The Black Market Heritage of Les Bouquinistes

Bouquinistes_in_Paris,_11_October_2012The tempting green bookstalls that sit on the banks of Paris’ Seine started life as unsanctioned sellers of pamphlets, many of which were illegal to distribute. If you’ve visited Paris, you’ve probably seen these lovely little shops. They are an important part of a city whose citizens are known for being cultured and captivated by the arts. So important, in fact, are “Les Bouquinistes,” as they are called, that they have earned the UNESCO designation of World Heritage Site.

This account comes from Tactical Urbanism by Mike Lydon and Anthony Garcia. It’s a perfect example of what the authors are looking to encourage.

Many of the things that make cities great don’t come from a huge bureaucratic system or the decree of a powerful mayor but by the will of the people that live in the city.  Projects like the book stalls on the Seine were not city-sponsored or even encouraged by the city, but the people wanted them, supported them and kept coming back to them, and that was enough.

Trade Waiter Comic Book Reviews

downloadThis is a blog with varied interest, but I want to make sure it’s easy to find the comic book content. So here’s a quick post linking all the Trade Waiter reviews from the last three months:

Also, I was recently asked about the name “Trade Waiter” this comes from a bit of comic book reader jargon. Someone who waits until issues are collected is sometimes called a trade waiter. I thought this name was appropriate because I only review books that have been collected into at least one trade or are a complete graphic novels. Happy reading.

Low – Trade Waiter

low2-gregtocchiniLow inhabits a strange dark future. The world looks like a kind of inverted Mad Max, where the future is trapped underwater instead of stuck in the desert and, while the setting is specific and engaging, this is not a quiet atmosphere story.

The book plays at full volume and it’s more than worth listening to.

The emotional wallops hit like a hammer. Writer, Rick Remender is a student of the kill-your-darlings school of writing or at the very least the rip-out-their-eyeballs school. The book is dark, sexy and gross at times, maybe immature — but the stakes matter. It’s not wallowing in filth just for its own sake.

Tocchini’s art calls back to the classic 70s art style of sci-fi paperbacks, rendering underwater future babes and horrible sea monsters with aplomb. The art suggests more than it details. The style’s more painterly than what you might associate with a tech-heavy future and that keeps the art from being as accessible as a more traditional comic would be. But it’s that same strangeness that makes the art remarkable. Read more

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