Muhammad Ali has never faded from sports and pop culture, but the boxing legend is currently as popular a figure as ever in film, television, and print.

Ali is one of the characters in the recent film One Night in Miami, which follows Cassius Clay’s friendship with Malcolm X, publicly announcing he was joining the Nation of Islam, and changing his name to Muhammad Ali. The relationship between Ali and Malcolm X will also be the subject of an upcoming TV miniseries, based on the book Blood Brothers. And actor Michael B. Jordan is developing a scripted miniseries on Ali’s life for Amazon, currently titled The Greatest.

Add a new graphic novel to the chronicle of Ali’s career, particularly the 1974 “Rumble in the Jungle” match between Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa, Zaire. In the New York Times, George Gene Gustines profiles Muhammad Ali, Kinshasa 1974, which combines comic book illustration with archival photographs to depict the events surrounding the event and the fight itself. The book was released this week.

Writer Jean-David Morvan interviewed photographer Abbas Attar, who captured several iconic images from ringside and used his first-hand account to provide the story’s narration. Artist Rafael Ortiz told the visual component of the story, illustrating the action taking place between Abbas’s photographs and showing the events leading up to the match.

“I believe that photography and comics are very complementary because the comic is used to tell a long-form story and photography is an art of the instant, of the ‘here and now,’ of the fraction of a second,” Morvan told Gustines.

The story of the “Rumble in the Jungle” has been told previously, most notably in Leon Gast’s 1996 documentary When We Were Kings and Michael Mann’s 2001 film Ali, in which Will Smith portrays the boxer. So some boxing followers and Ali fans may feel as if they’ve already seen all they need regarding these events.

However, both films are only available on streaming through Showtime (or subscriptions via Hulu, Amazon, Sling, and fuboTV) and will leave the service at the end of February.

And those who have seen When We Were Kings and Ali might appreciate another perspective of those events, this one from a first-hand view. The contrast between Abbas’s photographs and Ortiz’s illustrations also creates some compelling storytelling, much like the use of animation that we’ve seen in some recent documentaries like Be Water and Icarus.

Muhammad Ali, Kinshasa 1974 is available at bookstores now, including and Amazon.

[New York Times]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.