Saturday, April 18, 2020

In The Year Of '49

An almost 72 year old oddity is upon us today campers, as we look at some very early Bazooka comics that are among the biggest obscurities ever issued by Topps.

I've posted previously on R414-1, the essentially unknown one-cent Bazooka comic dubbed Spalding Sports Show (SSS) and featuring artwork from Willard Mullin that was issued, per Jefferson Burdick, in 1949.  That set may or may not be complete at 25 subjects and I'll be damned if I can find a full checklist anywhere.  Well another, similar comic from it has turned up and is intriguing.

I'll show our new comic first, it's kinda batty:

Compare that to a SSS subject:

Not the same issue, nor are the foil outer wraps quite the same.  This is the foil overwrap for our newbie:

It's close to but not quite a match for the SSS foil:

Ignore the differences in albedo, which is just a result of different scan settings, and look near the top.  These wrappers seem identical except for the lack of a white background behind "Young America's Favorite" on the Spalding Sports Show wrapper. There may be a slight difference in the indicia but things are too reflective on the new one to tell for sure..

This points to the next round of comics likely issued just after the initial runs of SSS comics (Topps would print two series at once sometimes for Bazooka comics through 1954 or so but I believe the outer wraps would be consistent when they did so as these were copyrighted).  There is a set known colloquially as Sports Oddities that fits the bill though. I've got a boxing example from what I think is the same set as our 'batty" example above that I have attributed to that name.  This is scanned along with its foil wrapper, which is a match for our newly found treasure:

I think this issue is related to 1949's Know Your Sports, which appeared with the five cent Bazooka rolls of the time.  The penny version just appropriated single panels of the nickel's:

As penny Bazooka tabs started appearing in the late summer or fall of 1949, Sports Oddities seems like a 1950 issue to me but that is up in the air presently.

I'm working on cataloging as much as I can about the very early Bazooka issues for the second edition of my book detailing the early Topps days through 1956.  Other projects are also in the works but this one will likely happen first, so if you have any examples from the pre-Bazooka Joe era, please contact me. I have some but am looking for a larger collection of images to pick from.

No comments: