In the Belgian classic comic series Blake and Mortimer there appeared in 1955 an adventure set in the mythical city Atlantis. It’s the seventh story in the series which started in 1950.
What I find noteworthy is that the city Atlantis here undergoes several metamorphosis: It was once a city (and state) on land. It then got submerged due to seismic events. The citizens however survived and formed a new community in a subterranean system of caves. In the story this “new” Atlantis gets flooded and destroyed once again and the citizens evacuate once more, this time into space.
Since the plot is quite complicated, I mostly quote here from the respective wikipedia entry.
Professor Philip Mortimer takes his vacation to São Miguel, an island of the Azores. In a cave in the extinct volcanoe Sete Cidades he finds a radioactive rock and cannot help making a rapprochement with the orichalcum mentioned by Plato, the mysterious metal of Atlantis.
The comic then tells the following version of the myth:
12,000 years ago, Atlantis ruled the world from an island in the middle of the Atlantic (an island of the Azores) . But the collision between Earth and a huge celestial body caused the immersion of the continental coasts and island. The few survivors of the Atlantean civilization then decided to build a new and secret Atlantis in the bowels of the Earth. Since then, the Atlanteans, much more evolved than the inhabitants of the surface thanks to the immense energy source that constitutes the orichalcum, watching the surface of the Earth thanks to what earthlings call flying saucers.
Blake and Mortimer climb down into a labyrinth of caves and eventually arrive in Poseidopolis, the capital of subterranean Atlantis. Here they get caught in a political uprising to overthrow the royal reign of the state. The uprising results in disaster: Atlantis is flooded a second time, when the flood gates that hold back the ocean are accidently opened. The monarchy then engages the evacuation that had been planned for a long time: the departure of the Atlanteans to another planet with an armada of spaceships. While the Atlanteans prepare to join other skies, the other ethnos of this subterranean world, the so called barbarians, are facing extinction in the rising waters. Blake and Mortimer are released and evacuated by a submarine. Back on land, on the shores of the caldera of Sete Cidades, they attend the majestic departure of Atlantean ships inot the sky.
The connection between the submarine and outerspace was not an uncommon one in the 1950s as Helen M. Rozwadowski explains in her essay on submarine utopias in the 20. Century. Both – the deep sea and outerspace – held promises of alternate existences for an otherwise doomed human civilization. This also becomes evident in the oeuvre of one of sci-fi’s most important authors, Arthur C. Clarke, who wrote three volumes of non fiction books about the Great Barrier Reef. See my post on Rozwadowski’s essay here.
Original vesion odf the comic book in french language here.