Friday, April 9, 2010

"Spy vs. Spy: Missions of Madness" by Antonio Prohias

Searching for something for hubby dearest to read, I came across information in our library system that we had just cataloged two different books of the old MAD Magazine cartoon "Spy vs. Spy". I knew he'd talked about that 'toon before and how much he loved it, so I being the good library lady I am (and good wife!), reserved both books. This one came first, which worked out well; Antonio Prohias was the man who started it all. After Mr. Man was done with this one, I decided to pick it up since I haven't read anything from MAD in forever.

The cartoons are good, a bit somber at times, I now realize. But after reading the foreword by John Ficcarra, the style makes sense. I had no idea that the guy who originally did "SvS" was from Cuba, that he'd fled that country after getting death threats, or that there's a lot of cold-war subtext to the strips. Once I read that information, I really paid attention to the strips, and yes, there's a certain air of futility that comes across after a while. After all, one spy dies at the end of each 'toon - it was up to Prohias which one would bite the dust. And there was no way to predict which one it would be, just that one would be dead. Of course, he was always resurrected for the next strip.

The one thing I think is very funny is my take on the spies. For some reason when I was young, I thought they were crows, not men! I do believe I was confusing the spies with the magpies from "Heckle & Jeckle". Yeah, I was a weird kid!

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