reflect this cultural shift, the modern Palooka is an MMA fighter. He is still a moral character, but not as gullible as his older iteration.
The 2012 Joe Palooka graphic novel will be available from IDW in late 2012. The 6 issues that make up the Palooka revival are at Palooka.com.
The classic Joe Palooka strips, the movies, as well as most of the Harvey Comic books, are public domain. If you find them across the Internet, feel free to download them, as they are completely legal for you to have.