François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters started to explore these cities in the early 1980s. In this fictional world, humans live in independent city-states, each of which has developed a distinct civilisation, each characterised by a distinctive architectural style.
François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters didn't only explore this universe by graphic novels, but also by the means of books, movies, exhibitions, scenographics & radio documentaries.
The word Obscure is somewhat misleading for English-speaking readers. In English we tend to think of the word to mean “little known” or “odd.” The French use the word for multiple meanings, including “mysterious”, “hidden” or even “secluded.” ALL of these adjectives could apply to the world imagined in the minds of Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten.
And although not all their work is officially related to the Obscure Cities, they all seem to fit somehow in the concept of their Les Cités Obscures.
On the Obscure Continent Altaplana is the city that is dedicated to hold all the archives of the Obscure Cities. Altaplana was founded in November 747 AT, after the Convention Von Amelunxen decided that all archives had to be centralized in one special place. Altaplana is located west of Urbicande and Alaxis, mid-way between the two in longitude.
The founding of Altaplana was not an immediately success. It took a long time to sort out if the documents have to be archived in alphabetical, chronological or logical order. Even after personal intervention of Governor Arkhalsky the chaos remained.
It was after a long time that Joseph Le Perdriel brought structure in the chaos by implementing a system that allowed documents to be archived in alphabetical, chronological and logical order, all at the same time. This system made it possible in 2011 to lift the embargo on information and open the Altaplana archives for everyone.
The archives at Altaplana contain about 3576 pages and are growing day by day. Enjoy the world of Les Cités Obscures!
François Schuiten, dessinateur de l'indicible
On May 13, 2020 François Schuiten was interviewed by Jean-Baptiste Ghins for the program “Tu m'en liras tant” at RCF Radio.
François Schuiten talks about his curious view of a world in turmoil.
Preview of 2020
The end of the year is good for a review of 2019 but also for a preview of 2020. What are the plans of François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters for the new year?
The exhibition Le Dernier Pharaon - Une advenue de Blake et Mortimer in …
François Schuiten, jeune retraité de la BD, en vedette à la Maison d'Ailleurs
L'invité de La Matinale (vidéo) - François Schuiten, dessinateur et architecte belge co-créateur des ‘’Cités obscures’’ L'invité-e de La Matinale / 11 min. / November 1…
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