Fictional Architecture & Cities in Comics

X-Mansion (drawn by Chris Bachalo)

Stark Tower (forgot the artist)

Central City (drawn by Alex Ross)

And my personal favorite, from Batman: Death By Design, The Ceiling by Dave Taylor. 

Jan 25, 18 8:40 pm

Liquid City

Jan 25, 18 9:43 pm

Birnin Zana


Jan 25, 18 10:37 pm

Any of Jim Lee's skyscrapers.

Jan 25, 18 11:10 pm
Plattenbauer Pete

“I was spending a lot of time in New York,” he said. “The city back then
seemed to be dismantling itself. It was marginally out of control. I’d
also shot some commercials in Hong Kong. This was before the
skyscrapers. The streets seemed medieval. There were 4,000 junks in the  harbor, and the harbor was filthy. You wouldn’t want to fall in; you’d
never get out alive. I wanted to film ‘Blade Runner’ in Hong Kong, but
couldn’t afford to." - Ridley Scott

Jan 25, 18 11:58 pm

allegedly the world of Blade Runner was influenced by a comic book called "The Long Tomorrow" by Dan O'Bannon, which was illustrated by Moebius (Jean Giraud)

Plattenbauer Pete

this is a duck

Jan 26, 18 7:25 am

"Les Cités Obscures"  series by François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters should be required reading in every architecture/urbanism program.

Jan 26, 18 3:33 pm

that seems to be insanely good

you are correct. I don't think every issue has been officially translated into English, but translations are out there... As fantastic as the artwork is, the narrative is essential. As a collection, they deal with geographically-perpetuated inequalities, national identity expressed through architectural style, the various social impacts of modernity, Borgesian map/territory equivalence, etc etc etc. If I remember correctly, Samaris, Urbicande, and Brusel are the best of the bunch.

Frank Miller's Ronin

Jan 26, 18 4:41 pm

always a fan of Frank Miller's sensibility - looks like i have to try to get my hands on this book

I recommend it highly


Pretty far back, but: The Thunderbirds in the '60s.  Then revived decades later.

Uncharted island, hidden launching pads, secret passageways, modern architecture and landscape... what's not to love?  (Batman's Batcave could learn a thing or two.)

Fantastic launching sequences, original and later

Jan 26, 18 6:11 pm

The Last Jedi had and absolutely beautiful city in it.  The Black Mirror is also interesting in how it portrays architecture.

Jan 27, 18 11:15 am

Mister X by Vortex Comics

Set in Radiant City, a dystopian municipality influenced by Bauhaus and Fritz Lang's Metropolis, the series concerns a mysterious figure who purports to be its architect. His radical theories of "psychetecture" cause the citizenry to go mad, just as he did, and he takes on the mission to repair his creation.

To accomplish this he remains awake twenty-four hours a day by means of the drug "insomnalin", all the while coping with a Dick Tracy–like rogues gallery and supporting cast including his long-suffering ex-girlfriend Mercedes.

Jan 27, 18 11:30 am
Plattenbauer Pete

more from Batman: Death by Design

Jan 28, 18 9:01 pm

Death By Design gives off an Ayn Rad/Fountainhead-ish vibe, don't you think?

Plattenbauer Pete

also see

sample below

Jan 28, 18 9:09 pm
Plattenbauer Pete

and comic strips in architecture and the city...

see archigram!

Jan 28, 18 9:10 pm

the granddaddies of using comics as vehicle for architectural/urban theory!

Plattenbauer Pete

i know some guys... a Vitruvian Captain Ozone with the cosmic crapper that saves NYC

Jan 28, 18 9:17 pm

more Moebius aka Gir aka Jean Henri Gaston Giraud

because this thread would be utterly incomplete without an acknowledgement of his genius and contributions to fictional worlds

Jan 28, 18 11:23 pm

I'm not a comics guy but I've always loved his work. You've inspired me to grab a few books.

this is fucking awesome


This stuff is achingly beautiful. Thanks for enlightening me.

Back in the day i was an avid subscriber to the original Heavy Metal, which was largely built around Moebius, whose influence can be seen in Star Wars, Blade Runner (1982) and other films.


yes, the early Heavy Metal mags were really awesome!


Winsor McCay's "Little Nemo" and "Dream of the Rarebit Fiend" are very interesting from an architecture/urbanism theory viewpoint, in that he extends the implied delirium of the skyscraper Metropolis that one feels in the drawings of Hugh Ferris and Raymond Hood into a projected dream state. McCay and Hood are of the same generation, Ferris being a bit younger...

the way this work would have influenced Moebius seems clear to me.

