July 13, 2009 2:22 PM   Subscribe

The city [Metropolis] regularly comes under attack of some sort or another – but rarely will you catch site of bomb damage or dereliction.

I think they have a lot of typos on their websight.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:32 PM on July 13, 2009

Chris Ware's Chicago will always have a special place in my heart.
And my headache medication. Jimmy Corrigan was sometimes almost impossible for me to read.
posted by Askiba at 2:32 PM on July 13, 2009

Ugh, page loads... Here is the list:
Radiant City, Mr. X
Inca city, Tintin
Metropolis, Superman
Ubicand, Fever in urbicand
Gotham City, Batman
The city in Moebius’ The Long Tomorrow
New York, Daredevil
London, From Hell
Chicago, Chris Ware
Mega City One, Judge Dread
Oh, wait.. Can there be spoilers in top ten lists?!?!
posted by Chuckles at 2:34 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yet another comic book list without a single nod to Harvey.
posted by jeremy b at 2:36 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Warning: LGT highly annoying slide show.

10 Radiant City
9 Tintin's Inca city
8 Metropolis
7 Urbicand
6 Gotham City
5 The city in Moebius’ The Long Tomorrow
4 Daredevil’s New York
3 From Hell’s London
2 Chris Ware’s Chicago
1 Mega City One
posted by Ratio at 2:37 PM on July 13, 2009

Haha thanks Chuckles.
posted by Ratio at 2:38 PM on July 13, 2009

What, no Astro City !
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:42 PM on July 13, 2009

They chose some piss-poor examples of panels to showcase the cities (at least in the case of Metropolis, Gotham and MegaCity One)

I'm not sitting near my Comics here at work, but I'd bet that I could skim through 2 or three trades and pull better images as examples. Most egregious being the Metropolis examples which seemed to be close shots of single pieces (or of no exterior shots at all)

That said, why not "The City" from Transmet, which has 300 foot tall robot sentries rusting on it's coast and it's own weather. So much more of a real cohesive City than any of those mentioned (save for Radiant City)

Just my gripe.
posted by NiteMayr at 2:43 PM on July 13, 2009

What, no Astro City !

What, no Duckburg?
posted by ijsbrand at 2:44 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

I kept thinking, "oh man, what's gonna be better than gotham city?" and then I thought "oh, actually those are pretty amazing."
posted by shmegegge at 2:46 PM on July 13, 2009

"What, no Astro City !

What, no Duckburg?

What, no Capital City?
posted by shmegegge at 2:46 PM on July 13, 2009

What, no Duckburg?

What, no Beanotown!
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 2:48 PM on July 13, 2009

Iest: 1, 2, 3.

Sim isn't my favourite author, but Gerhard drew amazing backgrounds.
posted by bonehead at 2:48 PM on July 13, 2009 [3 favorites]

Fun list, and while I see the merits for entries 4-2, I was kinda disappointed that they didn't stick with fictional cities. Yeah, leaving out Astro City is a pretty big oversight. But I was really hoping that my personal favorite, James Robinson's and Tony Harris' art-deco masterpiece, Opal City would get a mention.

Keystone and Coast City always sounded like a bore, and life in Gotham or Metropolis always seemed unjustifiably dangerous, but Opal has gotta be the only comics city I actually wished was real and with available, affordable apartments.

Guess I better file an appeal with the Internet Board of Top Ten lists. These things are binding!
posted by EatTheWeek at 2:48 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

Previous Mega-City One post of mine - TBH the Transmet city dwindles by comparison.
posted by Artw at 2:49 PM on July 13, 2009

Not a city I realize, but no setting in comics is as wonderful as George Herriman's take on Coconino County.
posted by ifjuly at 2:51 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

What, no The City?
posted by shmegegge at 2:59 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also not a city, but I feel Spaceman Spiff's (aka Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes) crash landings in other worlds should merit a mention. Or even Calvin and Hobbes going to Mars on the red wagon. Some of the best newspaper comic landscapes ever.
posted by Corduroy at 3:04 PM on July 13, 2009

Is Astro City itself all that memorable as a setting? I have to confess I've not read that much of it.

