March 23, 2011


Cartoonist Antonio Prohias (1921-1998) fled Cuba in May of 1960, as Castro came to power. His cartoon strip Spy vs Spy, made its debut in Mad Magazine in January, 1961. Many artists and writers have continued the strip since his retirement in 1990. Spy vs. Spy has remained popular for its ability to celebrate genre conventions like gadgets and booby traps, and to also capture deeper commentary about the cold war, trust, and politics. Similar to other macabre works (Addams Family, Richard Sala), Spy vs. Spy's devilish sense of humor makes this a fan-favorite. Many anthologies of the strip are available. I suggest the Complete Casebook, as I believe contains excepts of an in-depth interview Prohias did with my pal, Bill Janocha, who works on Beetle Bailey (Bill also contributed to my book, Mort Walker Conversations). I personally like to see the black and white spies dish our their deadly plots in animated skits like this one below, which were produced for MADtv (1995-2009). I will post more of these cartoons this week!

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