architecture in comics    I  txo?! Comics' stories are told, to a large extent, in "houses" created using various rooms and spaces. There is a greater connection than we realise between comic's arrangements and the buildings in their vignettes, on the on hand, and architecture, on the othe. In both comics and architectural projects, vertical and horizontal lines establish the organization of the spaces in which everything takes place.

The relationship between comics and architecture is probably seen most clearly in Ibañez's 13 rue del Percebe. The house becomes a comic; and the
comic, a house. You can also see this clear relationship in Art Spiegelman's The Shadow of No Towers.
With a few exceptions, architecture has always been used in comics for decoration and for filling gaps. But, as in plays and films, the decoration is never neutral. As well as giving the action surroundings and a setting, they also give it its own "character". After John Ford filmed Stagecoach in Monument Valley, all westerns started to "impose" scenery. And the desert was not just decoration. The desert became an ecosystem which underlined the cowboy's loneliness. The same thing happens in comics. Architecture is indispensable. In Windson McCay's pioneering Little Nemo the highly detailed drawings clearly show the cities' architectural landscape. Later on, this tendency was evident
in the Marvel and Dc Superhero comics. The city is the Superheroes' natural habitat. And that environment has a direct influence on the superheroes. In the Marvel comics, for instance, the superheroes live out their adventures in New York. In the DC comics, on the other hand, everything happens in the invented cities of Metropolis and Gotham. As far as architecture's concerned, both are invented and each has its own charm. In Spiderman you see New York places you know, and that brings the comic closer to us and
makes it highly identifiable. In Gotham and Metropolis, on the other hand, new architecture is invented depending on what each story needs. The authors obtained innovative and spectacular results in those two fictional cities. The cities' buildings, bridges and streets adapt to the superheroes' characters and personalities. Could Batman exist outside dark Gotham? Just try taking Superman away from New York's skyscrapers and put him in a green field. The poor man would die of stress!

And there are other works, beyond the superheroes' comics, in which the cities and the architecture are particularly important. Without leaving NY, there's a strong connection with the city's architecture and town planning in Paul Auster's City of Glass as adapted to comic form by David Mazzucchelli and Paul Karasik. Mazzucchelli used the relationship with architecture again in 2009's Asterios Polyp comic.
From the 80's onwards, with the flourishing of underground comics in the US, the outskirts became more important. Peter Bagger's Hate series' Buddy Bradley character lives in New Jersey's run-down Hoboken. In Daniel Clowes' Ghost World, and Seth's Palookaville series too, the main settings are far from the touristy city centre: mass produced housing, empty sites and shopping centres' architecture is more important here. In the States, comics are a popular form of art. And even more so in Japan. Manga's natural habitat in the city. Along with New York, Tokyo is the city that most appears in comics. Also
from Japan, Jiro Taniguchi's precise work takes us beyond architecture to a beautiful representation of the environment. The Japanese master shows us a special, marvellous way of seeing cities, roads, houses, parks and different things connected with town planning in works such as Boccha no jidai (the far-off suburb), Inu wo kau (with a dog) and Aruku hito (traveller).

In Europe, too, comics are mostly urban. As there are many different realities in comics, we won't go into it in depth. France's powerful Bande Dessinées (BD) are set in Paris and other large cities (Tardi sets Adéle Blamc-Sec's spirited adventures in Paris, Frederic Peeters' Koma and RG ...). In Alan Moore's comics too, London is a main character (From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentleman ...). But we're interested in another phenomenon. In recent years, and probably thanks to many BD creators having fled from the city to places surrounded by
nature, small towns and farming environments have become far more important in their work. Manu Larcenet's Le Combat ordinaire and Alfred and Olivier K's Pourquoi jái tué Pierre prize-winning comics are just two examples of this.

a peculiarity

In Iñaki G. Holgado and Harkaitz Cano's Pizti Otzanak, lots of different types of architecture, with noir influences, give the story different settings. The basis for creating this mix of different architectural settings was very precise research. This comic demonstrates that even the smallest architectural details have their reason to be. In the photos, a staircase inside San Markos fort. And then you can see how it was
turned into scenery for the comic book.