Myself I'm a little surprised not to see mention of Central City from The Spirit.

Also of note...

Ted McKeevers Decaying slums in Metropol and the like.

Kevin O'Neills insane cityscapes, in the like of LoEG and Marshall Law but particularly the city of Necropolis in MNemesis the Warlock.

Neopolois in Top Ten.
posted by Artw at 3:10 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]


Is this to help you remember your 2000AD characters?
posted by biffa at 3:24 PM on July 13, 2009

An interesting list, but I think it suffers a bit from a lack of clear reasoning behind the choices and the order. Or perhaps I skimmed too quickly and missed that paragraph.

As icons of the-city-as-character, I can see why Metropolis, Gotham, and Mega City One were included. For pure artistry and vision, you certainly can't go wrong with Radiant City or Moebius' The City. From Hell's London or Daredevel's New York were certainly loving set pieces. The rest I'm not familiar with. But there doesn't seem to be a unified reason for including these while excluding others.
posted by lekvar at 3:31 PM on July 13, 2009

What, no The City?
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:32 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

What, no The Moon?
posted by shmegegge at 3:38 PM on July 13, 2009

What, no awesome niche reference
posted by shakespeherian at 3:41 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, Transmetropolitan definitely got screwed here. I can't think of another single comic in which the city itself is so integral to the story line (hell, it's in the book's name).
posted by solipsophistocracy at 3:58 PM on July 13, 2009

What, no Grimjack's pan-dimensional Cynosure?

Different zones of the city operate under different physical laws because of the proximity of other dimensions. Guns and other technology work in some parts of the city and not others. Similarly, magic is operable some places and not others. Swords generally work everywhere. Different dimensions variously move in and out of phase with Cynosure, regularly in some instances and randomly in others. Occasionally dimensions will seemingly exist entirely within the confines of Cynosure, as for example the so-called "snowball dimensions" which roam throughout the city, or at "Infinity Lanes," a bowling alley in which each lane is a separate dimension.

Talk about a city with a million stories!
posted by Ron Thanagar at 4:11 PM on July 13, 2009 [1 favorite]

How can you have a Top Ten Comic Book Cities list that doesn't include the Top Ten Comic Book City, Neopolis?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 4:16 PM on July 13, 2009 [2 favorites]

I really do want to live in Opal City, the burg so classy that its most famous villain spends his time drinking tea and reminiscing about his old friend Charles Dickens. Man, this list is lame.
posted by bettafish at 4:26 PM on July 13, 2009

There's a number of cities that could vie for that top-10 list, ranging from Cynosure, to Bugtown, to Anvard from the Finder comic. But people are going to go with what they know.
posted by happyroach at 4:33 PM on July 13, 2009

I'm kinda partial to that squalid little burg at the end of Lonely Street, where The Goon and Frankie rule from their barstools in Norton's Pub.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:03 PM on July 13, 2009

Pretty lame list but at least they did go outside the usual Marvel/DC ghetto these sorts of lists tend to resolutely occupy.
posted by davros42 at 5:26 PM on July 13, 2009

"Man, this list is lame."

No, actually, this list pretty well kicks ass.

Opal City, much fun as it would be to live in a vaguely-fictionalized New Orleans, is pretty much just a setting. Astro City, while titular and certainly important, is another mish-mash of Silver Age tropes—the references are more important than the architecture.

Where it fell down was that it undersold the European comics, which tend to focus more on world building. I mean, any of the Invisible Frontiers books could have had its own entry, but the only one that could easily be dropped is Tintin's Inca City, which is cool and well-drawn, but not nearly as conceptually sophisticated as the others.

