Louisville vs Smallville
Maybe there’s something inherently absurd about a superhuman donning boxing gloves, but Muhammad Ali didn’t know how to pull his punches. Clark Kent looks a little weird in them, too.
The two cultural icons would clash in the late 70s, in a special oversized comic developed by Neal Adams and Denny O’Neil. While the cover boasted a profile of them locked in ringed combat, this would’ve been clearly unfair; lucky for Supes, the two had secretly joined forces to combat a race of militaristic aliens, and the fight was a kind of ruse. Possibly somewhat ironic for the conscientious objector, but he certainly did have a quarrel with the invading “Scrubb,” whose forces threatened the planet with total explosive annihilation.
There are several worthy comparisons between The Greatest and the Big Blue Cheese, not the least of which is their equivalent height of 6’3”—a detail evoked in these two figures. In other words: they’d have met eye-to-eye in the ring, and while Ali’s heat vision powers have yet to be confirmed for certain, the chances are he’d have rendered Kal-El’s eyes swollen shut.
Conceptually, though, Superman might personify Ali’s most creatively poetic moments of brashness on the mic. Both were warriors for peace on the street and on the page, and ever the types to imaginatively self-narrate. Both built legacies on principled behavior, and an evolution of mind.
Ali dressed better, though.
~ Leonardo Faierman
Writer at The Iranian
Senior Film Critic and Journalist at BlackGirlNerds
Writer/co-creator of Snow Daze
Host and editor of #BlackComicsChat, along with Grace Gibson, Marcus Kwame Anderson, Thelonious Legend and Anthony Otero
Host of The Scream Squad with Chico Leo
LinkedIn: Leonardo Faierman