Rebuilding Story Worlds: The Obscure Cities by Schuiten and Peeters (Critical Graphics) (Hardcover)
Rebuilding Story Worlds offers the first full-length study of this seminal series, exploring both the artistic traditions from which it emerges and the innovative ways it plays with genre, gender, and urban space. Comics scholar Jan Baetens examines how Schuiten’s work as an architectural designer informs the series’ concerns with the preservation of historic buildings. He also includes an original interview with Peeters, which reveals how poststructuralist critical theory influenced their construction of a rhizomatic fictional world, one which has made space for fan contributions through the Alta Plana website.
Synthesizing cutting-edge approaches from both literary and visual studies, Rebuilding Story Worlds will give readers a new appreciation for both the aesthetic ingenuity of The Obscure Cities and its nuanced conception of politics.
JAN BAETENS is a professor of cultural studies at the University of Leuven in Flanders, Belgium. His recent books on comics and visual studies include The Graphic Novel, coauthored with Hugo Frey, The Cambridge History of the Graphic Novel, coedited with Frey and Steve Tabachnick, Novelization: From Film to Novel and The Film Photonovel: A Cultural History of Forgotten Adaptations.
— Nancy Pedri
"With clarity, insight, and depth, Jan Baetens’ Rebuilding Story Worlds gives the reader all the essential keys to navigate François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters’ sprawling graphic novel series The Obscure Cities—Belgium’s most sophisticated, contemporary bande dessinée opus."
— Jean-Paul Gabilliet
"Baetens ‘monograph is devoted to the overall concept of a series that was not originally conceived as such. The heterogeneity of the individual, complementary and contradicting volumes that stand for themselves and can be read in the context of the other volumes."