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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Ali to Superman: "Box you? No, man, I'm not gonna box you... I'm gonna whup you."Nov. 21 2010
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SUPERMAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI, who remembers this one? Not long after the seminal DC/Marvel crossover in which Superman teamed up with Spider-Man in 1976, boxing promoter Don King stepped into DC Comics' sanctum sanctorum and proposed a bout between the Man of Steel and the Louisville Lip. In 1978, the monumental 73-paged one-shot issue came out.
We know of Ali's impact as a cultural icon and his stand against the Vietnam War. His exploits in the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila are legendary. But did you know that Ali also helped save the Earth from an alien menace? See, what had happened was: The extraterrestrial people, the Scrubbs (yeah, they shoulda picked a better name), have deemed humans to be too warlike and a threat to the other alien races in the galaxy. This sets up a mega-boxing match between the Scrubbs' champion and Earth's champion, with the Scrubbs armada hovering over Earth ready to destroy it should our warrior loses. With the stakes so high, Superman steps up to the plate.
Except that the planet's reigning heavyweight champ, Muhammad Ali, takes exception. Superman tells Ali: "You may be the best human scrapper, but I'm super human!" To which, Ali retorts: "Right. But that's exactly why you shouldn't! They're talkin' about an Earthman... an' you were born on Krypton!" With both men unwilling to back down, there was only one way to settle things: duke it out in the ring to see who would represent Earth.
The story's highlight, of course, is the donnybrook between Ali and Superman (and that was a hell of a fight). In the confines of the story, theirs would only be the undercard, the main event still that match for all the marbles against the Scrubbs' formidable pugilist. Co-writers Neal Adams and Denny O'Neil inject several nice touches that elevate the story. First, of course, is that Ali's presence makes this a fascinating curio piece. The writing pays homage to Ali and Superman's core personas, to what makes them such lasting iconic figures. I thought the Greatest was portrayed terrifically, his dialogue sounding true to form. He even predicts the round he'll knock out his opponent. Neal Adams draws the thing, and maybe the highest compliment I can pay him is that Ali looks like Ali. Adams is such an awesome, dynamic artist. To segue some, Dick Giordano and Terry Austin, two of the best inkers in the biz, do great embellishing Adams' pencils.
Superman has abilities far beyond those of mortal man. Doesn't mean he knows squat about the Sweet Science. In the interest of fair play, to prep for their big fight, Ali teaches Superman the basics of boxing. And maybe my favorite part in this story is how their fight unfolds, and the outcome. Many alien races descend on our solar system to attend this mega-event, and Neal Adams really does justice to the scope of the story. Jimmy Olsen as the ringside boxing commentator, I can take or leave (mostly leave). The story isn't limited to the squared circle, of course. There's a sneaking suspicion that the Scrubb leader is headed for a seriously heel turn, and sure enough we get treated to duplicity and an undercover mission, to an epic space battle which pits Superman against an alien armada and Ali again proving that he's a baaaaad man. To cap it all off, the epilogue features Ali demonstrating a phenomenal bit of deduction. It certainly leaves Superman flustered.
Bonus material for this hardcover Deluxe Edition consists of a brief foreword from Neal Adams; an afterword by Jenette Kahn (who at the time was DC's publisher); a reprinting of the famous wraparound cover - which featured a galaxy of celebrities who were relevant back in the '70s and a host of those then on the DC Comics staff - and a key which identifies all the people on the cover; and eleven pages of Neal Adams' pencil sketches.
9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Superman vs Muhammad Ali Lacks Wonder through Adult EyesDec 13 2010
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I bought this out of nostalgia. I remember when it originally came out in the larger format. I remember being captivated by the premise, dazzled by Neal Adams' artwork (with an able assist by both Dick Giordano and Terry Austin!), and swept away by the package as a whole. Although there is a current release that duplicates the larger page size of the original, I opted for this "Deluxe" format for the extra material that it promised.
I have to say I'm a bit disappointed. This is not so much the fault of the book as it was my expectations. I long ago sold my copy of the original, and like an old friend I'd lost touch with I was eager to become reacquainted with this book. But like some old friends, the years haven't been kind.
Neal Adams is still Neal Adams, and no one can hold a candle to his figure work, his composition and design sense, and his page layouts. Many have been inspired by his work, some have clearly been influenced by it, a few have even aped it. But he has few peers. And Denny O'Neil is one of my all-time favorite writers for a reason. Both are best when they are free to collaborate and create without limits. This work, being the product of a more corporate culture than usual, with a larger committee and more voices with more influences, leaves a lot to be desired.
