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Forbidden Planet


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Initial post: 1 Sep 2010 12:03:12 BDT
I know a lot of you have a dislike about the store so please feel free to rant about it in here

Posted on 1 Sep 2010 12:24:20 BDT
James Barke says:
I dislike the fact the one in Derby closed and now there's nowhere to buy geeky merchandise.

Posted on 1 Sep 2010 14:40:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Sep 2010 14:41:16 BDT
JJG says:
This is the only shop where you can pretty much guarantee that the temporary and seasonal staff are going to be the most helpful/polite. I find most of them can't believe the blind luck they've had that they can work in shop like it, plus they'll be more than happy to help you find interesting stuff. The less said about the staff proper the better, it's the only comic/collectible shop I know where the cliche of the guy at the till ridiculing the comics you buy is true.

If you like action figures, like my nine year old brother, or forty five year old friend, then it can be a Mecca. For me, I don't like having to walk down a flight of stairs to get my latest issues and stand in a cramped corner when there is a huge amount of floor space available.

Obviously I'm just talking about the Shaftesbury Avenue branch, as I've never visited the other ones.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Sep 2010 18:02:39 BDT
Yeah, there is. It's called the Internet.

Posted on 8 Sep 2010 10:22:44 BDT
Matt Dark says:
Depending on which one I go to, that can be hit and miss.

Birmingham is my closest store, so I most frequently visit that one. Its not bad, but they keep moving everything around, and recently they seem to be dropping alot of material from the store.
I'm a manga fan, but the birmingham store seems to have fewer titles available each time I visit, only stocking the latest releases, or the 'big-name' titles such as Naruto. So I have to go to the 'Nostalgia & Comics' store instead, which is much better for that stuff.

Ive only been to a few others. Theres one in wolverhampton thats alright, seems to specialise more in statues and figurines though. I know they used to sell games at that one, but earlier in the year, they stopped for one reason or another (Probably lack of sales)

The one in bristol is really nice, big and spacey, which a huge amount of stock. But my favourite may be the one in Manchester, that one is huge, and always seems to have a large stock of extra stuff that I dont see in the other stores.

Shame that the one I like most is about an hours train-journey away...

Anyone know what the london ones like? I've been down that area a bunch of times, but never actually been to see the store itself.

Posted on 11 Sep 2010 11:37:21 BDT
D. says:
The one in London's not worth visiting for comics as Gosh! and it's lovely helpful staff is literally five minutes away. However, as JJG said above, it's heaven for people who collect figures and other non-paper stuff. Orbital's ten minutes in the other direction - towards Covent Garden rather than Holburn - and they used to sell a lot of action figures. I've not been in for a while since their sparkly new premises have done nothing for their manners though, so that may have changed since Orbital Manga was separate from Orbital Comics when it was downstairs on Tottenham Court Road. (If they are still separate, however, I'd guess they still have a decent selection of figures for those that way inclined.)

The mark up on singles in Forbidden Planet has always struck me as odd since one would imagine that the larger the store the bigger the discount, in the way the supermarket is cheaper than the corner shop.

So, in short, I'm not a fan of the place for comics, though I went in one day in was raining a while back and did pick up a bunch of anime for dead cheap, so I can't say it's 100% crap.

Posted on 14 Sep 2010 00:52:35 BDT
S. Cook says:
Forbiddenplanet.co.uk is a nightmare, twice I have placed an order September/November for goods intended as christmas presents only to have them not arrive, my emails ignored and despite cancelling the order the goods to arrive the following March. This is for items that read as in stock, not pre-orders, the staff in the shops are helpful (Birmingham) and polite where as the jackass I spoke with on the phone was rude and had a 'so what attitude' that would have earned a well deserved punch in the mouth if we had been face to face.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Sep 2010 16:04:31 BDT
CunningSmile says:
I used to work for Forbidden Planet UK (separate company from FP International, the guys who are mostly based in Scotland and Northern England and who do most of the mail order) and the exact opposite to Supermarket pricing is in effect. They work out a basic mark up and then increase it depending on competition in the local area. The London branch charges a lot less per issue then the Southampton branch because Southampton has a monopoly. The price difference on graphics can be up to a fiver. The main reason I buy all my graphics on Amazon.

The two Forbidden Planet companies also have very different approaches to staff hiring and running stores, which means the variations between the two is huge.

Posted on 14 Sep 2010 23:37:05 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 16 Nov 2012 08:23:50 GMT]

Posted on 20 Sep 2010 11:09:21 BDT
Colin III says:
The online store is a joke. Very unhelpful call staff and they take ages to send out orders that are currently in stock. I got charged for a book I never recieved and spent weeks trying to provie it to them with various bank statements showing the payment coming out etc... have never used them since.

