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

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  343 Ratings  ·  28 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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Dec 20, 2012 Warwick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 12, 2017 Jesse rated it really liked it
Shelves: european-lit, 1980-s
Schuiten's startling imagery was the initial attraction, and the intricacy of his baroque Art Nouveau-ish urban labyrinths did not disappoint. But almost immediately found myself wrapped up in the equally elaborate narrative provided by Benoît Peeters as well. There's a movement and sweep to the marriage of image + text that is almost cinematic; it's something like those imaginative sci-fi B-films of the 1950's Hollywood writ large with the unlimited budget and resources provided by pen and ink ...more
Léonard Gaya
Jan 12, 2014 Léonard Gaya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Alex Panagiotopoulos
Δόξα τον Βραχμαπούτρα που βρήκα και τις υπόλοιπες σκοτεινές πολιτείες σκαναρισμένες εις την Αγγλικήν. Δόξα!

Μετά την ανάγνωση της Σαμάρις δεν θα το άντεχα να μείνω με το μόριο στο χέρι και να μην διαβάσω τα υπόλοιπα 9 (!!!) τεύχη.

Το σχέδιο είναι ανελέητο, πραγματικά δεν σε αφήνει να πάρεις τα μάτια σου από αυτό ούτε μία στιγμή. Το ήθελα μεγαλύτερο, δεν το χόρτασα με 50 κάτι σελιδούλες.

Η αλήθεια είναι πως το σενάριο, όπως και η Ουρμπικάνδη είναι διφορούμενο και τριφορούμενο μη σου πω. Ότι είχα πε
Oct 25, 2012 Chelsea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 08, 2017 LuinGor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tout n'est qu'illusion, la vie et les villes de Xhystos et Samaris en particulier, sont un décor, une scène de théâtre... Le héros de ce premier tome de le série Les Cités Obscures ressent confusément cette imposture, mais risque lui-même d'être pris au piège. La fin est très déroutante, comme une sorte de double miroir qui nous fait perdre la notion de ce qu'est la réalité...

Le dessin est superbe et le scénario original !
Oct 04, 2014 Helmut rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
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
Evocative . . . disturbing . . . beautifully illustrated . . . endlessly abstruse. How much is the narrator susceptible to delusion and how much is he self-delusional? There are no answers here, just more questions.

Heavy Metal ran this in serial form many years ago, with the words __to be continued__ at the end, rather than __the end__, making readers believe there was more to the story, but there was not.

What there eventually were were subsequent self-contained tales in a series called Cities
Nuno Ribeiro
Mar 10, 2016 Nuno Ribeiro rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first book of "The Obscure Cities", one of the most exciting series of all times in the comics/bande dessinée world. Illustrator François Schuiten colaborated with writer Benoît Peeters and produced stories that work on their own but also form a larger body of work. Each story happens in a specific city, and they all are part of another Earth, strangely familiar to ours but definitely not ours.

The style goes into great architectural detail and beauty. And the stories are immersive an
Kyle McKinney
Beautifully illustrated, a good book. The story was just alright with me, as none of the characters really resonated, and I didn't care much about the story or where it was going, nor what was going to happen to anyone. It also struck me as a bit sexist, though that could be on purpose as part of the story. BUT, having said that, I must say that I have not read any of the other books in the series, and I have heard that this series is actually really good. I enjoy the premise, and I think creati ...more
Nov 21, 2015 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful start to what I'm hoping is going to be a great series. I had already read the 8th volume in this series and loved it so much I had to seek this one out.

I read this in Heavy Metal, and I guess the book version had some edits included a revised ending. Does anybody know what changes were made?

The art is wonderful, very Art Nouveau to my eyes. Lots of floral decorations. The story was certainly intriguing and had a pitch perfect execution for an alternative world. The characters all
Francisco Mouraz
Schuiten and Peeters have achieved something wonderful with the Les Cités Obscures series. Each page is a work of art, each façade in the cities an architectural masterpiece. With a skillfully crafted plot, full of mystery and intrigue, as well as deep philosophical analogies, Les Murailles is the point of entry in a world which you'd wish to get lost yourself in. I'm very glad to be revisiting this world, after the long hours in my childhood staring at the pictures and dreaming about the Cities ...more
Ed Erwin
Nov 03, 2016 Ed Erwin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics, fantasy
Beautiful drawings of buildings. Mildly interesting plot with dream-like logic. The color combinations are odd and unattractive to me and the lettering is sometimes difficult to read.

Schuiten is an absolute master of architectural drawing, but the only one of the stories in this series that has really interested me much is La Tour.
Enrique Oviedo
Aug 22, 2016 Enrique Oviedo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
En el primer volumen de la serie Ciudades Oscuras, los protagonistas son devorados física y mentalmente por la arquitectura perversa de los laberintos que son las urbes fantásticas.
Unos cuatro capítulos (los tres últimos adicionales) finalizan sin concluirse, contribuyendo al misterio de saber a qué fuerza responden las ciudades oscuras.
Florin Pitea
Aug 15, 2013 Florin Pitea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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:
Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 19, 2012 Dryopteris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karen Mardahl
Apr 29, 2015 Karen Mardahl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Antonis Lamnatos
Mar 28, 2016 Antonis Lamnatos rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comics
It's like a fusion of Borges, Calvino and Moebius with architecture acting as the glue between them.
Jul 01, 2016 Vera rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
huh? that's it?
Dina Rahajaharison
"Le nom de Samaris ne semblait n'éveiller que la crainte."
Aug 16, 2015 Anetq rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: graphic-novel
Reread this and was a bit disappointed...
Aug 02, 2011 Ron rated it liked it
Stunning artwork elevates a slightly overly-intellectual tale about our relationship with and perceptions of reality.
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.
Emanuel Correia
Emanuel Correia rated it really liked it
Apr 08, 2009
Lusionnelle Wind
Lusionnelle Wind rated it liked it
Jan 31, 2016
Jean-Louis rated it really liked it
Aug 08, 2011
Adrian Shewchuk
Adrian Shewchuk rated it it was amazing
Sep 16, 2015
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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, Hors-série #2)
  • La Tour (Les Cités obscures, #3)
  • La route d'Armilia (Les Cités obscures, #4)
  • Brüsel (Les Cités obscures, #5)
  • L'Echo des cités (Les Cités obscures, Hors-série #6)
  • The Leaning Girl (Les Cités Obscures, #6)
  • Le guide des cités (Les Cités obscures, Hors-série #9)
  • L'Ombre d'un homme (Les Cités Obscures, #7)
  • L'affaire Desombres (Les Cités obscures, Hors-série #11)

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