Apr 18, 2016

Mail Order Monday - Superman vs Muhammed Ali (1978)

It's been a long time since there was a Mail Order Monday and I was struggling to find something to write about this week. Ok, maybe struggling isn't the right word. 
More...how you say? Lazy.

Back in 1978, DC comics published an over-sized 72 page comic pitting The Man of Steel against The Greatest. And for the low price of $3, you could have sent away for it. Adjusted for inflation, that works out to about $11 today!

As a kid, I absolutely loved the Treasury size comics because they were huge (10" x 14") and they didn't usually do "regular" stories in these books. It was almost always something special that demanded a bigger size.

Here's a quick rundown of the plot:

It all starts when an alien race called the Scrubb demands Earth's greatest champion fight their greatest. Of course, Earth don't want no Scrubb but if Earth refuses, the Scrubb will just blow us up anyway. Initially Supes steps up, being the good guy that he is. But Ali argues that he's not from Earth and says he's the greatest. The aliens are intrigued and decide to let the two duke it out for the title of Earth's greatest fighter. To make it more interesting, the fight is to be on the Scrubb home world which orbits a red sun, effectively putting Supes on even ground with Ali.

Supes takes a beating and eventually hits the mat. Ali goes on to face the stronger alien champion. Seems fair, right? While Ali gets pummeled by the alien, Superman has made a recovery and tries to sabotage the Scrubb armada. Ali gets a second wind and knocks the Scrubb champion out of consciousness and the ring! Go Earth!

The Scrubb leader finds out about Superman's sabotage and decides to take out Earth anyway. But before he can, the Scrubb champion overthrows him and the Earth is saved. Later, Ali reveals he somehow figured out Superman's secret identity but assures him, he'll keep the secret, declaring them both the Greatest.

The full wraparound cover is pretty cool. It features a ton of notable (at the time) faces including celebrities Ron Howard, Donnie & Marie, and Dick Clark; sports stars like Joe Namath and Pele; and a host of DC comic staff and comic characters. You can see Batman in the bottom right next to Lex Luthor and Sonny Bono. How's that for a combo?

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