Robot 6

IDW Publishing brings Joe Palooka back to comic-book ring

Joe Palooka will return to the ring later this year in what IDW Publishing bills as the first-ever full-length MMA comic book.

The classic comic-strip boxer was resurrected last year by ring announcer Joe Antonacci, who purchased the rights to the character and reimagined him as a Mixed Martial Arts fighter in a six-issue online series by writer Mike Bullock and artists Fernando Peniche and Matt Triano. Adding letterer Josh Aitken and colorist Bob Pedroza into the mix, IDW will release those comics in print.

Created by cartoonist Ham Fisher, the Joe Palooka comic strip appeared in newspapers from 1930 to 1984, following the adventures of a good-natured (if not overly bright) boxing champion. The character proved so popular that he starred in radio serials, feature films, comic books and a syndicated television series.

The new version centers on an MMA fighter who travels the world trying to clear his name while competing to earn a sport in the legendary Legion of Combat fight series.

“This represents a huge moment for me, and is a culmination of a real team effort,” Antonacci said in a statement. “To sign on with a tremendous publisher like IDW and to have the opportunity to bring Joe Palooka to comic book and MMA fans worldwide is a tremendous opportunity. We’re also proud to have sponsored many UFC fighters and plan to expand our relationship with them by having UFC fighters appear in the comic book as well.”



A “fighter who travels the world trying to clear his name”…

…a grim-n-gritty Joe Palooka…?!!?

Please… somebody… just shoot me now…

Martin Costello

August 7, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hang on, wasn’t Heart from Image Comics was about MMA? The 4-issue series that came out last year and is just out in trade paperback?

Yes. I was just about to mention Heart, so their claim to fame is nonexistent. I expect better from large companies like IDW. Someone there has to know about Heart.

The IDW press-release and the site hyping this claim that this is the first MMA comic book produced in the United States, yet SULK #2, by Jeffrey Brown and published by Top Shelf Comics, dramatizing a fictional MMA match in 80 pages, was published in October, 2008.

Martin Costello

August 8, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Thanks Jose de Leon. Anyone from IDW want to step in?


January 19, 2013 at 8:43 pm

This Antonacci guy is a total fraud! He is a huzzah (a self-aggrandizing pig) and a total vulture that goes from project to project standing on other people’s shoulders just to make a buck. The “comic” is a total joke w/ a thinly veiled storyline and Romita Jr.-like artwork w/ no clean-up that makes it look like chicken scratch. He would sell his soul for a dime and “bought the rights” bc they couldn’t sell any of the digital issues for $1.99. Avoid at all costs. It may be a comic but it’s actually a joke…

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