You could buy Joe Palooka toys, gum, lunch boxes, board games, and a cut-out mask on Wheaties cereal. A mountain near Ham Fisher's home town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania was named after him. The town of Oolitic, Indiana erected a statue in his honor.
The two adopted a mute orphan named Little Max, who became popular enough to get his own series of toys and comic book title.
Boxing was no longer a sure-fire audience draw, so Joe moved beyond the boxing ring to fight gangsters, spies, Nazis, and mad scientists. Eventually he was traveling around the world as an all-purpose trouble-shooter. Sometimes he rescued men.
Except for the college boys scouring the bins at the Comics Cave for beefcake covers.
And the elderly gay men who remembered glimpsing homoromantic potential in their childhood, when they opened the comics page to read about L'il Abner, Flash Gordon, Prince Valiant, and Joe Palooka.