Saturday, July 17, 2010


Before I get to the main crux of this here post let me thank each and every one of you Facebook people who "wrote on my wall" to wish me a "heppy birthday" (as Krazy Kat woulda said) last Friday! Since I hardly ever go on Facebook anymore due to the lack of time or even bravery I must admit that I found out about your little missives via the various emails I got notifying me of your well wishes, and believe-you-me every one of your hearty congratulations is full appreciated deep from the bottom of my pitted, fat-clogged heart. But really, don't you people know that it is wrong to write on walls? What do you think this is, a restroom in a rundown Esso on the outskirts of Dubuque??? Now I want each and every one of you to get your buckets of hot soapy water and SCRUB OFF YOUR COMMENTS RIGHT NOW!!! That'll teach you to write on other people's well-kept walls...sheesh!!!

And for the few of you who like to snicker and go tee hee over my ever-advancing age all I'll have to say is, I wonder where you will be when you're teetering the totter like I am! Yeah, I can see you all fulfilling your life-long dream stuck somewhere in Middle Management at a local K-Mart while listening to your Swa LPs and rubbing yourselves to glossies of Wooden Shjips or whatever they're called while cozying up to thoughts of better days as a young and upstart devotee of the eighties snob rock brigade. If you're going to age, at least do it the smart way like I have and don't let the sound of life slamming the door in your face get you too discouraged. Frankly, I have no complaints other than not being born a good five/ten years earlier so's I could have experienced a lotta my favorite rock/tee-vee/gulcheral happenings first hand!

But hey, fuggit those nebs! All I wanna do right now is apologize about the comparatively skimpy weekend post that I'm about to dish out at you. Not that I haven't been busy immersing myself in healthy, BTC-approved fun 'n fact, I am sitting through some very interesting, life-reaffirming medium that will be mentioned in a number of future posts, but I haven't had that much of an opportunity to immerse myself in any new recordings of soundscapading of any sorts to report on this week. (The usual "economy drive", y'know!) Now I have been spinning a load of wonders including the two 12-Cent Donkey CD's which I hope to report on later plus a number of oldies have been getting reg'lar airplay on a more-than-frequent occasion during the wee-wee hours, but since I've already spouted off about these various musical gems why should I be redundant? What I wanna gab about right now is...well, none other than SPY VS. SPY!

Yeah, the old MAD standby which is still getting the royal treatment a good 49 years after it first appeared in the pages of that once-hallowed humor magazine. Dunno about you, but SPY VS. SPY has captured my imagination ever since I first espied the feature in some old MAD paperback or other, perhaps because of the obviously European-influenced artwork (which was certainly different from the Amerigan delineations that I had been accustomed to) or maybe the inhuman animal-esque appearances of the spies themselves is what drew me to Cuban expat Antonio Prohias' utmost creation. Perhaps t'was the convoluted (some would say "Rube Goldberg-esque") manners that the spies try to off each other with or obtain vital information about technology that still seems lifted straight from some early-forties WW II B-movie. It's amazing that this comic has lasted as long as it did (though I understand that a newspaper strip only lasted the lifespan of a butterfly), because if anyone other than Prohias had attempted a comic like this you know the well of imagination and thought would have dried up a good six months into the entire shebang (which is pretty much what happened to the strip after Prohias' retirement, even though it lives on not only in name but in legend/product licensing!).

In an age where one can actually possess the entire runs of classy late-fifties television series for their own personal advantage why not the entire run of Prohias SPY VS. SPY which not so surprisingly enough is available via a 2001 "Watson/Guptill" softcover volume. It's probably an easy enough find if you're wont to go traipsing around at local rummage sales or remaindered book stores and don't have all of the original MAD these appeared in handy. Well, at least this book does bring some sort of "closure" as they like to say regarding Prohias' stay at EC with not only his Spy but infrequent non-Spy cartoons. Not only that, but there are also pix of his occasional cover suggestions plus a brief introduction to Prohias' pre-Spy cartoons that were created during his days as a celebrated Cuban cartoonist who was more/less forced outta the country due to some rather public attacks thanks to noted liberal icon Fidel Castro. Now, I gotta admit that the inclusion of those was helpful since I never saw any of the "Hombre/Mujer Sinestro" cartoons beforehand, but frankly I was left even hungrier for some examples of his even earlier ERIZO and OVEJA NEGRA work which surprisingly doesn't even appear here at all. More examples of TOVARICH other than the ones presented in MAD would have been also really nice to peruse. Perhaps there's some other volume some reader can point me in the direction of, or perhaps some web sources?

Sheesh, whaddelse can I say? Howzbout that I've always been more partial to the black spy than the white because he seemed way more sinister in his dark garb (plus the white spy because of his outfit comes off more of a "good guy"), and that the only part of the entire MAD television show on Fox that I really enjoyed were the animated SPY VS. SPY (and Don Martin) cartoons because they were the only part of the program that had any relevance to the magazine of yore. You can find the entire run easily enough on youtube, either presented as they originally appeared of doctored up by some well-meaning yet misguided fan. Frankly I liked the old Mountain Dew commercials a whole lot more:

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