Joe Palooka was an American comic strip about a heavyweight boxing champion, created by cartoonist Ham Fisher. With various assistants and successors, the strip lasted for over half of a century with spin-offs to radio, movies, television and merchandising.
In his home town of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Fisher devised the character in 1921 when he met a boxer outside a poolroom. As Fisher explained in an article in Collier's

Here, made to order, was the comic strip character I had been looking for -- a big, good-natured prize fighter who didn't like to fight; a defender of little guys; a gentle knight. I ran back to the office, drew a set of strips and rushed to the newspaper syndicates.

However, many rejections followed before Fisher's strip was finally syndicated. It debuted April 19, 1930, and by 1948 it was ranked as one of the five most popular newspaper comic strips. After Fisher committed suicide in 1955, Tony DiPreta took over the art with Morris Weiss scripting. DiPreta drew the strip for 31 years until it ended its run on November 24, 1984.
Fisher originally changed the appearance of Palooka to fit each reigning real-life champ — until the coming of African-American Joe Louis in the 1930s, at which time the image of the cowlicked blond Palooka remained unchanged. Though his adventures were mostly low-key, he was pumped up by a supporting cast led by girlfriend Ann Howe, boxing manager Knobby Walsh and lovable giant Humphrey Pennyworth, a smiling blacksmith who wielded a 100-pound (45 kg) maul. Like Ozark Ike McBatt in baseball, Joe Palooka was intended to exemplify the sports hero in an age when uprightness of character was supposed to matter most.