Jan 28, 18 11:49 pm

Dr. Manhattan's crystal lair in the moon. (Watchmen)

Jan 29, 18 3:29 am

classic, but it's on Mars ;) and maybe more like a physical representation of a time machine / watch mechanism than architecture in the strict sense...


This is what kind of fantasy and gift you need to have to create this ?!

Jan 29, 18 9:07 am

"what kind of fantasy and gift you need to have to create this ?!"

I don't know, but one thing's for sure, modernism's absurd censure of using historical precedents doesn't help.  Moebius and others create worlds that no architect could dream up because architects are told they can only draw from a limited and austere set of precedents, only what's politically acceptable.  In today's pluralistic and heterogeneous world, the fact that our profession still puts out glass boxes and other equally banal buildings will be studied by future generations as an aberration.  

In no other art form is the creative impulse so artificially stifled as ours.  Every time I read about the socio-political crap that passes for theory in architecture, I think another very talented artist/architect decides to work for the movie industry, or becomes a graphic novel illustrator.  What's it going to take to get our profession out of this aesthetic ghetto we've been in for almost a century?

Jan 29, 18 10:48 am

That, and you know, we actually have to design stuff that needs to be built in the real world, on time and budget, alongside a team of other professionals, for a client with their own ideas and ideals, to meet building and zoning codes, be comfortable and durable, and not fall down.


Yeah. Imagine how much better our build environment if schools trained architects to deal with all those things you mentioned. Because juggling those requirements with aesthetics is what architects have done since time immemorial, when the distinction between builder and architect wasn't as stark as our schools continue to present them. At the end, the public for both is all the same.


wow.  I need to start looking at more comic books. 

Jan 29, 18 11:21 am

All those came to me later in life, I started learning about architecture with these guys,

Can't find many images, but they did a great job of showing the historical moment, and even did some satire about modern development

Jan 29, 18 11:55 am
Plattenbauer Pete

Asterix und Obelix (I knew the german translation)


I loved the Asterix and Obelix cartoons as a child! the comics look even better


I loved Asterix and Obelix. The Roman Insula in that serial are incredibly accurate if one knows the real thing. Especially like the urban planning and whole developer theme of the ever so practical Romans. Another great is the Hobbit movies. Another, Coco, a visual feast. Trigger warning for minimalists though, it's a little psychodelic, but well worth the effort to take it all in.

Plattenbauer Pete

above reminded me of a another comic, not much architecture, but made me think as a kid about being faster than your shadow or in other words faster than light.

Jan 29, 18 8:06 pm

yup, another childhood classic, though having rewatched parts as an adult it's sometimes hard to tell the ironic critical commentary on the 'western' as a movie form from the somewhat casual racism (in the portrayal of native americans, mexicans, and asians - I don't think I saw a single black character)


actually there's quite a bit of architecture / urbanism / infrastructure in the plotline. The intro is pretty gold in that respect

Plattenbauer Pete daughter said acting was shit... i believe the writer and cartoonist are belgium?


Orwell's 'Ministry of Truth' was based on this real building, the Senate House, which was the British Ministry of Information where his wife worked in WW 2. It is now part of the University of London. If you ever wanted to know where 'Room 101' is....

Jan 29, 18 8:23 pm

Thanks, this will come in handy for a side project I'm working on! Do you have any sources for this? I have Orwell's collected Essays, Journalism, and Letters in 4 volumes, in which he goes on at some length about the nature of his work at the BBC during and post-war, which is also where a lot of the background for Minitruth resides, but I don't recall the details of any particular architectural referents...


^ Just Google 'Senate House Orwell' and tons of information will come up on your telescreen....

Jan 30, 18 8:20 am
null pointer

Asteroid M/Utopia:

Jan 30, 18 9:30 am

On their days off, the X-Men moonlights as contractors/construction workers:

Fantastic Four's Baxter Building. There's a dozen (in axonometric section) version of this building that has been illustrated across multiple issues of Fantastic Four. 

Jan 30, 18 11:55 am

Post mutant catastrophe London in Freakangels

Feb 4, 18 12:54 pm

Renzo Piano's The Shard in London under attacked by a Shadow-King-compromised psychic-butterfly-wielding Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke. Astonishing X-Men #1. Illustrated by Jim Cheung.

Feb 4, 18 2:57 pm

I remember reading a Belgian comic book called Jeremiah back in the 80s.

"Racial wars have torn the U.S. apart, resulting in a post apocalyptic

world. Many small pockets of civilization still exist; from isolated
super high-tech fortresses, hidden research labs, or racial groups in
walled-in cities — all fighting each other among the more regular
population which in many ways resembles the "old west"."

It had some wild modern walled cities and completely razed countryside. I can't really find much on it on google. Any Euros who remember it?

Feb 4, 18 3:47 pm

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