paris begins

it’s been 5 days since i got back to paris and i have barely had time for myself. between moving in, settling administrative chores, showing a friend around and trying to fulfill extracurricular obligations, i haven’t had time to relax. today however i was glad to have gone out. for the first time, i perused the bouquinistes along the seine – parisian booksellers standing at old green chests along the river filled with old rare books, magazines, postcards, comics… one particular bouquiniste had a wonderful collection of comics and knew everything there was to know about european illustrators. one by one, he thrust into my arms with a long and passionate string of explanations tomes of jacques tardi, hugo pratt, françois schuiten. everything was “extraordinaire”! he knew the stories and the history of the comics and their artists/writers intimately. he went on at length about each one, going “pfff” or “oh là là” whenever he threw me a name or series i couldn’t recognise. patrick – for that is his name – appeared to have read everything he had on sale. it was the first time i’d ever met someone who could discuss comics in complete earnest and with an extensive amount of literary understanding. his enthusiasm was infectious. i bought everything he suggested, promising to be back for more. i’d started by asking if he had any sampayo and muñoz but left with everything else. i’d known for a while that europe had a far more widely accepted comics culture than the anglophone world, but the vastness of that which i don’t know and of how accessible it suddenly all is has only just hit me today. it puts me into a happy daze.

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