Antonio Prohias. I'd get to know your from a day at a supermarket and I'd learn your death was short on an episode on MAD TV.
I remember as kid, I must've been like 6 or 7 when I picked up a Mad Magazine or glanced at one in a supermarket.
See, back in the day you had comics in supermarkets and you also had Mad Magazines alongside some game magazines and so much more. I was always with my mom when I was a kid. Especially when it was grocery shopping time. Why? Because of the mad magazines! At least that's how I saw it. I use to grab the first Mad Magazine and look at the pictures for hours on end. Especially the covers.
I still remember this cover. Man, it was 92'? I still remember how when I was young and saw this I was like "Why is George Bush vomiting? I don't care anymore let's see the drawings!". and that's when I saw....
This, my friends, is SPY vs. SPY. Created by none other than Antonio Prohias. Prohias came to America after getting sick of the communist lunacy of Fidel Castro. Prohias had a cool life of being the President of the Cuban Cartoonist Association and winning the Juan Gualberto Gómez award while working for the cuban newspaper El Mundo. Now to my knowledge ol' Ant left Cuba because of the "commie-ness" that was souring the paper he worked for.
Let's not forget this is how he felt about the communism in Cuba. If Castro catches wind of you doing this in other newspapers and your from Cuba? Then yeah eventually your going to need to leave real soon because Castro will kill you.
So the year is May 1 1960. Prohias left Cuba to arrive to New York and ten weeks later he made and sold this little gem for Mad Magazine.
And for more than 20 years he would bring Mad, gold. Pure, hillarious gold!
Then the fun unfortunately came to slow halt. March of 87' came and Antonio made his last strip. This was the cover of the last Issue Antonio would be apart of before retiring from Mad Magazine.
This would Antonio Prohias's last strip. Prohias, aging at 65 was getting ill and stepped down as creator and later other people like Duck Edwing and Bob Clarke and others would carry the torch for ol' Ant's two spy's. It's funny, even though I got into Spy vs. Spy probably around 91-92, it was Bob Clarke's work that I was really looking at. But you can tell Bob Clarke's work on the strip in comparison to Ant's. I didn't get the Prohias experience until I was in 5th or 6th grade.
My friend shows me this. I was in awe and jealously because he had this . He eventually let me borrow it and I loved it! It was a book of nothing but Spy vs. Spy strips. The book also had a name I was not familiar with. Prohias. I always wondered who he was and what he had to do with this. Keep in mind the Spy vs. Spy strips I've seen from 92 till getting the book above were done by Duck Edwing and Bob Clarke. I don't ever recall Prohias's name being there. If Prohias was mentioned then I never noticed it. But that name Prohias always stuck in my head after looking into the book above. Later in time Mad would make a show called MADtv and I laid my eyes on spy vs. Spy cartoons.
All were a delight to watch. But then there's one day I'll never forget. As the credits were rolling for an episode of MADtv a title card pops up saying "IN MEMORY OF ANTONIO PROHIAS". That's when it hit me. Prohias died. The man who created a portion of my childhood and young adulthood is gone. Though my comics don't shed any likeness to the cuban commander that's not to say Prohias didn't motivate me to draw. I loved the noses of the spys and the scenarios Prohias wrote and drew. I loved Bob Clarke too but Prohias is more was the real deal, let's face it. Here's to you, Antonio Prohias. you left a legacy that people are still building. And even though it wasn't your personal work I laid eyes on first it would be your creations that would motivate me to find out the information I now know. I thank Edwing and Clarke for not letting an idea like Prohia's die. But I thank Prohias most of all, for making the spy's. Thank you.
Luis Calderon blasting off!