Cities of the Fantastic

The adventure behind the series Cities of the Fantastic is a story of friendship and long-standing complicity. It was at the Don Bosco College, at the age of 12, that Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten first collaborated on a project: the school magazine "Go". Benoît wrote the story and François did the drawings.

In 1976 the two friends met up again and decided to work together once more. Searching for common ground, somewhere between Benoît’s imaginary city of paradoxical geometry and the world of François, dominated by architecture and the city, the two artists set to work on producing their first album, The Great Walls of Samaris.

Some ten albums later, the fantasy universe of the Cities of the Fantastic was unveiled, with its crazy, incredible characters in the cities of Brüsel, Pahry, Urbicand and Taxandria.

In each album Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten invite us to discover another aspect of the parallel world of their imagination.

In common accord with Benoît Peeters, François Schuiten made a donation to the King Baudouin Foundation’s Heritage Fund of those albums in which the story takes place in Belgium. The other albums were donated to the ‘Bibliothèque Nationale de France’.

Brüsel tells the story of a series of protagonists, from an audacious mayor and enterprising scientists to the visionary entrepreneur of public works, all of whom desire to make Brüsel a great city.

The Theory of the Grain of Sand is set in Brüsel, in the year 784. Following the arrival of a strange man from some far-off region, the inhabitants notice a succession of strange phenomena, which develop in an exponential manner. Mary von Rathen comes to find out about these out-of-the-ordinary happenings.

Roland de Cremer, the hero of The Invisible Frontier album, is a young cartographer who has recently been employed in the cartographical centre of the great Sodrovnie. At the end of a long journey, he discovers a totally new universe that he could never have imagined.

Following a mysterious cataclysm, the laws of the ‘eternal present’ are proclaimed in Taxandria and any allusion to either the past or the future is banned. Aimé, the hero of Memories of the Eternal Present discovers a book of pictures that tell of the terrible things that happened and he decides to set off on a quest for answers.


The Great Walls of Samaris
Fever in Urbican
The Tower
The Road to Armilia
The leaning Girl
The Shadow of a Man
The Invisible Frontier (Volumes 1 and 2)
The Theory of the Grain of Sand
Memories of the Eternal Present

works on paper
Material / technique: 
coloured pencil, black ink, Indian ink, acrylic on paper
Type of acquisition: 
Donated by François Schuiten
Year of acquisition: 
Depository institution: 
Bibliotheca Wittockiana, Brussels