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.”
Digital | Retailer Brian Hibbs responds to recent comments around the price of digital comics, commenting on how “channel migration” could effect comic retailers: “The concern of the comics retailer isn’t that there IS digital — fuck, I’m totally all for a mechanism to drive a potentially wide segment of customers to the medium of comics itself. How can that NOT help me? But, rather, that enough customers will ‘change channels’ (of purchase), so as to make segments of work unprofitible to carry. I’ve been pretty straight with you — most periodicals are but marginally profitible; most books are largely unprofitible. That we have stellar, break out, oh-my-god-it’s-like-printing-money successes like WALKING DEAD or BONE or SANDMAN doesn’t mean that this is the way all books can follow. Quite the opposite in fact! So what this means is that even losing a TINY portion of the readership through Channel Migration could potentially have dire effects. Seriously, if I lost just 10% of my customers, I’m done. And what we also know is that when physical stores close, most of that readership for comics UTTERLY VANISHES. The gist of this is that losing 10% of sales to migration could mean that the other 80% of that stores’ sales are COMPLETELY LOST.” [The Savage Critics]