In 1952, the Smokey Bear Act placed control of the mascot under the United States Department of Agriculture. They licensed his appearance over the years, and used the royalties to support the public service campaigns. That same year, a song by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins added a "the" to the mascot’s name, because it went better with their music.
Over the years, Smokey Bear has been merchandized in various ways. A Smokey board game, a bendy-toy, and children’s books have all been licensed.
In 1958, Dell Comics produced a special which told the true story of Smokey, or, at least, of the rescued cub who was attached to the Smokey name. The cover also featured the anthropomorphic mascot. It was reprinted a number of times over the next decade, and the cover must have suggested something to Dell, because they immediately developed a series for the mascot, which lasted into the early 1960s.
Smokey the Bear Nature Stories featured Smokey, his similarly-dressed cub sidekick, and a raccoon in forest-protecting, animal-saving adventures. Several of the issues included the painted covers more typical of Dell’s (and later, Gold Key’s) adventure series, with a Smokey who resembled a friendly werebear superhero, possibly from Moreau’s Island. There’s something bizarre yet engaging about these issues: a club-wielding, bear-chested Smokey fending off realistically-rendered wolves, determined Smokey piloting a small bush plane, angered Smokey duking it out with a villainous bear. They rank among the most valuable Smokey collectibles. Other covers and artwork were cartoonier in nature. The comic featured animal characters, cutsified versions of real ones. Smokey’s fellow bears, however, have been anthropomorphized; they wear clothing, hunt with rifles, and carelessly leave forest fires burning. In short, they represent humanity.
A 1966 cartoon special, The Ballad of Smokey the Bear was followed by a 1969 Saturday Morning Cartoon, The Smokey Bear Show. Rankin-Bass animation produced both, in partnership with a Japanese studio. The ’66 special had forest animals and tales of Smokey’s exploits. The later cartoon featured adventures with messages related to environmentalism and fire prevention in a woodland community inhabited by Warner Brothers-like cartoon animals. The supporting cast included Mayor Owl, Benny the Bunny, and a number of others. To save money, Rankin reused background music from their earlier Kong Kong ‘toon.
Gold Key, Dell’s successor, began publishing a new Smokey Bear comic in 1971. The series lasted a few years, and featured the characters from the animated series.
As mentioned in an earlier write-up, the "real" Smokey died in 1976. The mascot lives on, of course. In 1984, he received his own U.S. postage stamp, and he continues to speak for the United States Forests Service.