Trapped in a world he never made…

prisoner060lgNow that Jim mentioned it, I vaguely remember hearing about Jack Kirby adapting The Prisoner back in the day. The project never saw the light of day, but Kirby apparently finished drawing the first issue. There’s an interesting translation issue at work here, as the story changes from the language of film to the language of comics. Kirby adds narration and thought bubbles, where the only words the show gave us were dialogue and the occasional sign. This emphasizes the atmosphere of oppression and paranoia, in a rather heavy-handed way, but it takes something away from the story as well. The reader loses the freedom to fill in the blanks. There’s less room for an individual interpretation. I guess that’s in keeping with the show’s theme, in a way.

Charles Hatfield wrote an in-depth reading of the issue and how it fits in with Kirby’s work in the 70s. I’m most interested by Hatfield’s speculation at a parallel between The Prisoner and Kirby’s own situation at the time. He had just resigned his position at DC out of frustration, only to find himself in the Marvel Village under much the same restraints.

There was another Prisoner comic book in the 80s, The Prisoner: Shattered Visage. It was a sequel rather than adaptation. I have it somewhere, so maybe it’s due for a re-read. As the Wikipedia page notes, this was adapted for audio as a podcast series. Who knows? Perhaps this will find its way onto ds106radio

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