When I was in the seventh grade I had a friend, Billy, who was in the eighth grade. Billy didn’t know too much about comics but was eager to learn. When I showed him my stack of Marvel and DC treasury editions he was a little disappointed that the art didn’t live up to the promise of the size of the pages; with all that extra space, the comics themselves were nothing more than reprints of regular sized comics. There were a few exceptions (Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles, Howard the Duck, Jack Kirby’s adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey), but for the most part he was right. In a classic case of bad timing, I stopped buying treasury editions right around that time.

A year or so later, DC released Superman vs. Muhammad Ali. Superman vs. Spiderman had been unique and exciting, but subsequent “versus” treasuries were increasingly disappointing, and Muhammad Ali (I reasoned) wasn’t even super-powered! I gave it a pass.

I was given a second chance, however, when DC recently re-released Superman vs. Muhammad Ali in a facsimile edition (“facsimile” except for the hardcover and the glossy paper stock, that is). Actually, they released two editions, but the smaller, less expensive edition contained “extras” such as pencil sketches. Decisions, decisions…

I asked the owner of my LCS if I could break the shrink wrap of the smaller edition so I could examine the extras before deciding. As soon as I saw the art of the main story, though, I knew which edition I was going to buy. The complaint I had about most of the other treasury editions, that they were the same as regular comic books only bigger, didn’t apply. Each panel of every page was packed with added detail! There was no way I was going to sacrifice the sheer size of the facsimile edition for a few pencil sketches!

In another classic case of bad timing, after three decades of avoiding “spoilers” for this story, I read a recap of it in DC Comics Year by Year: A Visual Chronicle the very week before the reprint shipped! Luckily there was a little more to the story than the recap indicated, so it wasn’t completely spoiled for me.

We’ve often spoken of the “sense of wonder” comics can bring to the very young, but it’s been so long since I’ve actually experienced it for myself I can’t remember the last time it happened. I honestly experienced the same sense of wonder I used to as a kid while reading this comic book. That’ll probably never happen to me again no matter how long I live.

Views: 166

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

I'm going to re-read it soon but I remember it being good and being amazed by that. With a title like Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, I didn't have high expectations. It certainly helps that the art is by Neal Adams, inks by Dick Giordano and Terry Austin, but the story by Denny O'Neil and adapted by Adams impressed me when I first read it. I'll post here what I think after I re-read it.
Cavalier said:
CK, I just went through the list three times and I don't see Winkler on the list. I was wrong that the list is all inclusive. In addition to the background crowd that don't have specific, identifiable faces, there are about a dozen who aren't in the key. Those un-identified people do include the Beatles and Stan. That being said, I can't find anybody who looks like Henry Winkler, with mustache or otherwise. Could you tell me who* he's near, CK?

* Or is it whom? I'm 37 years old and still a bit unclear--make that very unclear--on who versus whom.

Henry Winker (with an obvious "we didn't get permission to use his image" mustache drawn on) is on the back cover, seated next to Ron Howard, and directly above Herbert Muhammad (Muhammad Ali's manager at the time).

For my part, I never before noticed The Beatles (and Yoko Ono!) or Stan Lee, and still can't find him ... unless he's the gent next to Johnny Carson.

And above and to the right of Neal Adams (!) is Charles Bronson!
Philip Portelli said:
Beyond all this talk about the cover, how would you rate the story? I confess that I never read it though I will (hopefully) pick it up next week. Is it a good Superman tale? A pop culture milestone? A fitting tribute to Ali? A vanity project? A bad comic with great art? Is it worthy of the notoriety and the price?

In short, and in order:

A-plus, and two thumbs up!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!
Well, I'm too much of a cheapskate to pay today's prices; it's a good thing I bought it for $2.50 when it was out! Whatta bargain!
I picked it up today at a sale at my LCS. I didn't realize it was re-colored too! Mine is plenty big at the deluxe size, and the artwork is beautiful. Can't wait to read it!



ClarkKent_DC said:
Philip Portelli said:
Beyond all this talk about the cover, how would you rate the story? I confess that I never read it though I will (hopefully) pick it up next week. Is it a good Superman tale? A pop culture milestone? A fitting tribute to Ali? A vanity project? A bad comic with great art? Is it worthy of the notoriety and the price?

In short, and in order:

A-plus, and two thumbs up!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!
Yes!
Well, I'm too much of a cheapskate to pay today's prices; it's a good thing I bought it for $2.50 when it was out! Whatta bargain!
I just thumbed through mine rather quickly ... I'd say that it would benefit from modern coloring and newer, whiter paper to put those colors on.

I do think it's a good Superman tale, although there are moments of hokiness. And, of course, you can't help but ask, once the story's threat is made clear, "Where are the Justice League of America/Green Lantern Corps/Legion of Super-Heroes/Avengers/Fantastic Four?"

But, you know, I tell you, when I first opened the story and got to that first two-page spread, showing Clark, Lois and Jimmy wandering down a Harlem Suicide Slum street looking for Muhammad Ali -- I could spend an hour just drinking that in. It is eye-poppingly gorgeous, and there are still 69 pages left to go!
I found Fonzie, CK. Thanks! And, yeah. That's Stan next to Carson.

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2020   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service