The Top 5 Neal Adams Superman Comics of All-Time

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The Greatest Neal Adams Superman Comics in History

Comic cover of Superman vs. Muhammad Ali
DC Comics

Last month legendary comic book writer and artist Neal Adams began his six-issue limited series Superman: The Coming of the Supermen. Adams is best known for his work on Batman and Green Arrow, but he's had a hand in drawing many superheroes including the "Man of Steel".

Here are Adam's greatest Superman comics in chronological order.

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World's Finest Comics #175 (1968)

Comic Panel of World's Finest Comics #175
DC Comics

"The Superman-Batman Revenge Squads" is about two gangs that bond over their hatred of the superheroes. One gang hates Batman and dresses up in a cape and cowl to mock him. The other gang is a group of aliens who shave their heads like Lex Luthor and mock Superman's costume. The two unite and set out to kill the two once and for all.

Neal Adams is a big fan of the old "World's Finest" Superman-Batman crossover comics, so it's fitting that he draws the first revival comic. Besides that milestone, while Adams had drawn the Caped Crusader several times on the cover, it's also the first time he would draw Batman in a comic. He would go on to have a long career drawing Batman, so this comic is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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World's Finest Comics #176 (1968)

Comic panel from "World's Finest Comics" #176
DC Comics

World's Finest Comics #176 pits the power of Superman against Batman, but with a twist. As per usual, there's a misunderstanding, but each one brings the other's friend to fight them. Two aliens visit Superman and Batman and each claims the other is lying and they need help. Superman protects one alien and Batman tries to help the other capture him. The battle gets so heated that Batman recruits Supergirl and Superman gets the help of Batgirl. Who's the real hero?

Neal Adams started in illustration and his grasp of anatomy took comic books to another level. He rendered comics like photographs and it's wonderfully done. His depiction of Superman isn't as iconic as Curt Swan but he gives Superman a majesty that he never had before. 

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Superman #254 (1972)

Comic panel from Superman #254 (1972)
DC Comics

This comic has a short backup comic written by Len Wein called "The Private Life of Clark Kent "The Baby Who Walked Through Walls!". When Kent reluctantly agrees to help a neighbor watch her girl he discovers the baby can disappear from the locked apartment. Superman doesn't want to risk using his x-ray vision on a baby and has to use deductive reasoning to figure out how the kid's getting out.

In 1972, Neal Adams was in high demand and working on several titles including The Brave and the Bold and The Flash, but he found time to illustrate this funny little story. Even though it's a backup feature he still gave it the craftsmanship it deserved. Clark Kent is slightly mousey but still powerful. You can see Superman behind the glasses even though he's hiding. Adams gives Clark the most amazing expressions of horror and astonishment and it sells the comic. 

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Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976)

Comic Panel of Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man (1976)
DC Comics

Who wouldn't want to see the oldest superhero team up with the hottest young superhero? The comic was the first superhero collaboration between the two companies. The story is that Peter Parker and Clark Kent are both covering a NASA satellite launch when Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus team up and hijack it. Superman and Spider-Man fight before teaming up to stop them,

The comic was drawn by Ross Andru who had worked on both Spider-Man and Superman comics before this.While the pencils were at Dick Giordano's place Neal Adams “took it upon himself” to redraw the Superman figures. He and Dick felt that Andru was having a problem with the chest logo and was under a lot of pressure from the deadline.

Adams said that he talked to Ros and he was delighted with it. He took great effort to keep the Ross Andru look and quality but “added a bit of anatomy here and there, chiseled a face a bit”.

In the end, Adams never took credit for it out of respect for Andru, but it remains one of his most popular Superman works.

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Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (1978)

Comic panel from Superman vs. Muhammad Ali (1978)
DC Comics

It sounds like a stupid gimmick when you say there's a comic with the greatest boxer fighting Superman but it works wonderfully. Back in the 1970s, someone came up with the idea to have Muhammad Ali fight Superman. Aliens come down and threaten to destroy the planet unless Earth's greatest fighter beats their greatest champion. Ali and Superman have a boxing match to determine who should fight. Ali teaches Superman the “sweet science” of boxing and then, because Superman doesn't have powers in the ring, knocks him out.

Legendary Joe Kubert was supposed to draw this comic, but Ali’s people weren’t happy with his drawings of him. So they called in Neal Adams to do the artwork. Halfway through the project the writer Dennis O'Neil had to step away from the project and Adams adapted the story.

While the idea could have been played for laughs, Neal Adam's gorgeous artwork makes you take it seriously. From Ali's facial expressions to the perfectly rendered poses of the fights it's all professional and marvelous. Since he didn't have a deadline it took Adams a year to make the comic and the craftsmanship shows. He had a hand in writing the comic as well so he has to take credit for that too.

It remains to be seen if The Coming of the Supermen will rank along with his greatest works, but there's no denying he's done some amazing work for Superman.