Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Superman, Ali & Close Encounters

On a wonderful day in 1978 that has to be at the very top of my all time geek out memories, I bought DC's Superman Vs. Muhammad Ali on the same day that I saw Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. At the time I was in high school in Munich, Germany (it wasn't a German school though, as at the time there was U.S. military people living there) and although Close Encounters opened up in the U.S. in 1977, it didn't get to the U.S. overseas theaters until 1978 (that's how I ended up seeing it the same day I bought Superman Vs. Ali, which was released in 1978).

DC's Superman Vs. Ali was published as a 72 page comic in what was called the treasury sized format (it was the size of the original Life magazines or for those of you reading this who aren't that old, basically it was the size of DC's hardcover absolute editions). Superman Vs. Ali was written by Denny O'Neil and fantastically drawn by Neal Adams with Dick Giordano and Terry Austin inking. Sadly I no longer have my copy and this book is long out of print because of copyright issues so I no longer remember many details of the story (I think finding another copy for myself will be my San Diego convention goal this year). I remember the story being highly entertaining once you get past the small detail of having Superman being exposed to some kind of kryptonite so that he wouldn't have his super strength (actually that's only fair) and thus the actual fight between Supes and Ali became more exciting.

Everything about Superman Vs. Ali was exciting. Starting with the wrap around cover, Neal Adams drew multitudes of famous people that were in the news and pop culture throughout the 1970's (such as Sonny & Cher, President Carter and soon to be President Ford). I don't know how many copies this book sold (and it was only $2.50 cover price!) when it came out, but I'm sure it was huge because how could anyone resist buying a copy of huge comic book that had Supes and Ali (at the height of his stellar boxing career) fighting each other, in addition to the art being so easy on the eyes!?

The first Star Wars movie came out just months before Close Encounters if I remember correctly and while I was a HUGE Star Wars fan even before it came out and was throughtout my teenage years, I had been reading many sci-fi movie magazines at the time and was especially eager to see Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a movie that's been on my top five movies of all time since it's been released and for me it's aged much better than Star Wars (although I still enjoy the first two original Star Wars movies and the third one minus the teddy bears).

As a kid and teenager I always fantasized about meeting extraterrestrial life so of course I was going to love Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Everything about Spielberg's Close Encounters was fantastic and I think the way things unfolded in the movie would happen the same way if we were ever to be visited by intelligent extraterrestial life (although from what I now know about the universe and how vast it is and how great the distances are, the chances of meeting any alien beings seems very remote at best). John Williams did the score for Close Encounters (he also did the great Star Wars soundtrack) and I don't think the movie would have worked were it not for him. The music, being that it's the way the form of communication with the extrterrestrial ife in the movie, still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it (and Daft Punk opening their Vegoose set last year with the opening notes from Close Encounters just made that show go way off the chart for me).

So really, having provided these testimonials on why this day in 1978 was such a geektastic day for me, can anyone argue that it wasn't!?

4 comments:

Tygogal said...

See please here

kreeson1 said...

I totally agree with Ralph, 1978 was one of my favorite years.

number2 said...

http://www.cracked.com/article_16031_p5.html

Ralph Mathieu said...

Joel, leave my rose colored glasses alone!

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