Altaplana, world of Francois Schuiten and Benoit Peeters

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La Fièvre d'Urbicande in color

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 published in black and white.

La Fièvre d'Urbicande with colors by Jack Durieux

The black and white La Fièvre d'Urbicande became one the most famous albums of Les Cités Obscures and at the 1985 comic festival of Angoulême La Fièvre d'Urbicande won the award for best album.

Although the album was published in black and white, there has always been some ideas for color.

Casterman will publish a new, colored version of La Fièvre d'Urbicande in October 2020.

This album is not published yet. Information can change over time. This dossier will be updated when new information arrives.

First attempt

After Les Murailles de Samaris, that was drawn in color, La Fièvre d'Urbicande was made in black and white. 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. Françoise Procureur colored at least two pages in 1983, the period of the prepublication of La Fièvre d'Urbicande in (À Suivre).

These colored pages were published in a little book called “Histoires de timbres” (published in 2003) and one can also be found on page 64 of “Schuiten & Peeters, Autour des Cités Obscures” (1994).

La Fièvre d'Urbicande with colors by Françoise Procureur


La Fièvre d'Urbicande with colors by Françoise Procureur

Switch to black & white

A few chapters were conceived in the idea of color before Schuiten and Peeters decided to switch to black and white. François Schuiten oriented the drawings afterwards to be edited in black and white. They also changed the pagination and the length of the story. The length of the story was necessary to treat it as a « Roman (à Suivre) » a series that was only published in black & white by then.

Ideas for color remained

The ideas for color in this story has remained in different works. Le Guide des Cités mentions that colored images from Urbicande are rare, but shows two colored images of the south side of Urbicande.

These images are part of a page of La Fièvre d'Urbicande (page 20). François Schuiten colored this page himself in 1986 for “Biennale de Venise”. The whole page can be found in a very rare catalog.

Some details of the page, as published in Le Guide des Cités.

But also during the Exposition “de Bruxelles à Brüsel” Schuiten and Peeters played with colors in La Fièvre d'Urbicande.

On the images below: François Schuiten browsing through the files of the original edition with some colored images.

With the release of the first integral edition of Les Cités Obscures in 2017 François Schuiten revisited La Fièvre d'Urbicande together with Laurent Durieux. Laurent colored two images of La Fièvre d'Urbicande for a silkscreen print.

Laurent Durieux worked the next years on the coloring of the Blake and Mortimer album Le Dernier Pharaon based on the black and white drawings by Schuiten.

Colored edition

In 2019 the work started to publish a new colored version in October or November 2020. The coloring was trusted to Jack Durieux, a graphic designer and illustrator from Brussels. Jack is the brother of Laurent Durieux and was also responsible for the "leaning box" that holds the four volumes of the integral edition of Les Cités Obscures.

Francois Schuiten and Jack Durieux working on the coloring 1).

The first page of the album is exclusively unveiled at altaplana.be. The coloring looks quite different from the first attempt and seems to follow more the color pallet that Schuiten used for the image of the front cover.

La Fièvre d'Urbicande colored by Jack Durieux

New cover

The colored edition will get a new cover designed by François Schuiten in 2020.


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