Cycling Into London As Comic Shops Open For The First Time This Year

I cycled into London today, as lockdown rules changed, allowing the opening of non-essential retail stores in England. Which included comic book shops. So I grabbed a Boris bike in Putney and went in. What started out with snow and sleet turned into glorious sunshine. Soho itself had pavements thronged with restaurants and vars spilling into the streets to abide by current regulations, and media broadcasters were setting up around Old Compton Street almost willing the inevitable crowds of drinkers and revellers who will no doubt be thronging the pavements in a few hours. Oh and I clumsily chopped together a video.

Forbidden Planet is the only store selling Bad Idea Comics in the UK, but they didn't have any copies of Eniac #1 or #2 or Tankers #1 in today – though I did pick up the book of Bad Idea previews. Here's a look at their Top 10 best-selling comics right now.

Cycling Into London As Comic Shops Open For The First Time This Year
Photo by Rich Johnston

There were lots of customers inside, but they were restricting numbers entering, leading to a bit of a queue outside. There were only three kinds of lines I saw in and around the West End today, for barbers, for Italian delis and for comic book shops

Gosh Comics had the Cinema Purgatorio collection with a signed Alan Moore/Kevin O'Neill bookplate. Their final work together, I will be looking forward to reading it in one sitting with a glass of red wine. Yes, it is published by Bleeding Cool's owner, Avatar Press, but it's not like I get comp copies. Gosh has some new creator displays that really sing into the Soho, and I was happy to pick up a bunch of small press comics that I had been denied in recet momths.

Cycling Into London As Comic Shops Open For The First Time This Year
Photo by Rich Johnston

I also went to Orbital Comics which is slowly transforming into a different kind of comic book shop. With a cafe and famous barista upfront, a record store and art gallery within, and an extensive back-issue collection, we are still unsure as to what it will transform into. We hope it gets the chance.

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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