Posted on 22 Sep 2010 16:05:14 BDT
Michael Wood says:
I've never used the site but I've been going to the Central London store for years (since before the move from lower Oxford street to Shaftsbury). Over time its getting progressively worse. I can attest to the review of the permanent staff being everybit as cliche at 'comicbook guy' from the simpsons. Not to mention the restructuring of the store over time which has seen the action figures sections dwindling as they're replaced by novelty keychains and an ever increasing Twilight section (why Twilight deserves its very own section of the store is beyond me).

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Sep 2010 02:14:57 BDT
"why Twilight deserves its very own section of the store is beyond me"

It makes money. Simple as that. Once the Twiblight is over, it'll change to the next fad that'll bring in the cash.

Posted on 30 Sep 2010 21:26:45 BDT
OBakaSama says:
Shaftesbury Avenue store: 'good' for merchandise, and OK for comics. I prefer Gosh for comics when I go to London myself. It's the figures and statues, especially the Japanese stuff, that always held my interest. However, it had (and I stress 'had') competition in Tokyo Toys which is also a shadow of its former self in the Trocadero. The comics and book section downstairs has retained its identity I think, but the ground floor...sort of fluctuates. Had a couple of bad experiences there myself (being overcharged and was sold a broken statue), but OK in general.

Online: had one experience which has shaken my confidence. I got charged twice...for a statue. Imagine my shock when checking my bill. However, I don't blame Forbidden Planet themselves for that error as they use another company for credit card processing, and they did credit back the money immediately; but it's something that should never have happened.

Posted on 1 Oct 2010 09:49:35 BDT
Sean T. Page says:
I've used Forbidden Planet in London was years - it really has changed - so has the audience/market. Comics are lower down their plan now - everyone in there now is checking for the latest vampire lunchbox.

Posted on 1 Oct 2010 12:43:35 BDT
Black Mask says:
Frequenting FP does have its advantages. I was in there with my kids about a year ago, browsing. A young guy marched purposefully in, accompanied by his very timid girlfriend, he headed straight for the Star Wars figures. There was a single, prominent gap in the mahoosive display of figures. He let out a howl like a banshee, I'm not kidding. EVERYONE in the place looked at him. People even came up from downstairs. He had his hands on his head, head thrown back and was bellowing "SEE? I TOLD YOU! I TOLD YOU I SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT AS SOON AS I SAW IT! LOOK! LOOK! IT'S GONE NOW! IT'S GONE AND I'LL NEVER HAVE IT! I'LL NEVER HAVE IT!!!" His poor girlfriend looked like she really wanted to be Sue Storm at that precise moment. Then he let out a final scream and stalked out of the shop, girlfriend in tow. There was quite a bit of sniggering, but mainly I sensed a pervasive feeling of relief and validation. It was like everyone was thinking "Phew! I may be a geek, but never... NEVER... even on my geekiest day, am i ever as geeky as that guy."

Posted on 1 Oct 2010 13:34:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Oct 2010 13:35:35 BDT
Paul Tapner says:
I was in there once and I heard two staff talking about a man who buys every star wars comic and who phones up and gets angry if they ship late because he cant accept that the new arrival date doesnt match the original listed shipping date. Maybe it was the same guy.

I do admire the patience of a member of a staff I saw be asked by a lady who he'd told the item she was looking for was downstairs when she asked 'wheres that?'

Posted on 1 Oct 2010 13:41:49 BDT
Black Mask says:
Regular London FP shoppers may also be familiar with the guy who wears a pyramid on his head?

Posted on 4 Oct 2010 17:42:49 BDT
Bare Osaka says:
I cant stand my local forbidden planet (granted there was one dude who worked there who was happy to talk and recommend manga...but that was once >_>). I think the biggest let down is that they scrapped their floor of imported games, transformers and manga/anime merchendise and replaced it with a True Blood floor! TRUE BLOOD!! seriously wtf!?.. After coming back from the Otaku paradise that is Akihabara (eastern Tokyo - aka Electric Town), Nothing in the UK compares. I think we just have to accept our geeky passions are just too cool for these shores!

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Oct 2010 00:26:23 BDT
Playing devils advocate...please state whether Forbidden Planet (http://forbiddenplanet.com/) or Forbidden Planet International (http://forbiddenplanet.co.uk) . The shops vary as do their respective online stores.

Posted on 7 Oct 2010 10:39:42 BDT
M. Crossman says:
The original FP in Denmark was a haven. A beautiful shop rammed to the rafters with comics, t-shirts, posters...Everything a geek could want.
FP 2 just round the corner was the movie arm of the original FP and was just as good. Helpful, knowledgable staff who would spend ages chatting with you and introducing you to new, cool stuff. I went to several 2000 AD signings there and a Clive Barker signing (just round the corner in the cafe) where I spent 15 minutes chatting with Mr Barker.

