In the spring of 1978, DC Comics released Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (technically, All New Collectors Edition C-56), a crossover between the most popular superhero in the world and the most famous person in the world, boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Featuring a story by Dennis O’Neill and art by Neal Adams, the team that dragged DC into a more contemporary style with its groundbreaking Green Lantern/Green Arrow run, the book was released in American as an oversized 72 page treasury edition.
One of the most notable aspects of the book is its iconic cover, which features the likenesses of dozens of 1970s celebrities, superheroes, and DC Comics staffers. The original design, by comics master Joe Kubert, did not feature celebrities, but a rowdy boxing crowd. It was deemed too grim and serious, so DC asked Neal Adams to do the art. Adams used Kubert’s original layout, but lightening the mood by changing the crowd to make it full of famous people. Among the celebrities on the cover are then-president Jimmy Carter, Frank Sinatra, the Jackson Five, the cast of Welcome Back Kotter, Mad Magazine publisher William Gaines, and Andy Warhol. Adams even included important people in Superman history, like Kirk Alyn, Christopher Reeve, Noel Neill, Jack Larson, and even Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
This treasury became one of the most notable releases of the 1970s and was published in a number of different languages around the world, including this Dutch edition, published by Semec Press in 1978. This version differs from the original American version in that it’s only 8-1/2″ by 11″ in size. It’s actually more like a trade paperback than a comic in that it also features a heavier coated cover and higher quality white paper on the inside vs. the cheap newsprint of the U.S. version. There are 2 additional text pages about Muhammad Ali and as well as a color pinup photo. The guide to the celebrities also differs slightly.
Here are some scans of the covers. See how many celebs you can pick out.
Here are some of my favorite pages on the inside. (Sorry for the poor photography… I don’t want to damage the binding by scanning any of the interior pages.)
Here’s the excellent Dial B for Blog’s take on Superman vs. Muhammad Ali, including the original Joe Kubert layout for the cover.