The biggest weakness I spotted when reading this for the first time in nearly 30 years was how hokey the story is and how hackneyed the dialogue comes off. I learned something that my 20 year old self didn't know, Denny O'Neil did not finish writing the script, and Neal Adams contributed a great deal to the story. I've learned from his recent Batman: Odyssey that Mr. Adams, like many artists, may be a great plotter or storyteller, but is not so capable with dialogue and other aspects of scripting.
The smaller sized "Deluxe Edition" includes extra material. This consists mostly of several pages of Neal Adams thumbnail roughs and some of his notes. There is also a two page history of the development of the project by then publisher Jeanette Kahn. I learned a few things I either didn't know or forgot about some of the celebrities who did not approve the use of their image on the cover (George C. Scott, Carroll O'Connor) and how that was resolved. But otherwise, the added material added little.
This edition is half the price of the larger facsimile hardcover, so I don't have many regrets. It is still a visual treat. But I think now that I've seen the package, if I had to do it again, if I'm buying the book mostly for nostalgia and pretty pictures, I'd spend the extra money to get the larger volume.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Classic 1970's Reprint worth gettingApril 18 2011
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When I was a lot younger, I bought C-56 of the DC Giant books. It was a story of Superman. It also showcase Muhammad Ali the fighter and the man
When I saw this reprint in the book store, I bought it. The super special has vanished from my young adulthood. In a way, buying this was a recapturing my youth.
I remember the Neal Adams art made this book extra special. Adams gave this book a special feel as he brought to the Batman and Green Latern/Green Arrow of the 1970's. Did I love this book, GAWD YES!
Now as an adult, this coffee table volume has a special place in my heart. There are a few fault in Superman mythos which changed slightly in the 1980s when John Bryne (Superman: The Man of Steel, Vol. 2 took the Man of Steel in a different direction. That should not keep you from your enjoyment of this SUPER tale. The bond of the page is slick and glossy, like a coffeetable book..NOT like the news print that the original book had in the 1970's.
The Adams art is still more quality that comics do have today nor do not really have anymore. With his art, it as it did before, it is part of the extraordinary storytelling process that will intrigie and enjoy any reader.
With Ali getting older, this collector's item is a rare event for both someone into Boxing and Superman fans. Some may call this a kid's book, Believe me it isnt!
It is well worth having in anyone collection
Bennet Pomerantz AUDIOWORLD
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
No lie; one of the greatest Superman stories of all timeNov. 17 2010
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I remember having the original Treasury Edition of SUPERMAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI as a kid and re-reading it so many times that eventually it just apart, so this re-release has me really excited. By the late '70s Ali had become larger than life, and the closest we had to a real-life Superman, so it was only natural for the two biggest superheroes in the world to square off in a titanic battle for the ages. Written and drawn by Denny O'Neil and Neil Adams, Superman vs Muhammad Ali involves an alien race threatening to destroy the world unless Earth's champion can defeat the aliens' mightiest warrior. Superman of course steps up to the challenge, but before he can he enlists the help of Ali to train him. What follows is an exciting, action-packed story of epic proportions. The original comic was 80 pages long, printed as a large treasury edition, the story so big that it couldn't be contained in a regular comic book. Its wraparound cover was one of the most iconic ever created with Superman and Ali squaring of in the ring, with a panoramic shot of an audience made up of various DC comic book characters and the biggest real-world celebrities of the day; Sonny and Cher, Andy Warhol, and current President Jimmy Cater were just a few of them. If I have one (minor) complaint about the reissue its DC's decision to release it in two different formats.The deluxe hardcover edition is presented at the same size as the original, while the other is printed (with additional material)in the same smaller format of DC's other hardcover releases. Why not just do one big release in hardcover, followed by a paperback edition of the book later down the line? Despite these gripes I have to give each edition an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Superman vs. Muhammad Ali truly is one of the best Superman stories of all time!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A true classic!Dec 18 2010
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If only every crossover that came, after this story had as much heart and thought go into it. The story is a complete page turner. The art is gorgeous and highly engaging. Its not meant to be taken too seriously, but to simply be enjoyed. It succeeds at this task brilliantly. Muhammad Ali is shown here in his prime, paired with a pre-crisis Superman doing what he does best. This crossover accomplishes what every other crossover that followed strived to be. An entertaining read with familiar characters combined in one awesome adventure. You can tell a lot of love went into crafting this story and it's well worth the price of admission. Take a look you won't be disappointed.