Now that our city saga has come to an end here at obvious, we'd like to talk about other people's cities, as seen by others. One of the places where imaginary cities have always been revered is cinema (let us only remember Fritz Lang's Metropolis). But cities have, also, always fascinated painters and drawers, from Vermeer's View of Delft to futuristic arquitecture's utopic designs. More recently, comic strips have also given us some of the most poetic visions of cities: an imaginary dimension, richly populated with worlds that only exist in paper. Let's take a look at some of them...
In 1970, Mézières and Christin's Valérian, Spatio-Temporal Agent's first adventure took place in a not-so-distant future: 1986. It was called "The City of the Moving Waters" and, by then, a nuclear cataclysm had caused the arctic polar ice cap to melt and, as a consequence, the sea-level had risen several metres, engulfing most of the Earth's cities. The entire plot of this adventure takes place in a ghost-like New York, half underwater and almost totally deserted, with its ruined buildings emerging from the sea in an entanglement of tropical vegetation and fluttering birds. It makes a simultaneously beautiful and frightening vision of the Big Apple transformed into a mega-Venice of the future.
A few years later, the same author, Christin, in a partnership with Enki Bilal, created the social fable "The City That Didn't Exist", where Jadencourt's population works together to build an ideal and immaculate city, that is conserved inside a bubble and set aside from the rest of the world.
Later, Bilal dreams up an even more fabulous city: Equator City. Located in Central-East Africa, on the Equator line, this is the only case in the history of climatology where the temperature has completely stabilized at -21ºC. This phenomenon was due to a vertical glaciar tornado, called 'chimney', responsible for creating a micro-climatic zone in the city's centre, that contrasts with the desert climate of the rest of the region. "Equator Cold" is set in 2023. The powerful images from this book and the other two books from the same series (Nikopol Trilogy) were the inspiration for the movie "Immortel ".
In one of his adventures Lone Sloane, a hero from the future, created by Philippe Druillet and Jacques Lob, travels to a planet called Delirius (also the story's title). This planet is formed by a single continent that is nothing less than a massive and disorderly seven-million-square-kilometre city, bubbling with infra-structures devoted to pleasure - casinos, game sites, brothels,... Delirious is the galaxy's center, a city bursting with money, violence and corruption. All could seem clichéd was it not for the author's brilliant drawings...
Finally, not a story, but an entire series well-worth the read for any fan of this genre: "Cities of the Fantastic", by Schuiten and Peeters. Every book from this series contains independent stories, although some are set in the same city. Characters, buildings, details and random references travel from one story to the other. The mood is deliciously retro, the storylines are filled with poetry and the drawings are gorgeous.
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