Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974, review: The Rumble in the Jungle between comics and photography

Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974, review: The Rumble in the Jungle between comics and photography

Muhammad Ali

For boxing fans, few events have made history like The Rumble in the Jungle. It could not be otherwise, if we think that at the center of this legendary boxing match moved two intense lives, such as that of Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, two boxing icons of the period. But in the sultry night of Kinshasa in which these two titans clashed there was much more, there were the eyes of the world who saw in this meeting not a simple fight between two men, but a clash of ideals, pure passions. . A wealth of suggestions that emerge fully in Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974, a graphic novel published by Panini Comics that offers a more articulated vision of this unforgettable event.

The Rumble in the Jungle has been told in a thousand ways, from books to biopics like Ali with Will Smith, but each of these reinterpretations always had as focus the myth of Muhammad Ali, the boxer who had dared to challenge the American government on military engagement in Vietnam, losing his title and the boxer's license, ready to return to the ring at the end of the forced removal from boxing. A story that alone deserves its place in the Olympus of sport, but to make this story even more epic is the path that made this event possible. It was therefore necessary to find an ideal starting point from which to build a compelling narrative, which knew how to go beyond what has already been told several times, arousing the reader's curiosity by approaching him from a different perspective.

Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974, The Rumble in the Jungle becomes a comic

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console. log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh2"); } And there could be nothing better than a photograph, or rather, an entire photographic reportage that tells not only the fight in the ring, but also the preparation for this epochal moment. There is certainly no shortage of photos from The Rumble in the Jungle, but Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974 was born from the sensitivity of the eye of the photojournalist Abbas, who becomes our point of view on this story. Not only to understand the incredible vitality of this clash, of this challenge between two different concepts of boxing, but to go beyond the sweat and blood spilled in the ring, helping us to understand what the world was like then and how much the presence of two American boxers were the embodiment of a struggle of ideals on that night of October 30, 1974.

In Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974 the tables dedicated to the meeting are central, but at the same time they are the culmination of a story more articulated. Using the narrative ploy of the dialogue between Abbas and the reader, Jean-David Morvan paints a complex and fascinating social portrait, not only defining the figures of Muhamad Ali and George Foreman, but emphasizing other essential elements of this event. From the Machiavellian figure of Donald 'Don' King, the infamous match organizer who has also given prominence to subsequent generations of boxers, to the figure of Angelo, the confidant coach Ali, Morvan broadens the reader's vision allowing him to understand on an emotional level, almost epidermal, what were the emotions of the moment, not only of the two boxers, but of all those who looked at that ring as the stage of a social fight.

if (jQuery (" # crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh3_1 "). is (": visible ")) {console.log (" Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh3_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh3 "); } In addition to muscles and uppercuts, two different worldviews confronted each other in The Rumbel in the Jungle ring. If Ali had given up his name of Cassius Clay to defend his principles, even going so far as to take sides against the directives of his own government, Foreman was instead a champion more welcome to the American establishment, willing to indulge in comments that supported a patriotic respect. of the voice of Washington. Two different faces of the American way that clashed in Kinshasa, Zaire, an African nation that in 1974 was one of the pearls of Africa, free from the previous colonial domination and ready to prove itself as a modern nation. And in such a social turmoil, Muhammad Ali's voice was the drum that resounded in the hearts of the locals, who could not tolerate Foreman's rich American attitudes.

A wonderful synthesis between drawing and photography

With intelligence, Morvan develops the first part of Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974, making these differences emerge immediately, letting Abbas' voice tell us this often overlooked background. But speaking of a photojournalist, in addition to his voice, Morvan let his shots also convey the power of those moments to us, creating a suggestive work of hybridization between original drawings by Abbas, made available by the Abbas Photos Association. Abbas's shots become an integral part of Morvan's narrative fabric, in a wonderful alternation with the drawings of the South American artist Rafael Ortiz, who manages to capture the humoral essence of these epic figures, whether it is to show the power of their fists or the fragile emotionality of the men behind the high-sounding names of these athletes who made history.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh4_1"). is (": visible") ) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_culturapop_d_mh4_1 slot id: th_culturapop_d_mh4"); } Panini Comcis publishes Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974 in a generously sized volume that pays homage to the wonderful work of Morvan and Ortiz, managing to give the right emphasis to Abbas's rich photographic production. To give further charm to this graphic novel is the rich extras sector, which tells the genesis of this fascinating experiment, accompanied by a brief chronology of the existence of Muhammad Ali. The reading of Muhammad Ali: Kinshasa 1974 is not reserved only for boxing fans, but represents a comic book of admirable workmanship.

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