Monday, 23 August 2010

Comic Book Store Guy

I had a somewhat deflating shopping experience in my local branch of Forbidden Planet on Sunday.

Now, Forbidden Planet is a comic book shop, although I have noticed that over the past couple of years it's gone more and more over to being a shop of comic and TV and sparkly vampire-related tat. In fact it's whole stock seems to have shrunk recently to the point where it reminds me of WHSmiths - doing small quantities of everything with nothing done in large enough numbers to really count. None the less it's a large, visible comic book shop and I don't know of any other comic book shop in the immediate area.

I also don't know very much about comics. Anyway, I had read a few hooky on-line scans of Batman & Robin, the Grant Morrison-penned story arc in which Bruce Wayne is dead-but-not-really-dead and Dick Grayson takes over the Batman mantle with some form of cloned Bruce Wayne mini-me becoming the new Robin. I'd picked up a slim hardback anthology of the start of this series but struggled to find the actual comic itself. They didn't seem to stock it in WHSmiths.
So I thought the staff of the Midland's main comic book store would be helpful here. There's a million and one Batman comics around at the moment and I couldn't find the Batman & Robin one. I mean to say I don't even know if the arc has finished or if the comic is weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. I'm that much of a modern comics noob.

And you know what? Apparently I know more than Forbidden Planet's staff who claimed to know nothing about comics and hadn't heard of any of this. So either FP is employing store who know fuck all about their product lines or they are employing staff who can't be bothered to take five minutes (in an empty shop on a Sunday afternoon none the less) to help out a potential new customer who would have bought every issue they had in stock.

Note to publishers - a couple of hooky PDFs of a comic I had never heard of floating around on 4chan and Coop races out to buy as many copies of this comic as he can find...


  1. For what it's worth, WH Smith won't stock those Batman stories for a while yet. The US comics are imports, and come through a company called Diamond; only comic shops buy into and perpetuate this monopoly, as WH Smith sensibly uses the tried and trusted newsagent distribution method.

    There are a number of magazines which collect and reprint the US comics, usually with a delay of a year or so, and these are distributed through the newsagents, so you can get them in WH Smith. The Batman one used to be called Batman Legends, and was published by Panini, but someone else publishes it now, maybe Titan?

    So yes, you will be able to get these stories on the High Street, but it might take a while.

  2. You see this is the sort of thing I was totally ignorant about it. Perhaps that's the problem, I failed the clique test!

    I'll have to look out for Batman Legends which is a title that rings a bell - I may have seen it in my search for Batman & Robin.

    Cheers, nice one!

  3. If you are in Birmingham - go try Nostalgia & Comics down by New Street station - (14-16 Smallbrook Queensway, Phone: 0121 643 0143). You should find that they have a much larger comics range than Forbidden Planet and that for the most part the staff are knowledgeable and mostly comics readers themselves.