Transmet's probably #11, and if we're including adaptations, the graphic novel forms of City of Glass and Thieves World would easily rate.
posted by klangklangston at 5:38 PM on July 13, 2009

Opal City was a living, breathing character in Starman... and while the Big Easy definitely had its influences (the mural in the back bar at Molly's At the Market had pretty much every character in the series... and was painted in the '80s) Minneapolis/St. Paul, Boston and Detroit definitely had their say in its character and design as well. Neoplolis was a massive oversight... but I think The City was too ugly in its bones to make the cut. I preferred Terminal City to Mr. X for retro-future, too.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:40 PM on July 13, 2009

The City in which Transmetropolitan takes place- its insanity, its brightness and darkness, and Spider's simultaneous addiction to it and loathing of it- is as much a character as Spider or the Filthy Assistants. Its absence is baffling.

(The background art in any random Transmetro panel is also far superior to any given page of From Hell, which is one of the ugliest fucking things I've ever seen.)
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:54 PM on July 13, 2009

Can there be spoilers in top ten lists?!?!

I don't know, can there?
posted by Evilspork at 7:28 PM on July 13, 2009

Don't confuse "good story in an urban background" with "city as a character in the comics", folks. Even as someone who owns all the issues of Transmetropolitan, either in trade or in floppies, I don't think that Ellis really created a real sense of a city as much as he strung together a number of anecdotes about future shock and transhumanism in a near-future urban setting that just as easily could have been London or Berlin, save for a few American political cues. Similarly, Pope Guilty, I think that Darick Robertson is a good artist, but part of the reason that Eddie Campbell drew London as "one of the ugliest fucking things [you]'ve ever seen" is that, particularly in that time and in those specific places, it was. Sometimes I got the feeling that Robertson just dumped everything tagged "futuristic" in his sketchbook onto the Transmet pages.

As for the other choices, I do feel that sometimes the choice was "good artist in a miniseries that the writer knew/liked" over a really distinctive portrayal of the city; I mean, Frank Quitely and David Mazzuchelli are really, really good artists, but there have been better or more memorable portrayals of Metropolis and NYC. In particular, they could have given lip service to Jack Kirby's "Street Code"--an incredible story, even uninked--set on the Lower East Side of Kirby's youth. Any artist worth their salt would give serious consideration to trading in their left gonad to be able to produce that double-page spread.

in other news, comic fanboy argues vociferously in favor of their own version of arbitrary comics-related list; no film &c.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:31 PM on July 13, 2009 [4 favorites]

Halloween Jack's right—The City is a setting, not a place. Likewise Neopolis. In Mr. X, and to some but lesser extent Terminal City, how the city functions is inherent to the plot. And anyone dismissing From Hell's London? Did you only see the movie? I can't think of a more geographic comic.
posted by klangklangston at 8:09 PM on July 13, 2009

Maybe the question should be: is the city a character? I think Neopolis has a personality - and affects the story, as well as the rules for story telling.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 8:23 PM on July 13, 2009

Nthing Opal City. Astrocity and The City are both settings where cool things happen.

Opal city is definitely a character in the Starman series, maybe overly self consciously so. Robinson and Harris really give it a sense of history and progression. Harris' artwork is perfect for Robinson's vision. On that note, Ex Machina's New York deserves a nod as well.

All of the examples in that list were spot on, though I think they could have dropped Miller's NYC for Opal City.

Interestingly, wikipedia cites OC somewhere in Maryland. Does that make Opal City the DC version of Baltimore? Eh.
posted by Telf at 8:44 PM on July 13, 2009

Radiant City should be well farther up.

Mike Dringenberg's (and Ty Templeton's and Klaus Schoenefeld's) Kelvan Mace's city had a real nice shot at being high up on this list but Shoenefeld died. So it goes.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:57 PM on July 13, 2009

Actually, the City from Transmet is barely even a setting, omnipresent as it is; it's more a MacGuffin.
posted by lekvar at 12:30 AM on July 14, 2009

*TWEET!* Flag on the play. First item on list uses the phrase "on crack."
posted by Eideteker at 9:12 AM on July 14, 2009

What, no Les Cités Obscures? F.i. La Tour.
posted by jouke at 10:41 AM on July 14, 2009

posted by Artw at 10:44 AM on July 14, 2009

posted by jouke at 10:59 AM on July 14, 2009

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