There’s a story behind today’s strip, and it has nothing to do with Patrick McGoohan.
When I did a Gary Gygax tribute last year, I told myself that when other sufficiently geeky notable figures (or sufficiently notable figures period) died, I would do similar tributes to them. I did that to reassure myself, because even though numerous other webcomics, including such highlights as Penny Arcade and xkcd, did similar tributes, the fact remained that the only reason I was doing a Gary Gygax tribute was because Order of the Stick did one. Order of the Stick never does topical strips; the closest it comes tends to be throwaway references in early panels. Still, the fact remained that I was effectively letting OOTS write my strip, and I was able to live with myself better if I told myself that was not going to be the only time, that I had more in store.
I did not. By all rights I should have done strips on the passing of George Carlin or even Eartha Kitt. Nonetheless, I still let that Gary Gygax strip stand alone as my only tribute to a dead figure, one created solely to mimic another webcomic, and I decided not to let that stand by the time one year had passed since it was published, and before the one-year anniversary of the strip itself if possible.
Not to sound flip, but I debated about doing a strip about Ricardo Montalban and was starting to regretfully lean towards no before McGoohan died – saved me, you might say – and while he was still a marginal case for having the right combination of geekiness and notability, I decided that “The Prisoner” was close enough. It helped that I had a strip I was unhappy about (it’s really incredibly disgusting and I need to take a hatchet to it before before I’m comfortable posting it) that I was hoping to bump out of the rotation. Besides, he passes the xkcd test, in that I’d be shocked if xkcd doesn’t have its own tribute up by Monday. It’s right up Randall Munroe’s alley!
Also, while I’m here, I do not condone anyone using this strip to start wild McGoohan/Elvis/Hoffa theories. Or even getting the idea from this post.