Sadly today the new FP's (and I've been to a few...Cambridge, Birmingham but mainly the one in Shaftsbury Avenue) have none of the above. Sterile places, filled with tourists, disinterested staff, and over expensive merchandise. Going to the old FP was a day out. I would spend an hour getting there on the bus from Enfield, North London, and then spend 4 or 5 hours in the 2 shops trying to decide how to spend my meagre pocket money. Now days you need a second mortgage just to walk through the doors.

Thank goodness for the internet. There are so many on line comic shops that are only too happy to help with your purchases and don't treat you like a tourist.

FP was the place that started it all for me but these days I only ever go in there to see what's out and then go somewhere else to make the buy.

Gosh, 5 minutes away as someone else pointed out, is great for comics and graphic novels and populated with helpful staff, as is The Mighty World Of Comicana. Also recommend Krypton Comics which used to be at Seven Sisters in Tottenham but has moved (I use them from their website now).

I wish my lack of business would force FP into a rethink but it won't because there are huge now.

The only decent FP's I've been in in the last 5 years are both in New York. I think that says alot.

Posted on 13 Oct 2010 11:06:42 BDT
Heriman says:
Gosh is the best shop all round in london.

Posted on 15 Oct 2010 10:32:13 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Oct 2010 10:35:22 BDT
Rob says:
I also have/had a long relationship with FP like other writers above (anyone who loves comics in the UK?). I remember getting the train to Manchester to go to Odyssey7 in the students quarter in Manchester from the late 80's onwards. This morphed into Space odyssey (2 shops) before being taken over by FP and becoming a huge mega store. At first this was a good move (to the Comic fan) as there was more of the 'art of' hardcover type books and proper imports but I don't think they sold as well as after a year or two they went. Like others the internet has largely replaced shops as a resource (although I still love the thrill of finding rarities at conventions above all other sources!). My personal preferences have matured and I tend to be looking further into the past (Ditko, Williamson, Wood et al) which means digging through boxes and trawling through endless listings online or buying reprints but I find I still want to spend some money in a SHOP on NEW comics to SUPPORT the 'industry' and find myself doing this in Travelling Man. I respect FP (or more specifically Chris Holt & family of Odyssey7/Forbidden Planet) and enjoy the shop for what it is (general megastore that had to change with the times) but going to Travelling Man is just more like visiting a COMIC SHOP where you see new comics you may not have seen before and the staff are comic fans first and foremost.

Posted on 15 Oct 2010 15:15:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Oct 2010 15:30:23 BDT
Halo572 says:
I went to the New Oxford Street/Shaftesbury Avenue store for around 18 years until I left London. I then got mail order sent for another 4 years before cancelling it. They swapped from cardboard protection for a once a month mailing to stupid A4 'shrink wrap' style flimsy cardboard envelopes and ended up damaging the comics when put in as they were too small. Add in the postal damage and I was spending circa 5 a month to replace damaged copies.

Got a direct postage free subs with the publisher and they usually get to me undamaged/uncreased in just an A4 envelope, with only the occasional postal folding. I save 50 a year on postage on top of all the issues I haven't had to replace, which is heading towards 75-100 a year.

The old shop was good, but as they grew and then moved it became more irrelevant to comic collectors, especially UK titles. 5 years ago it was just a seriously overpriced merchandise store, what it is now I hate to think and will likely never visit again either London or anywhere else.

I am reading a Thieve's World novel at the moment that I picked up in the Shaftesbury Avenue store in the downstairs bookshop sometime in the mid-90s. First time I've got around to reading it and I managed to get 10 of the 12 for 99p each, the price stickers are still on them. I ordered the first 2 today for 2 and 3.48, but that is postage for you.

Posted on 18 Oct 2010 18:10:15 BDT
Last edited by the author on 18 Oct 2010 18:10:47 BDT
N. Cudbill says:
If you think thats bad, my local forbidden planet store in Leicester scrapped its entire games section, and replaced it with a "hello kitty" section. What on earth were they thinking ;(

Posted on 19 Oct 2010 16:04:11 BDT
Prefer Gosh over FP. Just a better store all around.

Never warmed to the Shaftesbury Avenue or the St Giles High Street one, always preferred the old Denmark Street shop. Still, have fond memories of Dark They Were and Golden Eyed in Denmark Street; and the excellent (now long gone) Comic Showcase. Still occasionally go into the SA one and you can find the occasional bargain.
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Initial post:  1 Sep 2010
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