Authors' List

François Schuiten and
Benoît Peeters

Benoît Peeters and François Schuiten were both born in 1956. They have been working together since 1980, Peeters as an author, and Schuiten as an artist. Together they have published twelve books of cartoons. They have also worked on many exhibitions and theatre sets of which several have been based on Hergé.

The city of a thousand bridges
by François Schuiten and Benoît Peeters

This city might have been called Florence, London or Mostar, but its name was Urbieande meaning City of Cities.

It spread out on either side of a broad river where two townships had long developed separately, their independence tinged with mutual suspicion. On the more prosperous south bank was Bartoline; on the gloomier and more deprived north bank was Urania. A ferry was the sole link between the two.

It was shortly after the construction of the first bridge that the two communities decided to unite. The Commission of High Authorities watching over the destiny of the new city set out to rebuild everything on completely new principles.

Absolute trust was placed in a young architect, Eugen Robick. He drew all the plans, designing the tiniest details with the same enthusiasm as the widest vistas. But these grandiose works, although they made the name of Urbieande famous throughout the continent, sharply accentuated the contrast between the two banks.

The north bank slumped into direr poverty than ever, while on the other side the wildest rumours began to spread. The Commission of High Authorities feared looting and placed traffic across the two bridges under strict control. Urbieande’s two halves became two distinct towns once more, with almost no contact between the two.

Who knows what might have happened had the city not been turned topsy-turvy by the colossal development of a cubic structure (known afterwards as the Urbieande Network). The original cube had begun growing in Robick’s own office and multiplying as it grew. Neither the arrest of the Urbatecht nor the canon shots fired at the Network could stop the continued expansion of the gigantic structure.

Only on reaching the north bank did the Network become stable, as inexplicably as it had begun to grow. Crossings over it were wary and few at first then ever more numerous. Atop the verticals overhanging the river beat the city’s new heart — and to the deep despair of the Commission of High Authorities, Urbieande soon became known as the City of a Thausand Bridges.

François Schuitten and Benoît Peeters