Esquire, April 1968: The Passion of Muhammad Ali
If you’ve seen any of Lois’ covers, or variations of his covers, it’s probably his photograph of Muhammad Ali, which is sometimes cited as the greatest magazine cover of all time. The cover is almost completely white, with Muhammad Ali, shirtless, pierced all over his body with arrows. Like a martyr. Ali had refused military service, claiming conscientious objector status through his conversion to Islam. Ali was sentenced to jail, stripped of all his titles, and condemned as a draft dodger—some even called him a traitor. The idea of this cover was to suggest that he was a martyr to his religion, but George Lois chose a Christian martyr to represent him—specifically, St. Sebastian.

Ali called up Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and explained the painting on which this photo was based in excruciating detail, before finally putting George Lois on the phone. After a lengthy theological discussion, Elijah Muhammad gave George Lois his OK. (via)

Esquire, April 1968: The Passion of Muhammad Ali

If you’ve seen any of Lois’ covers, or variations of his covers, it’s probably his photograph of Muhammad Ali, which is sometimes cited as the greatest magazine cover of all time. The cover is almost completely white, with Muhammad Ali, shirtless, pierced all over his body with arrows. Like a martyr. Ali had refused military service, claiming conscientious objector status through his conversion to Islam. Ali was sentenced to jail, stripped of all his titles, and condemned as a draft dodger—some even called him a traitor. The idea of this cover was to suggest that he was a martyr to his religion, but George Lois chose a Christian martyr to represent him—specifically, St. Sebastian.

Ali called up Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and explained the painting on which this photo was based in excruciating detail, before finally putting George Lois on the phone. After a lengthy theological discussion, Elijah Muhammad gave George Lois his OK. (via)


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