The creator of Spy vs Spy was the Cuban comics creator Antonio Prohías, born in Cienfuego in 1921, A newspaper cartoonist, he created politically and culturally satirical cartoons, winning awards and becoming president of the Cuban Cartoonists Association.
His anti-Batista cartoons saw that after the Cuban Revolution in 1959, Fidel Castro even handed him a “cartoon of the year” award. But when the cartoons twisted to attack Castro’s anti-free speech policies, he was labelled a spy for the CIA , found himself fired from publishers and in 1960, he left for New York.
Unable to speak English, he worked in a factory in the day, and drew new cartoons at night. He took his “Sinister Man” slapstick character from his Cuban days, gave him a rival, and walked into the MAD Magazine offices with the wordless Spy Vs Spy. He sold three strips straight away. And MAD started to publish a comic strip that expounded the absurdity of the Cold War exploding (or not) across the globe.
And if it wasn’t for Castro, we’d never have seen it…
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