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Response to grantcart (Reply #21)

Wed Nov 30, 2016, 11:23 AM

23. Antonio Prohas, one of the superstars in Mad's roster of creators, from 1961-1986

Spy vs. Spy is a wordless comic strip published in Mad magazine. It features two agents involved in espionage activities, one is dressed in white, and the other in black, but they are otherwise identical, and are particularly known for their long, birdlike beaks. The pair are constantly at war with each other, using a variety of booby-traps to inflict harm on the other. The spies usually alternate between victory and defeat with each new strip. A parody of the political ideologies of the Cold War, the strip was created by Cuban expatriate cartoonist Antonio Prohías, and debuted in Mad #60, dated January 1961.


Antonio Prohías (January 17, 1921 – February 24, 1998), born in Cienfuegos, Cuba, was a cartoonist most famous as the creator of the comic strip Spy vs. Spy for Mad magazine.

In 1946, Prohías was given the Juan Gualberto Gómez award, recognizing him as the foremost cartoonist in Cuba. By the late 1940s, Prohías had begun working at El Mundo, the most important newspaper in Cuba at the time. In January 1959, Prohías was the president of the Cuban Cartoonists Association; after Fidel Castro seized power, he personally honored the cartoonist for his anti-Batista political cartoons. But Prohías soon soured on Castro's actions of muzzling the press. When he drew cartoons to this effect, he was accused of working for the CIA by Fidel Castro's government.[1] Consequently, he resigned from the newspaper in February 1959 .

With his professional career in limbo, Prohías left Cuba for New York on May 1, 1960, working in a garment factory by day and building a cartoon portfolio for Mad by night. Ten weeks later, he walked into Mad's offices unannounced. He spoke no English, but his daughter Marta acted as an interpreter for him.[1] Before he'd left, he had an $800 check and had sold his first three Spy vs. Spy cartoons to Mad. In late 1986, he sold his 241st and last Spy strip before retiring due to illness. Prohias also wrote and drew six paperback collections featuring the Spys. During an interview with the Miami Herald in 1983, Prohías gloated, "The sweetest revenge has been to turn Fidel's accusation of me as a spy into a moneymaking venture."[2]


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