Muhammad Ali. What he meant to me.
I know a lot of you are wondering why I’m not responding to Ali’s death.
The truth is, it’s too close to me. I see Ali differently than you see him. I see Ali as somebody who helped to change history. And let me, Julie Schwartz, and Denny O’Neill, turn all of that stuff that was happening way back when into a story with a real person and a comic book legend.
I want you to tell me about it. No, I’m not kidding. I really want you to tell me about it. I want you to tell me about what it meant to you. I want you to tell me how you feel. I don’t want to sit around and say, “Me, too.” I want to read your words.
Most of you pretty much know how I feel about it. I want the shower of your words to wash over me and take away some of the pain that I feel and that America feels. And that we have probably felt for at least 300 years.
One day we’ll all be able to forgive ourselves for the injustices that went on. Muhammad Ali was part of that healing. So please talk to me. Thank you.
This book and this work means so much. It not only embraced Ali as a hero for all, it placed a Muslim on par with others in western literature. Where else did we see that at that time. Where else do we see that even today. It’s impact and your work can’t be overstated.
He was an inspiration even to the younger crowd. Looking forward to seeing you in west palm beach.
As a young man I grew up with my nose in a comic book, Marvel or DC. That said Superman was the standard of strength and of justice, and to see Ali square off with the ‘Man of Steel’ toe to toe and win, for the honor of representing our planet was simply awesome. His skill and his abilities displayed in that comic reminded me that there are real life “super heroes” who can’t be quantified or qualified by race, creed or a religion. Just a super human being who believed in people and wanted genuinely to create peace.
I died laughing when i saw the meme. He truly was the greatest and he will be missed. I listened to some of his plays back in the days. I watched his boxing tournaments as well. Life is something man especially when you get really old like me.
To me, Ali represented something much more than a public figure or praised athlete. He spoke about real issues sometimes, in a way that no one in today’s world will. There’s no courage in this country anymore like Ali had.
Think of it: he spoke about the real reasons behind the war in Vietnam and what it meant to US, not what it meant to its planners and profiteers. Now there isn’t anyone who can distinguish between the interests of those war profiteers and “free market Capitalism”. Nobody wants to.
Mr. Adams, you used to express and do work to support some of the real issues in today’s world. Issues like hunger and poverty that a few of Ali’s generation spoke about. Do you remember Unicef? I grew up hearing their messages and couldn’t figure out how their claims made the least sense. They were telling us that thousands or more Africans found themselves in regions that couldn’t support their lives, yet they didn’t leave there. Years later and I’m seeing them forced into refugee camps by armed men in military jeeps. Later still, I’m hearing about an “international treaty” that included forcing some small Asian nation to buy American cigarettes and Coke, and I start thinking “those African nations they are telling me have no money for food have machine guns and jeeps. Corporations have access to international politics to get their way. Is THAT what’s happening in Africa? Are corporations giving arms and wealth to one tribe to force the other one off the lands corporations wish to exploit?” Every African I’ve met and asked this of has confirmed that this is EXACTLY what happened.
Ali may not have seen this bigger picture, but he sure knew that the smaller one was incomplete and bogus. Now we have no one willing to speak about the frauds being committed daily. Our politicians have legalized bribery with Citizens United and now everyone can SEE that they are bought and paid for, every last one with http://allaregreen.us/. In Cyprus Greece & Spain, banks stole citizens money and gave it to governments to pay back to the banks, in the U.S.A. they did the exact opposite. The banks and governments are working in collusion to steal every cebt you earn right out in the open. No one has the courage to speak what’s right in front of them.
Ali did. Malcolm X., MLK Jr and two Kennedys did, and the last was probably Tupac. Now with Ali gone, there is nobody willing to speak truth to power. Soon there will be lands unable to sustain human life here in America thanks to this cowardice endemic of American culture as the oil companies frack away all fresh water and destroy all non-Monsanto-owned farmlands http://www.alternet.org/fracking/farmers-file-suit-alleging-oil-companies-wastewater-caused-crop-loss, all because the last courageous speaker is dead. Soon he will be followed by the population who think it is much better to die a little later than the courageous ones than have any courage of their own. His death is pretty much the death of courage in this nation.
That is what Ali’s death means to me.
Ali I think sacrificed himself for his cause.. he knew I think that
he would pay a price for being ‘the greatest (boxer) and he did..
with all his wealth fame and adulation he paid a price and a dear one..
the price of his health his life.. for a cause ‘greater than himself’
In the end I wonder if he knew who ‘Ali’ was.. but we did and always will.. now you may not be on the same public stage that he was but in your way.. I feel there is a similarity.. and a price.. I was privalidged to meet Mr. Ali for a short time on several occassions.. I was even there at an ‘Opening’ when you and he were together for your Ali VS Superman comic.. but again the song has not been written nor the tomb but someday it will.. Ali like you like me are all human all fall short in various areas and yet and still ‘attention must be paid’ like that line in Death of a salesman’ attention must be paid to you my friend… with your playful bragado.. and regular guy persona.. I am sorry my friend.. you are special. touched by something.. in time maybe attention will be paid.. you are one of the great figure artists and sequential visual storytellers that ever has and probably will live.. michelange;o would appreaciate some of your draftsmanship I am sure.. and beyone that you have stepped up courageously for comic book workers rights from Siegal n shuster to a generation on new artists and writers you have reached out and changed the worker client relations in the comic book world and that is no small thing.. while you say you are not a ‘revolutionary’ sorry you are.. ali will live in all of us who knew him even for a moment..
and so… back to you.. you have served and continue to serve your family your friends your community.. but attention must be paid..
you work non stop .. not for yourself but for others.. and you don’t know me but I think i know you a little and I care about you.. maybe more than that.. take care of yourself my friend.. you have said if i interpreted it right that artists are often to a degree separate from the world in which they live apart from which gives them a vision an insight that some one else may not have they may carry a hurt a pain unsaid unspoken an apart from even though they appear to be the most integrated members of society.. all this to say..
and don’t take it the wrong way.. maybe give yourself a little of the love that you had have for ali that so many have for you.. I know your not a hughug kinduh guy still a hug to you my friend.. take care of yourself.. if not for me than for ali
anyway love to you n your family ali may have been the greatest
in his day at what he did.. and who he was..
if there is ever a planet named for comic book artist
there will be streets avenues maybe cities after you
well.. an honor to have lived in the same time as ali
the michelangelo of boxing and you
Ali learned to box here, he had his first job here, we are proud of both those facts and who he became.
This book means so much to us (the University that i work for and myself), that we are placing the statue and print we had signed by you in a permanent exhibit in our University.
And then a bit more…..