Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published September 20th 2013
Landing on the World of the Wacky
Zombie Shop Window
If the Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue is Saturn, then the Croydon branch is Mars. It may be small compared to its megastore big brother, it is less of a journey because you don't have to travel into the centre of London.
There are other benefits to the Croydon branch as well; although it does not have as much stock, there is a greater social aspect. For example, at the London branch, there is a long line of tills all being staffed, but there is rarely anyone manning the shop floor. This means if you have a question, then you have to queue up. When I went into Croydon, however, despite it only being a one-room shop, there were three employees at hand. Two were managing separate till desks, and a third on the floor working with the stock. They were all very chatty, and as I caught snippets of their conversation, I felt it was part of a community sharing in mutual interests.
Not only that, but the Forbidden Planet in Croydon has a lot more social events. The one in Shaftesbury Avenue holds big signings for new releases, but there isn't so much the opportunity for games. There are several Magic: The Gathering card tournaments scheduled in Croydon.
So, on a regular day, what can you expect to find at Croydon's Forbidden Planet? Well, my experience began with an encounter, not of the third kind, but the dead kind. The shop window was filled with memorabilia for a zombie brand that I have never heard of. These 'cute' little critters were not as scary as your typical human beings with rotting skin, but looked more like green goblins wanting to give you a hug - and then eat your brains.
Doctor Who Busts
As I stepped inside, I was immediately faced with shelves of Doctor Who merchandise, including posters, framed pictures, busts, action figures, and the classic Tom Baker scarf.
Travel Card & Passport Holders
On the opposite side were rows travel card and passport holders featuring pictures from all types of shows and movies, such as Harry Potter, Captain America, etc. There were also video gaming themed beanie hats and scarves. People who like roleplaying will have no shortage of choice either; there were several boardgames, card games, and other methods of play available.
What the shop stocks most of, however, are comic books and graphic novels. There is manga suitable for both adults and children (such as Pokemon), as well as Anime DVDs of shows like Dragonball Z.
As well as single issue comics, there are many compilations too. For example, there was a large hardback book of all the newspaper comic strips from Star Trek over the years. Other Star Trek goods include novels, an activity craft book, a book on how to speak Klingon, and mini phaser models.
Croydon's Forbidden Planet can be described a small, but densely packed. If you are looking for a specific comic then you will probably find it, but for action figures, etc, then Shaftesbury Avenue is the best place to go.