A good comic shop is hard to find…

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Orbital Top 10, originally uploaded by blackbeltjones.

Very pleased to be introduced to Orbital by Jack Schulze on Saturday.

It’s in a dingy basement underneath a five-quid-a-time walk-in barbers at the Centrepoint end of Charing Cross Road. The staff are sarcastic and bristly for show, but helpful and enthusiastic once engaged. The “Top 10” seems to change regularly, and there are ratty, comfy 4th-hand leatherette sofas to slouch on.

It’s great, and everything I look for in a comic book store. However I am a geeky male in his thirties. It’s not going to do anything to broaden the reach of the medium, lets say…

In contrast, the other best comics store I’ve been to in recent memory was in Yale Town, Vancouver.

That was clean, well laid out, didn’t smell like several Fields-of-the Nephilim fans had died there; and the assistants were helpful and engaging – resulting in selling me an armful of comics more than I planned to buy. I’d imagine the Vancouver store has a bit of a wider demographic appeal as a result, but Orbital’s ‘authentic charm’ has me under it’s slightly fusty spell.

Anyway, it gave me a sufficient jolt of nostalgia to get me back into a habit I haven’t had since I was 18 – a standing order for comics.

The last place I had one was in the late 1980’s in a dingy corner of Jacob’s Market, Cardiff – where the staff (Pete, Dave and Geoff I think?) were bristly, sarcastic and enthusiastic – and cheerfully took from me a large slice of the 15 quid a week I earned from after-school work at Harris Printers.

However, I had a bit of a blank when it came to actually placing the order, so I’m hoping you can help me out.

I’ve already taken a look at what people on The-Engine.net are reading, and there’s a few things there I’ll probably add, but here’s the rather meagre list I left at Orbital

  • Seven Soldiers *.*
  • Fell
  • Desolation Jones
  • Planetary (!)
  • Jack Cross
  • The Losers

So, what would you recommend?

0 comments
  1. Lee Maguire said:

    Y: The Last Man, Ultimates and Ultimate Iron Man. They’ve just released the trade of Strange which was the comic version of a (very Matrix-y) Dr Strange movie that never got made.

  2. Lee Maguire said:

    While you’re clearly charmed by the authentic sarcasm, and the musty tang of mylar and rotting paper – the reason why Orbital is better than the other two comic shops in the area (FP and Comics Showcase) is because they rack new books by week and then by publisher. Oh, and their little bags are unmarked. FP carriers always make me think of that scene in Shallow Grave.

  3. Misha said:

    If you’re willing to try something a bit more mainstream-superhero-ish, try Birds of Prey. Gail Simone is writing a book that works in the DC universe but still has recognizable, interesting, and complex women as its central characters. And it’s funny and action-packed to boot.

    Another plus is she just finished up a big story arc — September’s issue has a bunch of shorter stories with guest artists, and then in October the next storyline will kick in. I’m not crazy about the art on the book, I have to admit, so I’m looking forward to this next issue on all sorts of levels.

  4. Schulze said:

    There is a weird but bleak series called Wintermen or something about an ex-spetsnaz bloke, is quite good. As discussed, my current favourite: Sea of Red, vampire pirates and Joel Schumacher in a mini sub.

    Also, up by the British Museum is Gosh, which has lots in stock, and the staff are nice lads. Not so many back issues as Orbital, but worth a root around.

  5. Besides the comics you mentioned, I’m also reading WALKING DEAD ( a survivalist zombie comic), and Bryan lee O’Malley’s SCOTT PILGRIM. And I’ve read an advance of DMZ by Brian Wood, and it looks amazing. I think it’s going to do well if enough people can read the first issue and jump in early.

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