This story, which made its debut in the September 1983 issue of (A Suivre), was conceived to be published in black and white. This was not a matter of financial considerations, but an artistic choice: the whole album has a turn-of-the-century engraving look perfectly in tune with the plot. We even see a street called Maserel, named after a famous engraver of that period.
Although at the beginning, exhausted by the very long coloring of Samaris, Schuiten intended to entrust the coloring of Urbicande to Françoise Procureur. Procureur is a colorist, who worked also with Alain Goffin (Le réseau Madou) and Phillipe Geluck (several Le Chat albums). Although she was very talented, Schuiten and Peeters soon realized that it would not work as the progress of the coloring was too slow. They decided to switch to black and white and have redesigned the first pages and the chapters of the album.
At 94 pages, this story ran for considerably longer than the 48 that used to be considered an unbreakable tradition of the Franco-Belgian school of cartooning. A 1992 re-edition of the album also includes a report by Isidore Louis, from L’Archiviste, about the Network and its effects on the social fabric of the Obscure World. The original term Réseau has been translated by “Web” in some English versions, but “Network” is more accurate.
Designs for the 1985 edition of La Fièvre d'Urbicande.
Eugen Robick, Urbatect of Urbicande has been working on restructuring Urbicande for the Commission of High Instances. The South side of Urbicande has been done and he wants to continu with the Northern part: to make the city symmetrical again. But the Rapporter General is not listening. Even the third bridge over the river is denied.
While thinking on how to convince the Commission of High Instances Eugen Robick receives a cube found by Klaus and Friedrich during ground works of the Von Hardenberg company. The cube starts to grow and turns into a network. Soon the network is too big for his house. Eventually the network connects the South and North side of Urbicande with each other. Together with his neighbor Sophie he visits the North side. The network disturbe the whole structure of Urbicande. After the winter the network starts to grow again and soon becomes so big you can not see it again. Robicks friend Thomas, who has become the new Rapporter General, tries to convince Robick to help him to recreate the network, but Eugen denies and tries his own way.
See also the in-depth review of the album by Julian Darius:
Former president François Mitterrand visited the stand of Casterman during the 1985 festival. You can see Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten on the right in the picture.
Some pages of the original album.
The first five pages of the 2020 coloured edition.
|1985||De koorts van Urbicande||Dutch||Casterman||96||SC||9030384190|
|1985||La Fièvre d'Urbicande||French||Casterman||108||HC||2203334231|
|1985||La Fièvre d'Urbicande||French||Casterman||108||HC||2203337095||Deluxe edition. 1020 copies. Including numbered and signed travelnotes.|
|1985||La Fiebre de Urbicanda||Spanish||Eurocomics||96||SC||84860001551|
|1987||A Febre de Urbicanda||Portuguese||Edições 70||96||SC||NO ISBN|
|1987||Uro i Urbicande||Danish||Bogfabrikken||88||SC||8772970731|
|1988||De koorts van Urbicande||Dutch||Casterman||100||SC||903038557X||Additional document by Isidore Louis: “De legende van het stelsel”|
|1988||ΠΥΡΕΤΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΟΥΡΜΠΙΚΑΝΔΗΣ||Greek||Ars Longa / Nemo||100||SC|
|1989||Das Fieber des Stadtplanners||German||Feest Verlag||96||SC||3893431535|
|1990||La Fièvre d'Urbicande||French||Casterman||96||HC||2203343060|
|1990||Fever in Urbicande||English||NBM Publishers||96||SC||0918348862|
|1991||Das Fieber des Stadtplaners||German||Feest comics||96||SC||3893431535|
|1992||La Fièvre d'Urbicande||French||Casterman||96||SC||2203334231|
|2000||De koorts van Urbicande||Dutch||Casterman||108||HC||9030385472||Additional document by Isidore Louis: “De legende van het stelsel”|
|2009||La Fièvre d'Urbicande||French||Casterman||112||SC||9782203026346||Additional document by Isidore Louis: “La légende du réseau & épilogue: la dernière vision d'Eugen Robick|
|2011||Urbikandska groznica||Croatian||Fibra||112||HC||9789533210360||Same as the 2009 French edition|
|2011||闇の国々||Japanese||ShoPro Books||n/a||HC||4796871012||Part of bundle 1|
|2013||Fieber in Urbicand||German||Schreiber & Leser||112||SC||9783943808285|
|2015||La Fiebre de Urbicande||Spanish||Normal Editorial||112||SC||9788467918625|
|2019||A Febre de Urbicanda||Portuguese||Levoir||112||HC||9789896828165||Number three in the “Novela Gráfica” series|
|2019||Gorączka Urbikandyjska||Polish||Scream Comics||112||SC||9788366291270|
|2020||Segadus Urbicande’is||Estonian||Eesti Arhitektuuri muuseum||112||SC||9789949726288|
|2020||La Fièvre d'Urbicande||French||Casterman||104||HC||9782203202924||Coloured edition, announced for October 28, 2020|
|2020||La Fièvre d'Urbicande||French||Casterman||112||HC||9782203218383||Deluxe coloured version, numbered and signed under slipcase. Size 300x400mm, 700 copies, with certificate. Announced for October 21, 2020|
|2020||De koorts van Urbicande||Dutch||Casterman||104||HC||9789030374824||Coloured edition, announced for November 4, 2020|
After Les Murailles de Samaris that was drawn in colour, La Fièvre d'Urbicande was made in black in white. The length of the story made it necessary to treat it as a « Roman (à Suivre) », a series that was only published in black & white by then.
Some of the original pages were coloured by Françoise Procureur, but they were never published.
Casterman is planning to publish a new coloured version in October 2020. The album will be colored by Jack Durieux, the brother of Laurent Durieux who did the coloring of Le Dernier Pharaon based on the black and white drawings by Schuiten.