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Palooka, Joe. Joe Palooka was created by Ham Fisher and appeared in the comic strip “Joe Palooka” (1930-1984); he also appeared in an eponymous radio show in 1932.
“Joe Palooka” was one of the most successful comic strips of all time. Joe Palooka is a poor man whose greatest skill is boxing, and he uses that skill to become the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world. More than a great boxer, however, Palooka is a genuinely good person. Very much a working class hero, Palooka is humble without being craven, shy without being withdrawn, laid-back without being a slacker, easily embarrassed without being a stiff, and genuinely likable. He embodies the virtues of the Boy Scout code, but he is legitimately tough and is angered when someone–himself or others–is wronged.
When the United States enters World War Two Palooka enlists in the Army as a private and remains at that rank for the duration of the war. Palooka is assisted by Knobby, his small, nervous, twitchy and argumentative fight manager, and by Smoky, an African-American whose vocabulary and appearance is that of a racist stereotype but who is always treated by Joe as an equal and friend.
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