SPIDER-MAN VS. MUHAMMAD ALI: The Fight of the Century That Never Was

An alternate view of a Bronze Age classic…


Every once in a while I happen across a piece of artwork that just about screams, “Please color me!” That happened recently with an awesome faux-cover commission by artist Tom Morgan.

Tom is a comic book and animation studio veteran who often graces his Facebook page with fantastic Bronze Age-inspired artwork. If you’re a fan of 1970s- and ’80s-era Marvel and DC Comics, do yourself a favor and check out his page.

Now, set your Wayback Machine to January 1978, when DC Comics released one of its greatest tabloids — All-New Collectors’ Edition #C-56: Superman vs. Muhammad Ali! Written by Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil, and drawn by Adams with Dick Giordano and Terry Austin, the issue featured an awesome fight and team-up between two of the greatest.

And boy was that original cover amazing! Adams’ rendition of Joe Kubert’s original layout was stunning and made even more spectacular by the number of real-life attendees taking in the fight!

Well, Morgan recently re-imagined what could have been, subbing the Amazing Spider-Man for the Man of Steel — and populating the ringside audience with a Marvel-ous collection of the House of Ideas’ greatest Bronze-Age heroes and villains (and a trio of great-stars: two from the real world and one strange visitor from another universe).

Tom Morgan

Can you imagine opening an issue of Marvel Team-Up and finding a house ad touting this incredible team-up? Me, too! So I colored up and added mostly new dressing to a faux house-ad modeled after the original Superman vs. Muhammad Ali mail-in ad!

But even though that was fun, I just had to do the cover in full color! This was probably the biggest coloring job I’ve ever taken on, with 44 characters — not counting the corner box Spider-Man!

If you have a copy of the original tabloid, you know that the inside cover included a key to the folks who attended the imaginary event. Given that, I thought it would also be fun to recreate it for this new, imaginary bout:

So, thanks again to Tom for sharing this terrific piece of artwork. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!



— BATMAN, WE ARE THE GREATEST: The Best Comic Book That Never Was. Click here.

A 10-year-old Walt Grogan fell in love with the Big Red Cheese thanks to essays written by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson in the paperback edition of All in Color for a Dime, released in 1970 and bought for him by his father off a paperback spinner rack in a liquor store on the South Side of Chicago. Walt runs The Marvel Family Web Facebook page devoted to all incarnations of the Fawcett/DC Captain Marvel and blogs about Captain Marvel at shazamshistorama.com.

Author: Dan Greenfield

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  1. Now that would have been a fun issue!

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  2. If only they could do a facsimile edition of the Spider-Man/Superman issue.

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  3. My copy of Superman vs Muhammad Ali was given to me by my neighbor who knew I liked comics, he was a boxer who would go to prisons and fight prisoners. Super cool guy.

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  4. Absolutely love this! Thanks!

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