The relationship between comics and architecture is particularly narrow and often a two-way one. Comics use architecture to support the structure of the story and to promote the plot. On the other hand, architects began using techniques from the comics to present their designs. Incorporating the concept of time as well, they create drawings, images and diagrams to explain their ideas, make them more realistic and ultimately more understandable to their audience. Architectural drawings are therefore no longer just a kind of technical description, but through this design codification architecture can now narrate its stories in its own way.
A blend of these two arts is the comic-series “The obscure Cities”, which began in 1983 by the Belgian comic designer François Schuiten and the French writer Benoît Peeters. This series was chosen as the main analysis subject of the present research paper, as it is of particular interest how the stories evolve into the urban web. Each story focuses on a city or a building and explores even further a parallel world where architects, planners and ultimately the mix of these two are the leading forces. Architecture is the driving force behind society and is responsible for the activation of unusual phenomena, the motivation for exploring new spatial complexes and ultimately the creation of new forms of interaction between the subjects and the urban structure. At the same time, various concerns about the viability of cities, as well as the collapse of the existing building models following the vision of the civilian administration, are being presented. The analysis of the main cities, which will follow later in this research, was chosen to be classified into five different “kinds”, which emerged after carefully reading and studying all the stories: the compact city, the jail city, the network city, the transparent city and the damaged city.
In the examples of the Obscure Cities we basically come across a critique of how society influences the structure of a city and by extension its architecture or the reverse happens, meaning that architecture affects the structure of society and the inhabitants’ way of living. Therefore, it is attempted to analyze a world based on this conjunction between architecture and society criticizing in each story the architectural structure of the city itself and the social difficulties or conveniences it creates. We encounter cities or societies respectively that change, adapt, evolve, expand, face problems or even sometimes reach the point of collapse. The main objective of the research, therefore, is the spatial analysis and the emerge of architectural examples, as well as narratives that arise from the interaction of the human factor with the city, ultimately aiming at widening our perception of the urban web.