The Prisoner: Original Art Edition

Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, and Steve Englehart. Titan Comics, $79.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-78586-287-8
This lush, oversized edition reproduces two separate, previously unpublished attempts at adapting Patrick McGoohan’s 1960s television show The Prisoner into a graphic novel. One of the sections is by writer Steve Englehart (The Avengers) and artist Gil Kane (Green Lantern), and the other by Jack Kirby (Captain America), produced after the first attempt was spiked. The show featured a secret agent captured and held in a seaside town populated by mysterious characters, where he is guarded by a large floating ball and subjected to psychological experiments by his captors. Drawn in the mid-1970s, Kirby was still at the height of his artistic powers as he bent the teleplay to his unique style with dramatic posing and detailed tech. His bold pencils prove a great match for the surreal paranoia of the show. Englehart and Kane lay out a more straightforward rendition, albeit one filled with superfluous narrative captions for the protagonist, “#6,” who was often silent in the show. The volume is oddly organized, as the historical essay by Englehart is sequenced after both comics, contextualizing their existence only after their presentation. Neither story has finished art nor lettering, and a great deal of inessential supplementary material pads out the book. Despite its exquisite production values and the inherent interest for academics of media culture, this obscurity is more a curiosity piece for fans of the artists involved than it is a compelling work of art on its own. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/16/2018
Release date: 07/10/2018
Genre: Comics
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