You might have grown out of Roy of the Rovers and The Beano, but there are thousands of sophisticated, brilliantly executed adult comic strips and graphic novels to be enjoyed - just ask the Fanboys! Here, we present five stores providing comic relief...
Mega City Comics, London: Mega City Comics began its mail order business in 1981, six years before the opening of their Camden shop. Stocking a mind-boggling range of old and contemporary comics - ranging from the first edition of Spider Man valued at £6000 to the hard-to-get- your-hands-on graphic novel Kick-Ass, the store also has a large range of posters and badges. (www.megacitycomics.co.uk) 18 Inverness Street, Camden Town, London NW1
Area 51, Bristol: Opened in 1997, Erin McDonald’s shop is devoted to keeping the comic flame burning. Specialising in graphic novels and contemporary comic books, Area 51 also runs a free weekly club where old school board game addicts can play Citadel, Demons and Samurai. Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering and Yu-gi-oh cards are also available - if that’s your bag. (www.area51online.co.uk) 230 Gloucester Road, Horfield, Bristol BS7
Deadhead Comics, Edinburgh: Specialising in Scottish titles such as Toasty Cats, Super Tails and Fugitive Bullets, the store opened in 1989 and is the brainchild of Gafin Oustin. Since then, Oustin has been a keen supporter of New British Comics, an organisation that helps up-and-coming writers and illustrators break into the industry. Look out for Deadhead Comics in the upcoming independent comedy, Electric Man, filming later this year. (www.deadheadcomics.com) 27 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1
30th Century Comics, London: Established in 1994, 30th Century Comics majors on vintage titles from the 1900s to 1970s. The business was set up by four friends with a shared a love of cartoon strips and boasts an extensive range of old British comics, including The Beano, Dandy and Eagle. Refreshingly, the three remaining co-founders are still true to their founding motto: ‘Crumbly old magazines, for crumbly old people’. (www.thirtiethcentury.free-online.co.uk) 18 Lower Richmond Road, Putney, London SW15
Forbidden Planet, Nationwide: By far the largest outlet on the list, Forbidden Planet stocks an encyclopedic range of comics, ranging from Nemesis to X-Men. Graphic novels and hard-to-find merchandise (Forbidden Planet sources its collectables from all over the world) jostle for shelf space with comic genres ranging from science fiction to fantasy and horror. The company also runs a handy subscription service, pandering to the comic completists. (For a store near you, visit www.forbiddenplanet.com/stores)
Words by Stephen Isaac-Wilson