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The Great Walls of Samaris (Les Cités obscures #1)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  194 ratings  ·  15 reviews
Schuiten's graphic representations and architectural styles within Les Cités obscures is, among other historical themes, heavily influenced by Belgian Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta, who worked in Brussels at the turn of the 20th century. An important motif is the process of what he calls Bruxellisation, the destruction of this historic Brussels in favor of anonymous, ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published September 1st 1987 by Nantier Beall Minoustchine Publishing (first published 1983)
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This is the first instalment of one of the central masterpieces of the Franco-Belgian comic tradition – a series by François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters known as the Cités obscures, irritatingly rendered as ‘Cities of the Fantastic’ in the English translations that exist for some of them.

It is really like nothing else out there. Set on a strange Counter-Earth (anti-Terre), where humans live in independent city-states, and which is linked to our own world through various ‘passages obscures’, the
Léonard Gaya
Ceci est le premier album de la série "Les Cités obscures", que ses auteurs, François Schuiten et Benoît Peeters, enrichissent depuis plus d'un quart de siècle. Ce premier tome se présente comme un conte fantastique, dont le sujet principal est l'architecture urbaine. A mesure que le héros (un personnage sommairement esquissé) déambule dans les bâtiments et les rues, il découvre un angoissant secrets : la ville est de la même nature qu'une plante carnivore...

Les dessins de Schuiten sont superbes
This is the volume that started it all -- what is the longest, most intricate and enigmatic puzzlebox narrative in European comics. These are books that really take the reader away, to a vastly realized alternate history. When I was a kid, just seeing the covers of these books would set me off on some imaginary tangent, to a world where dreams had their own architects, and the architecture could be engineered in your dreams. That may or may not make sense, but it's exactly the kind of giddy, won ...more
Steve Smith
I read the 1987 NBM American edition of this title, called "The Great Walls of Samaris," though I also own the 2011 revised French edition. Having just arrived back home from BookExpo where I had the privilege of having breakfast with the author, Benoît Peeters, as as it had been years, possibly as many as 20, since I first read it, I took a couple of hours to revisit the book. The obvious thing that jumps out in this title is François Schuiten's masterful art, but what I had less remembered, wa ...more
Stunning, especially in it's brevity. There's a hint of Bioy Casares's Morel here, but appropriated in a way that is more terrifying than fantastique, similar to Robbe-Grillet's appropriation of the text for Last Year at Marienbad. But that is not what's important here.

Rather, this being the 3rd book in the Cites Obscures series that I've read, I'm actually pretty amazed by the fact that the these basically live up to their concept as well as they do. The art is fantastic & loads of fantasti
Another brick in the wall?
Hinter manch etwas obskurer Geschichte vermutet man als Leser oft etwas Tiefgründiges, vor dem man sich selbst klein macht und denkt, dass es an einem selbst liegt, dass man es nicht versteht. Bei meiner ersten Lektüre dieses Bands, vor einigen Jahren, und auf Deutsch, ging mir das so.

Inzwischen bin ich älter und klüger, und die französische Ausgabe hat ein Nachwort der Autoren - und da fallen die Masken: Selbst die Autoren haben fast ausschließlich über Architektursti
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Karen Mardahl
This is quite something. Very, very unusual story and incredible illustrations. I happened to run across a later book in the series and was intrigued, so I decided to start from the beginning.
Christoph Segers
Prachtige tekeningen met art nouveau-à-gogo, maar verhaalkundig hapert er toch te veel aan om het een echt boeiende leeservaring maken. Voor de prentjes is het het herbekijken wel meer dan waard.
Reread this and was a bit disappointed...
Florin Pitea
The first graphic novel in the series of Obscure Cities. Excellent graphics, gripping story. Kafka meets Art Nouveau. Recommended. For a detailed review, please visit my blog:
A bit on the symbolic-philosophical side, so probably not everyone's cup of tea. But I think if you enjoyed Gaiman's "Sandman" series, the books in the "Les Cites Obscures" series might be appealing to you.
Dina Rahajaharison
"Le nom de Samaris ne semblait n'éveiller que la crainte."
Stunning artwork elevates a slightly overly-intellectual tale about our relationship with and perceptions of reality.
Sebastian Hagedorn
Einer meiner Lieblingscomics.
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François Schuiten was born in Brussels in 1956, as the son of two architects. He studied at the Saint-Luc Institute where he met Claude Renard. Together, they created the comics 'Aux Médianes de Cymbiola' and 'Le Rail', as well as three volumes of '9ème Rêve'. François also collaborated with his brother Luc on the series 'Terres Creuses' which was published in the legendary Pilote magazine. His fi ...more
More about François Schuiten...

Other Books in the Series

Les Cités obscures (1 - 10 of 13 books)
  • Fever in Urbicand (Cities of the Fantastic, #2)
  • L'archiviste (Les Cités obscures, #3)
  • La Tour (Les Cités obscures, #4)
  • La route d'Armilia (Les Cités obscures, #5)
  • Brüsel (Les Cités obscures, #6)
  • L'Echo des cités (Les Cités obscures, #7)
  • The Leaning Girl
  • Le Guide Des Cités (Les Cités Obscures)
  • L'Ombre d'un homme (Les Cités Obscures, #10)
  • L'affaire Desombres
La Tour (Les Cités obscures, #4) Fever in Urbicand (Cities of the Fantastic, #2) Brüsel (Les Cités obscures, #6) The Invisible Frontier (Volume 1) The Leaning Girl

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