Titan Comics have revealed the covers and teased interior art on their celebratory The Prisoner comic first teased and reported on downthetubes last October. They’ve also announced the impending publication of an oversized artist edition of a lost The Prisoner comic book classic by comic book legends Jack Kirby, Gil Kane and Steve Englehart.
Both projects are based on the seminal The Prisoner TV series and published under licensed from ITV Studios Global Entertainment, to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the surreal 1960’s cult TV classic this year.
First shown on Canadian and UK TV screens in 1967, The Prisoner was co-created by actor Patrick McGoohan and writer Geoffrey Markstein (the exact who did what much in dispute between those who’ve documented the show’s production), who first worked together on McGoohan’s career-defining show, the secret agent drama Danger Man.
The Prisoner centres on an unnamed secret agent known only as Number Six and his attempts to escape the mysterious Village. Combining spy fiction with elements of science fiction, allegory and psychological drama, the show had its original audience hooked, but bemused by its controversial ending. McGoohan would later say he never intended the show to have a longer run beyond its 17 episodes, with some accounts suggesting he wanted even less, producer Lew Grade wanting more to sell the show into the US.
The open-ended nature of its climax raised more questions than it answered about the series protagonist and setting and spawned a global fan following that continues to this day, and its meaning remains hotly debated.
Titan’s new comic collection and comic series are set to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the first US transmission of The Prisoner in 1968.
The brand-new comic series set in the world of The Prisoner is by celebrated writer Peter Milligan (Dan Dare, X-Statix) and artist Colin Lorimer (The Hunt, Harvest). It’s set to transport readers back to the mysterious Village where everyone is a number, and the first issue will feature six amazing covers, including one by Mike and Laura Allred, one by Jack Kirby, a Patrick McGoohan photo cover – and more to be revealed.
“For a story where all is ambiguous, it’s hardly surprising that everyone takes from The Prisoner something different,” Peter commented when the new project was announced year. “Like most people I had my own theories, my own twisted notions – mostly Kafkaesque and existential – of what was really going on in those mock Italianate dwellings.
“Personally the stranger and more baffling it was the better it suited me, so what an honour it is now, thanks to Titan Comics, to be writing Number 6’s successor into that enigmatic and beguiling world.
“And how cool it is to imagine that while I’m writing this new iteration of The Prisoner, I am at least for a while… number one.”
In July, Titan Comics will publish an art-sized, hardcover collection of Jack Kirby, Gil Kane and Steve Englehart’s long-lost, previously unpublished The Prisoner comic strips based on the cult classic.
This special oversized collectors edition will contain the entire 17-page Jack Kirby strip, the first six pages of which were inked and lettered by Mike Royer, as well as 18 pages of pencils drawn by legendary comic artist Gil Kane.
In addition to reprinting these rare pages, this collection also features unmissable bonus archive material, including facsimiles of the original script as written by Steve Englehart.
Jack Kirby was clearly enamoured of the show and it’s perhaps no surprise he was chosen to provide art and story for a comic version of The Prisoner in 1976. But not before writer Steve Englehart had taken a crack at the concept.
“Marv Wolfman, as Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, wanted to adapt the classic TV show, but after securing the rights, his duties didn’t leave him enough time, so he handed it off to me,” Steve Engelhart recalls of the project’s origins.
“I plotted an adaptation of the first episode, and Gil Kane handled the art (with Joe Staton providing his layouts). I was all ready to script – but by then, Marv had resigned, a new E-I-C had taken over, and Marvel was in turmoil. I ended up leaving, and was told I would not be allowed to script my Prisoner. I told them I darn well would, and they told me I’d have to turn in the script the next morning!”
He delivered a script on time – but it was still shelved.
Kirby’s planned series never went into production either, the hugely influential comics creator instead tackling 2001: A Space Odyssey. Most pages of the first issue, based on the show’s opening episode Arrival, were drawn.
“Be seeing you!”
• Titan Comics’ all-new The Prisoner comics and The Prisoner: Jack Kirby and Gil Kane Art Edition will be available to order from the upcoming February 2018 Diamond Previews catalogue. Fans can find their local comic book store via www.comicshoplocator.com.
• Buy the The Prisoner: Jack Kirby And Gil Kane Art Edition from amazon.co.uk (using this link helps support downthetubes, thank you)
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The Prisoner ™ and © ITC Entertainment Group Limited. 1967, 2001 and 2018. Licensed by ITV Ventures Limited. All rights reserved.
Covers Subject To Licensor Approval
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.