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Top 10 comic book cities: #8 Metropolis

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


‘I kind of think of Gotham as NYC in the 1970s, and Metropolis as NYC in some optimistic urban planner’s CGI simulation’ - Miss Wonderstar

We couldn’t have put it better ourselves Miss Wonderstar. In the recent All-Star Superman, Glaswegian comic book superstars, writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely, present a dreamy utopian Metropolis in slow and subtle detail over a series of 12 episodes. Mag-lev trains link well preserved 20s-style city blocks with a central core of glowing megaliths. There are glimpses of a pastoral – bright green – hinterland. The ocean lies beyond, the sky is always blue. You get the sense Metropolis is a zero-carbon kinda place.

But danger lurks. Meteor showers bring strange cargo to the streets – intergalactic violence can erupt in a flash. No one ever dies however. Superman exhibits a sort of urban immanence that undoes harm – to people and to buildings. The city regularly comes under attack of some sort or another – but rarely will you catch site of bomb damage or dereliction. Or blood.

Downside? The nightlife is rubbish compared with Gotham City’s.


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

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