Issue #1 of the comic book series will be available online and in comic book stores nationwide in late 2012. Plans for international distribution including the creation of multi-language versions of the series are also underway.
“This represents a huge moment for me, and is a culmination of a real team effort,” stated creator Joe Antonacci. “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.”
“Team Palooka is bringing a ton of fire and energy to this book and we think it’ll really strike a chord with comic fans and MMA fans alike,” said IDW’s Chief Creative Officer and Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall.
The Joe Palooka comic series tells the story of Joe Palooka, an MMA fighter who travels the world desperately trying to clear his name while fighting to earn a spot in the legendary “Legion of Combat,” fight series that features team matches between fighters representing countries such as the U.S., the U.K., Brazil, Russia, Japan, China, and other nations.
Joe Palooka was originally a webcomic with print on demand collections of the first two issues. Since its release in October of 2011 there have been plans to link the book to a major publisher. It looks like those plans have finally come to fruition.
It should also be noted that this is not the first time the name Joe Palooka has been associated with a fight comic. Joe Palooka was a newspaper strip in the 1930′s about a boxer of the same name. The strip grew in popularity until it was a radio program, comic book, movie serial, and a 1954 syndicated tv show. The comic strip ran in newspapers until 1984.