Comic Strip Collections Review: Spy Vs. Spy: The Complete Casebook by Antonio Prohias

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This collection was printed to honor one of MAD Magazines most famous and consistently funny gag strips Spy vs. Spy by Antonio Prohias.  Antonio escaped from Cuba during the communist uprising and worked as an independent editorial cartoonist until he found his place as part of Mad Magazines “Usual Gang of Idiots,” with his humorous take on the cold war in Spy vs. Spy.

Having actually been accused of being a spy by Castro’s regime, Prohias took the accusation to heart and formed one of the greatest pantomime duos in cartoon history.  Spy vs. Spy is a relatively simple concept, but it was brought to hilarious heights with the crazy imagination of Prohias.

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It is a simple idea in it’s conception, but his imagination and art brought Spy vs. Spy to become a hallmark of American pop culture and are as famous or even more famous than Mad Magazines own mascot Alfred E. Newman.  In the television show based on Mad Magazine, Spy vs. Spy was the intermission cartoon special which tied the show to it’s original source material.  The skit comedy owed more to Saturday Night Live than the parody comedy magazine, but Prohias’ beloved characters brought the magazines brand of comedy to the show and anchored it so it didn’t fall into the usual anonymity of the usual sketch comedy shows.

Prohias passed away in 1998 and this collection is the complete work of his famous Spy vs. Spy comic.  It even includes some of the new ones which were done after his passing, as the popularity of the strip has outlived it’s creator.  Antonio Prohias has created an archetype which has cemented his reputation as a master of the comic genre and his creations live on to this day.  If you ever loved Mad Magazine or even if you didn’t, this is the cream of the crop.  Mad Magazine has gone through countless ups and downs in it’s career, but one constant was that every month the Black Spy and the White Spy would always be at each other in their never ending quest of one up-man-ship.

What more could you ask for in a collection than a complete work?  Check it out, you can get it pretty cheap off Amazon or E-bay, and it is well worth the cost.  This is one of the best pantomime comics in the business and if you want to study drawing and how to tell a story in movement, Prohias was one of the masters in the field.

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So until next time True Believers, may your mug always be frosted and your root beer always foamy.

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