The Prisoner has been hailed as television’s first masterpiece; a surreal spy-fi thriller unlike anything else on TV before or since. Patrick McGoohan created, starred in, directed, and produced the now cult-classic 1967-68 ITV series celebrating the 50th anniversary of its first US broadcast on CBS this year, and Titan comics is bringing Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Peter Milligan, and more to the party.
The Prisoner is about a British Secret Service who resigns angrily, and wakes up imprisoned in a strange place called The Village where everyone’s names are replaced by numbers. As he tries to learn about his new home and attempts escape after escape, the administrators attempt to learn the reason for his resignation. It’s the story of a man held captive and desperately trying to preserve his humanity in a place that just doesn’t make sense.
It is “the most unusual and challenging television series ever filmed”. It wasn’t a simple spy program; it was a tripped out spy-thriller mixed with elements of science fiction, psychological drama, allegory, and philosophy. And it cemented itself as a classic for a reason fifty years ago.
To celebrate, Titan first will be publishing an art-sized, hardcover collection of Jack Kirby, Gil Kane and Steve Englehart’s long-lost, previously unpublished The Prisoner comics titled The Prisoner: Jack Kirby And Gil Kane Art Edition. Featuring 17 Kirby pages, 18 pages by Kane, and a wealth of bonus pages, the book will be out in July.
But that’s not all. Titan will also be publishing a new series of Prisoner stories drawn by Colin Lorimer that takes us back to the mysterious village. Featuring fantastic covers by fan-favorites Lorimer, Kirby, John McCrea, Michael and Laura Allred, and others, it will be six issues of surreal, science-fiction as only Peter Milligan can write it.
The Prisoner took to the small screen in the US fifty years ago, and for seventeen episodes it challenged viewers as it entertained. Patrick McGoohan created not just a TV series, but a treatise on what it means to be human heavily inspired by the political landscape of the time. It was unique, unusual, and brilliant. Just like these creators. What a way to celebrate its anniversary.
“Be seeing you.”