Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Knock Out Artwork!
Above is the amazing Neal Adams cover for the once-in-a-lifetime meeting between Superman and Muhammad Ali. Several years ago I fulfilled a lifelong goal and got my mitts on a copy of this iconic comic magazine from the Bronze Age.
And this fact is certainly something I knew but had totally forgotten. Joe Kubert, the maestro of many a DC comic book cover was the first guy tapped to have a go at the historic clash. But apparently by all reports the folks in the Ali camp did not cotton to the artwork supplied by Kubert. Looking at it above, it's hard to fathom what they might've objected to, since the image is amazingly energetic. Possibly they felt that the Ali figure was not sufficiently recognizable.
Anyway, the job was shifted about and eventually Neal Adams was given the gig. His cover art clearly retained the layout from the Kubert original but added a multitude of famous faces where Kubert merely renedered a crowd. This Sgt.Pepper-izing of the image did elevate the cover from merely a great strong image to a time capsule of sorts of pop culture of the day.
The original Kubert was used later by Jim Steranko in his Mediascene magazine and the energy of the art is even more evident. The sheer lushness of Kurbert's strokes always impress me.
The best look I had of this comic for many years was this ad featuring the Adams version of the final cover. Beautiful work by some top tier talent for sure.