Altaplana, world of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters

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Fièvre d'Urbicande (La)

La Fièvre d'Urbicande [Fever in Urbicand] is the second volume of the chronicles of the Obscures Cities, published in 1984.

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.

The deluxe edition of 1983 had an added booklet: Carnet de voyage. A very rare booklet these days.

Designs for the 1985 edition of La Fièvre d'Urbicande.


Story

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:

Angoulême 1985

At the 1985 comic festival of Angoulême La Fièvre d'Urbicande won the award for best album.

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 album.

Editions / translations

YearTitleLanguagePublisherPagesHC/SCISBNRemarks
1985De koorts van UrbicandeDutchCasterman96SC9030384190
1985La Fièvre d'UrbicandeFrenchCasterman108HC2203334231
1985La Fièvre d'UrbicandeFrenchCasterman108HC2203337095Deluxe edition. 1020 copies. Including numbered and signed travelnotes.
1985La Fiebre de UrbicandaSpanishEurocomics96SC84860001551
1987A Febre de UrbicandaPortugueseEdições 7096SCNO ISBN
1987Uro i UrbicandeDanishBogfabrikken88SC8772970731
1988De koorts van UrbicandeDutchCasterman100SC903038557XAdditional document by Isidore Louis: “De legende van het stelsel”
1988ΠΥΡΕΤΟΣ ΤΗΣ ΟΥΡΜΠΙΚΑΝΔΗΣGreekArs Longa / Nemo100SC
1989Das Fieber des StadtplannersGermanFeest Verlag96SC3893431535
1990La Fièvre d'UrbicandeFrenchCasterman96HC2203343060
1990Fever in UrbicandeEnglishNBM Publishers96SC0918348862
1991Das Fieber des StadtplanersGermanFeest comics96SC3893431535
1991Kuumetta UrbicandessaFinishLike96SC9515780748
1992La Fièvre d'UrbicandeFrenchCasterman96SC2203334231
2000De koorts van UrbicandeDutchCasterman108HC9030385472Additional document by Isidore Louis: “De legende van het stelsel”
2009La Fièvre d'UrbicandeFrenchCasterman112SC9782203026346Additional document by Isidore Louis: “La légende du réseau & épilogue: la dernière vision d'Eugen Robick
2010우르비캉드의 광기Korean세미콜론96HC9788983715739
2011Urbikandska groznicaCroatianFibra112HC9789533210360Same as the 2009 French edition
2011闇の国々JapaneseShoPro Booksn/aHC4796871012Part of bundle 1
2013Fieber in UrbicandGermanSchreiber & Leser112SC9783943808285
2015La Fiebre de UrbicandeSpanishNormal Editorial112SC9788467918625
2019A Febre de UrbicandaPortugueseLevoir112HC9789896828165Number three in the “Novela Gráfica” series
2019Gorączka UrbikandyjskaPolishScream Comics112SC9788366291270

A colored version?

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.

La Fièvre d'Urbicande with colors by François Schuiten


Casterman is planning to publish a new colored version in Ocotber or November of 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.

See: La Fièvre d'Urbicande in color.

La Fièvre d'Urbicande with colors by Jack Durieux


See also


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