It was first marketed shortly after World War II in the U.S. by the Topps Company of Brooklyn, New York. The gum was packaged in a red, white, and blue color scheme. Beginning in 1953, Topps changed the packaging to include small comic strips with the gum, featuring the character “Bazooka Joe”. There are 50 different “Bazooka Joe” comic-strip wrappers to collect. Also on the comic strip is an offer for a premium and a fortune. Older Bazooka comic strips were larger in size, and older strips are no longer available.
The Topps company expanded the flavors, making them Original, Strawberry Shake, Cherry Berry, Watermelon Whirl, and Grape Rage. The Strawberry flavor is packaged in a pink and white wrapper and the Grape in a purple and white wrapper. Bazooka gum can also be found in a sugar free variety with the standard bubble gum flavor and a “Flavor Blasts” variety, claimed to have longer lasting, more intense taste. Bazooka gum comes in two different sizes.
Bazooka bubblegum is sold in many countries, often with Bazooka Joe comic strips translated into the local language. Bazooka gum is sold in Canada with cartoons in both English and French, depending upon the city. In Israel, it is manufactured under license by Elite; the cartoons are written in Hebrew.
In November 2012, Bazooka Candy Brands announced they would no longer include comics, instead using brain-teasing puzzle wrappers in an attempt to modernize the brand.
In May 2009 it was announced that the Bazooka Joe comic was to be adapted into a Hollywood movie.
Bazooka Joe gum was lampooned on 30 Rock, with Alec Baldwin’s character telling a fictional story of the founder inheriting a “useless pink rock quarry” and turning it into gum by baking it. Later, a “softer version of their gum was used to make armor-piercing bullets.” A fictional advertisement for the gum, starring Stacy Keach, encouraged viewers to chew Bazooka Joe gum “because life is hard,” and “it’s like chewing a mountain that someone shot a freeze ray into.” Later, in October-November 2013, it was said in How I Met Your Mother when Marshall made a joke that wasn’t submitted to be part of the Bazooka jokes.