Behold! Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali by Neal Adams

Superman Vs. Muhammad AliBack in the day, I remember many oversized, tabloid formatted comics.  In the late 1970's/early 1980s they seemed to be all rage.  A sub-set of these trendy formatted releases were big one shot event books, like Superman Vs. Spider-Man in 1976 and then the event of the century, Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali in 1978.  With a story written by Dennis O'Neil and art by the comics legend Neal Adams, Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali told the tale of the rare instance where the DC Comics universe crossed over into the real world when an alien invader pits Ali against Superman to determine Earth's mighiest hero and then they team up to save Earth from the alien invasion, in classic crossover style.

DC Comics announced today on their blog, that for the first time in forever, DC Comics will be collecting and releasing Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali again.  In Fall 2010, you'll be able to choose from two formats: a deluxe hardcover with sketches and additional artwork from Neal Adams and an oversized/tabloid sized hardcover edition that features the original cover to the book. 

The concept may seem wacky, but if memory serves, this was a hugely publicized and even though by the time it came out Ali was no longer the boxing champ, it was still a highly sought after issue.  The cover in particular spelled doom for future reprints as Neal Adams surrounded the boxing match with faces of many notable personalities, for which the rights to reprint were a nightmare.  And yet here we are with DC releasing it again, which means that either changes to the law, or some sort of agreement, has allowed the original art to see print again. 

Regardless, Neal Adams is one of the best artists in comics history and this is a huge marker in his decades of work that's good to see back in print.  If you young readers hear us raving about how great Neal Adams is, this book can be held up as an example, even with the goofy premise.

Below is the original cover, which compared to the cover released on the blog today shows that they've done some work to the original art, recoloring it at least.

You can see a list of the personalities featured on this cover over on Wikipedia.




  1. Oh Superman would totally win unless Ali had…. Oh wait this isn’t the iFanboy versus article.

  2. Rope-a-dope

  3. Very nice! I almost bought  this issue at last year’s Wondercon. I will definately get the hardcover! Yes. I kind of wish they had just restored the original coloring.

  4. Do we have a 21st century equivalent to a cultural event of this magnitude? I guess we would need a 21st century Ali first.

  5. That IS Kurt Vonnegut in the corner. Wikipedia: proving you’re not crazy since 2005.

    forrestgabitsch, I think the closest we could come now is "Space Jam." Unless you want to count Colbert/Spider-Man.

    I can’t wait to see this book again!

  6. Onh My God! It is Kurt Vonnegut!

  7. Good lord what an amazing cover. One of the best all time.

    Can’t wait to see this come back next year. Would love to get my hands on it. 

  8. ick, I hate modern coloring on old art.  


    why the hell do they think that’s a good idea? 

  9. I own the original printing. It’s in terrible condition and I didn’t even know it was a big deal until a year or two ago, but I’m still excited about it. My grandpa gave it to me when I was a little kid.

  10. @clintaa: Sadly, a lot of people believe more people will buy it with a modern look then something with original colors. It’s too bad.

    Actually now that I’m looking at it, the cover is a zoom in of the original, maybe they recolored it to eliminate the effect of zooming in but had to zoom in to eliminate the faces of actual famous people in said crowd. That would solve the rights issue Ron mentioned.

  11. @clintaa. Because old coloring mostly destroyed great Pencils or was mostly limited by the technology at the time, not fully utilising what the artist wanted to do with it. But a lot of the time too much of ‘stylish’ coloring on classic works is jarring. Scott Mccloud had a whole sapter dedicated to it.

  12. I’m looking forward to the modern coloring — especially with Neal Adams’ penciols, which were just as modern as anything being done now. They need to recolor GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW next.

  13. HOT SHIT! That cover is awesome! Makes me wish I was drawn in-crowd.

    This must be the result of attempting to draw a celebrity version of a "where’s waldo" cover.

  14. I love how Batman, and not Bruce Wayne, felt the need to grab a front row seat.

  15. Batman isn’t there to watch, he’s there to step in incase Clark get’s his ass kicked

  16. If I remember correctly the original had a key telling you who was who on the cover… I mean everyone from The Fonz to Jimmy Carter was there!!!!