Oddities #20191101

A somewhat personal oddity this time, though I guess it’s not necessarily all that odd… This is the bag I was given in Forbidden Planet in Denmark St., London, on Tuesday May 25th, 1982. It was my first ever visit to an actual comic-book store, so naturally I kept the bag because I was a big nerd. Plus I was a huge fan of Brian Bolland’s work… look how gorgeous this is!

Forbidden Planet bag 19820525
Young me wasn’t smart enough to properly store the bag: for years I just kept it in one of my comic boxes, but I really should have folded it a little smaller so that the fold didn’t protrude above the comics and get all grubby. 😦

These days I can’t imagine someone allowing a sixteen-year-old to travel to another country unaccompanied. But then, the past is also a different country: I’d left school a couple of months earlier and was working full-time, earning my keep. This was my first visit to London, first flight on a plane… But none of that was as exciting as navigating my way across the city in search of 23 Denmark Street!

I remember quite a lot about that visit to FP… The store wasn’t as shiny and polished as comic-book stores are these days. And the staff were a little paranoid, too: in the entrance, customers had to hand over their backpacks in exchange for a ticket — presumably shoplifting was a big problem. The guy at the door was a proper London punk with piercings and, as far as I recall, a mohawk hairstyle, but thankfully he wasn’t as terrifying as he looked.

Forbidden Planet receiptThe store was packed with desirable items, but I didn’t have a huge amount of money — as I’ve mentioned, I’d only started working full-time less than two months previously. Judging by the receipt (which of course I kept) the item I bought was 2000AD-related and it cost £3.25, so it was almost certainly the first Judge Dredd album published by Titan Books. Unfortunately, I can’t check the cover-price because I lent my copy — along with the two Titan Books’ Cursed Earth volumes — to someone many years ago, but the person to whom I thought I’d lent them insisted that the copies he had on his shelves were his own, and that he’d never borrowed them from me. I am still annoyed about that!

But here’s a bonus: I picked up a couple of A5 flyers while I was in the store, and of course I kept them, too…

Forbidden Planet flyer Frank Miller
This was probably the first time I ever heard of Frank Miller…
Forbidden Planet flyer comic mart
… but I definitely did know who most of the people on this flyer were! Over the intervening thirty-seven years I’ve managed to meet almost most of the twelve creators listed here (in other words, I’ve met six of them). Younger me would have been very chuffed about that!





6 thoughts on “Oddities #20191101

  1. Fantastic! Great memories. I remember my own first visit to ‘The Glittering Palace of Delights’. I was probably overwhelmed by the experience, and wandered out empty-handed.


  2. Ha! Great stuff! I’m guilty of keeping stuff like that too, great fun to find them lurking in boxes. First comic shop I remember going to would be Alchemist Head, and the excitement when I saw the ad for forbidden planet opening on Dawson Street on the back of Speakeasy. 1988 I reckon, I would have been about 14, and no I wasn’t allowed to go to Dublin on my own.


  3. I travelled from Southampton to London alone at the age of 13 to visit Dark they were and Golden Eyed. I kept and used the carrier bag for about 12 years before it was lost in a house move. Great days.


  4. Great story, thanks for sharing. Glad I’m not the only one who keeps hold of paper bags and receipts. Great memories of my first visit to FP in 1988. I bought The Killing Joke and Zenith volume 1. I was 17 at the time. I wasn’t allowed to travel to London on my own so was escorted by my elder brother who was a lapsed comic reader. He was happy just to mooch about while I took the delights of the shop in.


  5. Aye we had a few good times back then . I seem to remember that Frank came round to mine one evening during that trip and I showed him through “the best of olx British comics”…. a quick guided tour of Hampson and Burns and Lewis and Embleton….. but he he was stopped in his tracks when he saw the amazing Frank Bellamy double-spreads of Heros The Spartan! Surely that could been the “birth” of 300.


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