Topps Company began selling Bazooka bubble gum in its distinctive red-white-and-blue packaging at the end of World War II. It wasn't until 1953 that the company began wrapping a small comic strip around the gum.
The comic strip features the character Bazooka Joe and includes a fortune and an offer for a premium or small gift, available for free if the buyer mails in a stack of strips. As of 2015, Topps has created over 700 of the comic strips, which are only about five frames, usually with a childish theme. The character Bazooka Joe wears an eye patch to be more interesting, not because of an eye condition. Older miniature comic strips are collector items.
Topps sells its gum around the world, with the comic strip translated into each country's language. Over the years, the manufacturer added several flavors to the original, and the original flavor also comes in a sugar-free formulation. Designed for blowing bubbles, the gum's formulation has not changed since Topps first created it in Brooklyn, New York. Topps also achieved success as the maker of sports-related trading cards, most notable for baseball.
Bazooka is not the first bubble gum. Walter Diemer invented bubble gum in 1928 while experimenting with gum recipes.