Neal Adams is one of those legendary visionaries who in the comic book world who has influenced every aspect of it, but doesn’t enter the pop culture consciousness as much as he should. He drew some of the early issues of X-Men and should be given most of the credit for (along with Dennis O’Neil) bringing Batman out of the campy age into the more brooding, dark version we see now.
So when I wandered into the Comic-Con here in New Orleans (more on that soon), the first place I headed was to Adams’ booth. After flipping through a few prints, I saw this gem – depicting Michael Jordan and Muhammad Ali boxing in a recreation of Adams’ iconic Ali vs. Superman comic from 1978.
The Jordan vs. Ali picture was done for the cover of a special issue of ESPN: The Magazine that discussed ESPN SportsCentury top 100 athletes of the century thing they were doing. Not only does the cover have Jordan and Ali boxing, it also has every member of the top 100 athletes list in attendance watching the fight.
Adams was there, too and signed the print of the cover, the actual magazine and a copy of the Muhammad Ali vs. Superman book. Honestly, I never even knew that ESPN cover existed and can’t believe it’s not one of the most sought-after pieces of sports art around. What Adams does with the piece is truly remarkable and he was absolutely gushing at it as one of his prized works.
If I were you, I’d go out of my way to find a copy of the print or even the magazine itself as they’re both incredible pieces of history.