Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Spy vs. Spy: Missions of Madness

By Antonio Prohias
Published by Watson-Guptill

Slugline: The Wrong Format

Spy vs. Spy is a classic comic strip made famous by Mad Magazine featuring two spies that use increasing more elaborate traps and ruses (including Rube Goldberg machines) to trap and kill one another. Very much a creation of the Cold War, with its creator Antonio Prohias a Cuban exile, the two spies representing opponents that have become indistinguishable from each other. This volume is one of several collections of the comics earliest strips in a manga format. It is because of that manga format that it is included on Prospero's Manga since it is likely that this volume (along with its companion collections) could be shelved with manga titles. That is a mistake because the comic is totally unsuited for the format, having just a single panel (in most cases) per page. Strips that would take up just a page or two in the original magazine format takes 10 or more pages in the manga, completely changing their feel and pacing. Since the comics are without word balloons the volume reads far too quickly making the book feel short even though it as long as traditional manga. The material itself are fine, this is just the worst possible way to read it.


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