Here’s exclusive pics of the latest cracking colab from Boston based store, BODEGA. Together with PUMA, they have licensed the Cold War inspired cartoon, ‘Spy vs. Spy’ and for this project, the Sky II Hi has been renamed the Spy II Hi. Clever, huh? There’s a swag of minute details embedded into this shoe including morse code, bullet holes, dynamite swingtags and even a stash pocket! The guys have also factored in a nifty and secretive contest, and while we don’t want to reveal too much, there was a tough-ass female spy who appeared every so often in the strip, so perhaps it has something to do with her? Read more about this model in our exclusive interview right here.
So what drew you guys to MAD comics and the popular characters of Spy vs. Spy for your new collab with Puma?
Dan: I’m not sure where to start. I know for the majority of us at the store, we all grew up reading MAD magazine and of course the best comic in the mag was SPY vs SPY. One night over dinner we were talking about Spy Vs Spy and how there was not much done to commemorate this iconic duo. As with most of our conversations, it started to go off in a tangent. We were coming up with all these crazy ideas for a Spy shoe. I think the running joke was Bodega vs ***** vs Spy vs Spy? It was kind of around the time when companies were doing large multi-brand collaborations, which I still don’t understand? The next day we met with Puma to discuss the idea of a Spy Vs Spy shoe. Almost all the projects we do are based off things that we love or have some cultural significance for the most part.
Oliver: The spirit of the comic reflected what was going on around us and the sneaker game at large. It’s the vibe of always trying to outsmart, outmanoeuver and outclass this other motherfucker who’s trying to blow your shit up. Dog eat dog but with traps and maps.
How did you get Puma to change the name of the shoe from Sky II High to Spy II High?
Oliver: Air Rev (Adam Leaventon) worked really closely with us on the project. He pushed corporate to allow the change. It wasn’t easy, but playboy must’ve made them an offer they couldn’t refuse.
Explain to those not too familiar with the comic (especially young sneaker heads on the come up) just how much Spy vs. Spy impacted American pop culture since MAD’s inception in 1961.
Oliver: The comic was born out of the Cold War espionage era where two identical spies were infinitely plotting each other’s destruction through elaborate schemes and over engineered weaponry (see Rube Goldberg Machines). It was more about competition than destruction and they would attack each other in roundabout ways. They were more inventors than killers and that spirit of grand plans to screw over others resonantes deeply in the American Psyche. The comic strip has been a mainstay of MAD magazine and to this day inspires young adolescents to blow shit up.
If you’re going to design or wear a shoe based around spies, you need to keep things subtle and approach it with a “more than meets the eye vibe” to the sneaker. What are some of the subtler points of the shoes, that aren’t so obvious when looking at the images?
Oliver: The perforations are all Morse coded. There’s bullet holes in the foot bed. We also had Puma change the tongues to have a hidden pocket where there is a secret message to decode…that leads to a safe….which leads to something top secret.
Are there any links to Lady in Grey, the female spy who both Black and White Spy (or X and Y in some countries) were both in love with? She was awesome! The ultimate in girl power she used to set traps that the lovesick spies would fall for and in turn she would always win!
Oliver: I think that Prince song “pu$$y control” sums it up best. The link to the female spy is discovered through the secret message…. Sorry I can’t reveal more!
How did the process for this PUMA differ from working with Reebok on the Bodega Pump? What’s with the PUMP by the way?
Dan: Every company has unique qualities and we have been very lucky to work with brands that have given us so much creative freedom. Everyone at Puma has been extremely supportive of this project and it has helped out greatly in making this project happen. A lot of special thanks goes to Adam Leaventon for all the headaches we caused him. As for the “Escape Packs” with Reebok that project is expected to drop late spring 2008. Right now we are working on all the apparel designs and packaging. This is another project that we have been getting a ton of feedback on.
Oliver: Puma had a lot more feedback with material considerations & general input to tie the project together. I think the Spy vs. Spy concept is a lot easier to translate into this type of medium than the bootleg discount bus service.
Were you surprised to find out that New Balance had cottoned onto the idea with their own ‘unofficial’ Spy vs. Spy MT580?
Dan: We were a bit surprised that they were doing a similar shoe it was a little uncanny. Personally I feel that we did the Spy’s justice by going all the way to secure the proper licensing, without it, the Spys couldn’t be properly represented. I’m more surprised that no one had done it sooner. I guess it was fate.
MAD magazine must have been surprised to get the call?
Oliver: We let Puma deal with the legal contracts. It wasn’t hard since people from MAD’s parent company were hitting us up for other projects all at once. So instead of a call, we got transferred.
Not too much has been given away regarding information on the shoe, and Sneaker Freaker were lucky enough to feature the first images in Issue 11. When will the shoe come out and is it a global release? Is it all worked out by now?
Dan: We had to keep the shoe on the hush-hush while all the legal matters were worked out. Despite all the hurdles this shoe came out really amazing. I feel that it is some of our best design work. It subtley uses the Spy characters in a way to make it very wearable. The shoe is scheduled to drop in late February of 2008 and already the response for it has been overwhelming. The number of shoes produced, were made to order by each participating store. Even more surprising, it is rumored that this shoe is going to hit hard with the comic book collector individual. Only time will tell, we’re all interested in how this thing goes off. It’s only proper that a shoe of this stature come out in the pages of Sneaker Freaker.
Oliver: There’s no better spot to debut the shoe than with Sneaker Freaker!
What’s next for Bodega? You guys have come up fast, there’s no stopping you now!
Dan: Who knew?
Oliver: Our own brand of wet wipes and more design and illustration projects that go beyond the box or even the building that the box is in.