I'm a London-based freelancer who writes about costume design, performance art, pop culture deconstructions, literary evaluations, reviews and bucket lists on my blog Diary of a Self-Confessed Nerd
Published December 18th 2012
A quick look into another of Londonís fine comic book and gallery businesses that offers gold star customer service and a great experience every time
This weekend I ventured to one of my "local" haunts, Orbital Comics. It is located just off Great Newport Street, London and is perhaps one of my favourite places in the city, usually a visit is found on the 'To Do' list when going shopping in Central.
Image from ComicVine, Wikipedia. Photo: Xerox_Kitty
Orbital Comics is quite a narrow store that has a very deceptive little entrance hall before you enter the cornucopia of geekery, though in no way do you have to identify as a 'nerd' or a 'geek' to want to go here; all that's necessary is an appreciation of good writing and various art styles.
At the outset there is a brilliant selection of mainstream comics which are always up-to-date by release date (every Wednesday), but they also cover Japanese 'manga' comics as well as a back collection of graphic novels and collected editions. Something that sets Orbital apart is the vast assortment of old edition comics from various ages in comic book history. There is nothing rare like a Silver Age Spider-man, not that I could see (or would expect to find due to their value and rarity), but instead there are the iconic back publications that line the walls and fill the boxes in the backroom. I always feel like there could be a treasure in them and there is always something therapeutic about being able to go through boxes of comics at your leisure, without feeling any pressure from the staff or other customers. It is just a simple joy that is a rare one now comics can be brought online and ordered through the post.
Orbital is also great because they are one of the few comic shops I know of that have a 'Small Press' section. This appeals to me particularly because I am a freelance writer and it is always nice to glimpse smaller publications and niche comics that are getting their chance to sell and circulate.
Another great feature of Orbital is not only that they will happily set up a standing order for you, but that that they regularly buy collections from customers and put them on the shelf, though obvious conditions apply. Similarly this is how they get in a range of retro toys, a personal favourite of mine being the old 80s style Transformers. Most have been pre-owned but are in a good state and priced according to their rarity and condition. They also sell a very small collection of newer figurines and stuffed toys if you are interested in them.
What most impresses me about Orbital is the customer service. Three members of staff seems to be about the average on a normal day, or has been when I've been there, and while I don't know them by name I could perhaps recognise them by their music choices which play throughout the day. The staff at Orbital Comics are polite and professional and nine times out of ten they have been able to give me great advice regarding the several comics in my arms. Due to the fact it is a smaller store and there has never been a queue when I have gone to pay, the staff are always ready to chat and help you out.
I really recommend Orbital Comics if you are in London and shopping, or are in the area and looking for a new place to pick up your geekery. This store is perhaps as close to movie-portrayal of a comic shop as you will get, but it has all the modern comforts of great music, knowledgeable staff and an amazing selection of comics, novels, original artwork, and collector items.
If you are around the Great Newport Street area, go check this place out. It is completely worth it for anyone that likes a good read and great service.