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Top 10 comic book cities

From Gotham City to Mega City One, the Architects’ Journal presents a selection of the greatest illustrated urban spaces

10. Radiant City

Radiant City first appeared in 80s’ comic Mister X. Published by Vortex Comics, it’s quirky storyline and new-wave, post-atomic style graphics made it something of a cult hit – British style mag The Face loved it. Mr X became a very cool secret for nerds and hipsters only.

Here’s Canadian Dean Motter on his creation. ‘It is a noir tale set in the futuristic present as envisioned in 1939. It concerns a city – Radiant City - designed to be a utopia, but its subliminal design flaws are driving its citizenry insane. Mister X is one of the creators of the city, who has returned from exile to repair it and in doing so goes up against a corrupt government, the mob and other antagonists. He is cursed with an addiction to a drug which keeps him awake 24 hours a day. All the while his ex-girlfriend struggles with her feelings for him.’

One other thing. Mister X looks like Le Corbusier on crack. What more do you need to know?


10 - Radiant City
9 - Tintin’s Inca city
8 - Metropolis
7 - Ubicand
6 - Gotham City
5 - The city in Moebius’ The Long Tomorrow
4 - Daredevil’s New York
3 - From Hell’s London
2 - Chris Ware’s Chicago
1 - Mega City One

Readers' comments (8)

  • Excellent architecture related feature, let's see more of this from the AJ particularly with such exceptional penmanship. Why can't architects draw like this?

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  • mmmm...simon unwin is an exceptional "penman" so too is alan dunlop from glasgow, the ubicand drawings remind me of his work. eric parry is a beautiful draughtsman, you just have to look colin

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  • I agree about Dunlop, he's opinionated in the extreme and much of what he says I take exception to particularly his comments about Edinburgh , but his drawings are superb, can't deny it. Don't know much about Unwin

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  • Gordon Thomson
    Professor Alan Dunlop was our masters tutor last year, our project was about Edinburgh and it is very positive. He invited brilliant architects to the school to critique, Ian Ritchie, Roisin Heneghan, Stephen Willacy, Neil Gillespie. We prepared a website under his direction, he also encouraged us to draw Colin. You can see the results here

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  • Colin asked "Why can't architects draw like this?" - the answer being that most architects don't even draw any more. They only use computers. The loss of ideas, imagination, and poetry is tragic.

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  • This list ought to include one of the cities in the Valérian series drawn by Jean-Claude Mézières like Galaxity, Rubanis, or Point Central.

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  • Ulysses 31 would have been a worthy and fantastic city for the list; it was a Japanese series that updates the Greek and Roman mythology of Odysseus (known as "Ulysses" in Roman Mythology, to the 31st century.

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  • May I suggest "Les cites obscures" from Schuiten & Peters.

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