© DC Comics, Inc.
Just arrived here, the “Deluxe Edition” of this great comic first published in 1978. Not only do I love the art by Neal Adams and the story by Denny O’Neill and Adams, this comic holds a lot of memories for me. Doing production work on it was one of my first big jobs when I started working on staff at DC in 1977. I was already an O’Neill/Adams fan because of their GREEN LANTERN/GREEN ARROW run, and the art for this was huge, intended for tabloid size publication, and much larger than the other comics art I was working with then. The inking by Dick Giordano (with backgrounds by Terry Austin) was also wonderful to see.
Imagine my shock when production manager Jack Adler told me the art was the wrong proportions, and I had to cut off about a half inch from the sides of each page! I did it, reluctantly, it was the only choice for printing prep then. The physical pages had to be sent to the separation house in Connecticut to be photographed for coloring, and they had to be the right proportions, there were no computer scans to resize. I think there were a few pages where art had to be extended about a half-inch on the sides, too, so somewhere in there are some art extensions by me, but I have no idea where.
Later, when I had a large handful of thin art strips, I took them to Jack, asking what I should do with them. He took them, and the next time Neal came into the Production room, Jack gleefully waved them in Neal’s face. “See? I TOLD you they were the wrong proportions! Why don’t you listen to me?” Or something like that was what he said. I don’t remember Neal’s reaction exactly, I’m sure he wasn’t pleased, but later pages came in at the right proportions.
This version is much smaller than the original tabloid printing, but the reproduction is also much better, so you won’t miss anything. (And I think there’s a tabloid-size version available, too.) It’s been recolored to match current standards, and that works fine, though there’s the usual tendency to overuse airbrushed highlights on the faces, particularly noticeable on Ali’s face. The design work is better than on other recent DC reprint hardcovers I’ve reviewed recently, though I don’t see the point of adding an aged paper look to much of it, including the cover. To me, that simply says, “Oh, look at the funny old comics, aren’t they cute?” This book can stand proudly next to any comic published today, it’s top notch work by everyone involved, and a fine tribute to Ali and what he stands for. No need to give it the “cute” treatment.