Blast From the Past: Superman vs Muhammad Ali

Two undisputed champions are forced to fight it out when alien invaders demand a title match between Earth’s greatest fighters. The winner will face their own champion, a muscle-bound behemoth bio-engineered to pound others into the ground. And the stakes couldn’t be higher for this fist-fest—the fate of planet Earth rests on who is declared the final winner.

Originally released in 1978, this story was published in a special, oversized edition. Illustrated by Neal Adams and co-written with Denny O’Neil, it became an instant classic and it’s easy to see why. The colorful artwork is action-packed and instantly grabs your attention, plus the portrayal of Muhammad Ali is a class act all around. In November, 2010, DC Comics released this title again, in its original size in hardcover facsimile and deluxe editions. 

When the evil Scrubb threaten to blow up Earth unless Superman and Ali agree to fight, Superman is incredulous that it will even be a contest. But when the alien commander informs them that the fight will be held on the Scrubb’s home planet, which circles a red sun, Muhammad Ali turns to Superman and says, “Uh-oh! You in trouble!”

Invitations for the match go out to entire galaxies and, as the reader, you get a front row seat to the biggest fight in the universe. One of the most unique parts of the publication is the cover—look closely and you’ll recognize some faces in the audience. It’s full of celebrities, Warner Communication Executives, Neal Adams’ Continuity Associates, Muhammad Ali cornermen, editors, writers, artists, and DC characters.

Each of these is identified in a cover key in the back of the book—all 172 of them. Some particularly intriguing on-lookers include Joe Namath, Wolfman Jack, Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Johnny Carson, Christopher Reeve, and Lucille Ball.

The plot is inventive and it is a real treat to see how Muhammad Ali and Superman manage to save the day as they fight against the Scrubb for their own lives and those of an entire planet. It’s also a trip back in time and will be especially enjoyed by those who can remember Muhammad Ali standing in the ring, fists raised, and unequivocally proclaiming, “I am the greatest!”

Librarian by day, at night Susan is the audiobook reviews editor for SF Site. For more info about audiobooks, visit her site at Audiobook DJ


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