Joe Palooka's back -- with a twist.

The beloved comic strip featuring a good-hearted boxing champion ended in 1984 after a run of more than 50 years. Now Ridgewood, N.J., boxing announcer Joe Antonacci has acquired the trademark rights to "Joe Palooka" and is resurrecting the character as a mixed martial arts fighter.

With help from a comics writer and artist, Antonacci is pushing a new Palooka series. Fresh strips have already been published online and Antonacci says he expects a hard-copy version to be available within months.

Antonacci tells The Citizens' Voice of Wilkes-Barre that his version of the big Palooka has a "heart of gold, who gets into trouble and gets out."

Joe Palooka was created by Wilkes-Barre native Ham Fisher.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)