San Diego Comic Con is one of the largest multi-genre conventions celebrating the popular arts. Started back in 1970 with only a handful of die-hard comic book fans, it has grown into a monster event with more than 130,000 people in attendance each year.
Annually the Con pays tribute to a select few from the pantheon of pop culture creations who have made it to a milestone year. Examples include the 75th anniversary of DC Comics and the 100th Anniversary of the Edgar Rice Burroughs classic novel Tarzan.
Every attendant of Comic Con receives an exclusive souvenir book that includes articles and artwork honoring that year’s anniversary celebrations.
In 2011, the Con honored the 50th Anniversary debut of the Mad Magazine comic strip Spy Vs. Spy. Created by Cuban political cartoonist Antonio Prohias. The strip’s main characters, white and black spies trying to assassinate one another, are allegorical of the Castro regime and the CIA.
I was fortunate enough to have an illustration on mine published in the souvenir book alongside a feature article written by Mr. Prohias’s close friend and co-Mad Magazine contributor Sergio Aragones. This once in a lifetime honor was made even more special when Mr. Aragones commented on my illustration saying, “This is Antonio. You have captured my friend’s work”.