Les murailles de Samaris
Les murailles de Samaris is a graphic novel by Belgian comic artists François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters, the first volume of their ongoing Les Cités Obscures series. It was first published in serialized form in 1982 in the Franco-Belgian comics magazine À Suivre (#46-49), and as a complete volume first in 1983 by Casterman. In English, it was published as The Great Walls of Samaris (Stories of the fantastic) as a serial in Heavy Metal from November 1984 to March 1985, then in 1987 as a complete volume by NBM Publishing.
In 1988, Schuiten & Peeters took the opportunity of the second French edition to revise their story, adding more content to fit in better with their Les Cités Obscures series that had begun to develop in the years since the book's first publication, and slightly edited the ending for better continuity and logic to the story.
Franz Bauer, a clerk in Xhystos, is asked to visit Samaris and research the rumors about this city. Some people have left for Samaris but did not return: Mark and Clara (youngest sister of Anna), and someone called Pierre. Despite opposition from his friends, Franz leaves for Samaris, which he reaches after a long journey.
He stays in the only hotel of the city, meeting one woman called Carla in a club. The days pass, but they seem all similar to each other. In the end Franz tries to break out of the daily routine and finds out that the whole city is built with panels. He discovers that the whole city is fake, and its inhabitants either cutouts or simulacra. Making his way to the center of the city, he finds an altar with a book on it, describing the city as like a carnivorous plant that captures outsiders and consumes them, forever extending its roots. Franz returns to Xhystos to warn them, but nobody seem recognizes him. Many years seem to have passed since he left. Eventually he is able to meet the city's council, but they deny that they have sent him on his mission. Franz leaves Xhystos to return to Samaris.
- Les murailles de Samaris, 1984, Casterman
- Les murailles de Samaris (revised edition), 1988, Casterman
- Les murailles de Samaris, 1993, Casterman
- Les murailles de Samaris, 2007, Casterman
In English (first and unrevised edition only)
- The Great Walls of Samaris (Stories of the fantastic), 1987, NBM Publishing
- The Walls of Samaris, 1984-1985 Heavy Metal
- The Walls of Samaris: A Classic French Comic You Probably Haven't Read, an extended study of the book
- Les Murailles de Samaris, a few annotated pictures from the album (French)
- Series overview on A comprehensive review of the Obscure Cities series for English-speaking fans
- Les Cités Obscures by Julian Darius on The Continuity Pages
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