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Return of Captain Nemo (The)

The return of Captain Nemo (French: Le retour du capitaine Nemo) is the title of the new Les Cités Obscures album that is released on October 25th, 2023 by Casterman 1).

This book is a blend of a comic book, illustrated narrative and the story of Jules Verne himself, who has settled in Amiens, and where a monumental bronze sculpture of the Nauti-poulpe will once be erected.


A hybrid creature emerges from the waters. Partly animal, partly underwater craft, the Nauti-poulpe carries a man with amnesia. Where does this little vessel take him, as it wanders through more or less familiar territory? “Captain, I was a captain… I'm Captain Nemo.”

The story follows the hero of Jules Verne's novels Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and The Mysterious Island, to whom Schuiten and Peeters imagine a new destiny. This book is a blend of comic strip, illustrated narrative and the story of Verne himself, who has settled in the town of Amiens, where a monumental bronze sculpture of the Nauti-poulpe will be erected.

Layout by Philippe Ghielmetti

An introduction video of the album by Eric Dubois with music by Bruno Letort.

Some interior pages of Le Retour du Capitaine Nemo. Most pages are black and white.

Other editions / translations

2023Le Retour du Capitaine NemoFrenchCasterman96HC9782203254398
2023Le Retour du Capitaine NemoFrenchLe 9ème rêve100HC-Deluxe edition, offset print using HUV inks on 200g Munken Pure paper.The cover is made of machine-made marbled paper. A digital print is included, All numbered and signed by the authors. Edition of 450 copies. Format: 38 x 51 cm. There are also 50 HC copies.
2023Le Retour du Capitaine NemoFrenchLe 9ème rêve100HC-Deluxe edition, offset print using HUV inks on 200g Munken Pure paper.The cover is made of machine-made marbled paper. Two digital prints are included, All numbered and signed by the authors. Special edition for the community of Amiens of 100 copies. Format: 38 x 51 cm.
2023Le Retour du Capitaine NemoFrenchEditions Hennebelle100HC-Deluxe edition, printed with pigment inks on 100 % cotton paper. The cover will be printed on a different shade of paper than the other edition. The book will be paired with a digital print and its certificate. The marbled paper used for this version will be handmade. All pages will be protected by archival-quality crystal paper. Format: 38 x 51 cm. Estimated print run: 60 copies.
2023O Regresso do Capitão NemoPortugueseLevoir96SC-Released on November 2nd, 2023
2024The return of Captain NemoEnglishAlaxis Press96HC-Kickstarter by Steve Smith, release January 2024. This edition was printed together with the French edition. Besides the standard edition, there are 500 copies with a signed and numbered ex-libris.
2024Die Heimkehr des Kapitän NemoGermanSchreiber & Leser96HC9783965821415Released on January 2024
2024Il ritorno del capitano NemoItalianAlessandro96HC9788892975866Released on 31, January 2024
2024El Regreso Del Capitan NemoSpanishNorma editorial96HC9788467966268Released on 16, February 2024
2024De terugkeer van kapitein NemoDutchCasterman96HC9789030377900 Released on 14, February 2024

“Le retour du capitaine Nemo” will also be published in Polish.Publication is estimated at May 2024.

Cover of the deluxe edition

Press dossier

Casterman released a press dossier for Le retour du capitaine Nemo. Besides the first images of the book, it has a long interview with Schuiten and Peeters.

The French press dossier

Launch events

The publication of Le retour du capitaine Nemo was celebrated in Amiens on October 25, 2023. The next day there was an evening event at Brüsel in Brussels.

The other events:

Casterman distributed 300 red boxes to comic shops in Belgium and France to put in their shop window to promote Le retour du capitaine Nemo.


Interview with Benoît Peeters for France Culture 2).

Interview with François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters for RTBF “Entrez sans frapper” 3).

The history of this book

François Schuiten has been working on the Nauti-Pouple project in Amiens since 2019. During a meeting in Amiens in June 2022 François Schuiten talked about this project. During the meeting François confirmed that the next album of the Obscure Cities will take place in Amiens.

Schuiten: “As I advanced with the Nauti-octopus, I had this image of a story, which could only be part of the Obscure Cities. I called Benoît Peeters. We agreed.4).

Benoît Peeters, who writes the scenario, acknowledges that the work “has a particular genesis. First of all, Verne has always been among the references and loves that François and I share. And while he was present in L'Enfant Penchée, within the cycle of the Obscure Cities we never wanted to approach him head-on”. 5).

In May 2023 Benoît Peeters confirmed that the title will be The Return of Captain Nemo, instead of “The Mysterious Return of Captain Nemo 6).

The Return of Captain Nemo was already mentioned in L'Echo des Cités 7) and Augustin Desombres made a fresco about this event in 1902 8).

Une bande dessinée qui n’est pas une bande dessinée, C’est mon côté Magritte ! François Schuiten 9)

It will not be a comic book, but a text-image story, in the same way like L'Archiviste and L'Echo des Cités 10).

The Return of Captain Nemo will not be foreign to comics. Simply, there will be no phylacteries,“ explains Peeters to Actualitte: ”By freeing himself from the constraints of a previous narrative, François was unleashed in the pleasure of drawing. And graphically achieves the best of his art11).

When the project started François Schuiten has made six black and white drawings and Benoît Peeters wrote the first texts around them. They will now work together on the remaining story. Laurent Durieux will help with the graphical aspects of the second part of the story.

The idea is Captain Nemo who crosses the seas, arrives towards the coast, goes up to the hortillonnages, discovers the cathedral, then the link with the Perret tower.

Schuiten: “For now, I have made several drawings. We will now write it with Benoît Peeters to make it a new chapter of the Obscure Cities. Benoît has written a text around my first images, entitled The mysterious return of Captain Nemo. It will not be a comic book, rather an illustrated book.

And it would start with images like the engravings of Jules Verne's books, then the Nauti-Octopus would take on a presence, a different texture, for which I will ask my friend Laurent Durieux.” 12)

Schuiten: “The idea, for us, is to rebuild a dark City that has an anchor, the book would be linked to the Cities but also to a place. And the fact that this anchor is in the city of Jules Verne would be a beautiful story. A way of talking about the relationship between the imaginary and the real.

A somewhat hybrid object, like sculpture itself… Because it is also a question of nourishing the history of sculpture, of ensuring that it is not only a work placed somewhere, but the result of a whole maturation. We must not leave the sculpture orphaned in its history.13)

More artwork

The artwork of this album that has been published before the album was published.

See also