Forbidden Planet (bookstore)

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The London Forbidden Planet on Shaftesbury Avenue.
Forbidden Planet logo

Forbidden Planet is the trading name of two separate science fiction, fantasy and horror bookshop chains across the United Kingdom, Ireland and the United States, and is named after the 1956 feature film of the same name.

The shops sell, in addition to books, comic books, graphic novels, manga, DVDs, video games, and a wide variety of toys, clothing and other collectible merchandise.

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

The Forbidden Planet in Manhattan, New York, at 832 Broadway.
Interior of the Manhattan store on opening day, July 24, 2012.

Forbidden Planet London is the name of the cult entertainment Megastore in London, UK, flagship of a national chain that includes Megastores in Bristol and Southampton, other stores throughout the midlands and the south of England, and an online presence. Specialising in movie and television merchandise, the stores retail art toys, comics, collectibles, DVDs, and graphic novels. They also host signings and events with authors, artists and other figures from cult media. [1] Forbidden Planet London was the third major comics store in the city, eventually replacing what had been the leading shop, Derek Stokes's Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed, which had started in 1969, and coming after Frank and Joan Dobson's Weird Fantasy in New Cross. Much of FP's growth came after the demise of Dark They Were, and Golden-Eyed, which went out of business in 1981. Forbidden Planet had grown out of the Titan Distributors business of Mike Lake, Nick Landau, and Mike Luckman; Titan itself having grown out of Comic Media Distributors.[citation needed]

The first Forbidden Planet began life in 1978 as a small store in Denmark Street. As the scope of the store expanded beyond comics to embrace film and television, a second store was opened just around the corner on St Giles High Street. The store's success led to overcrowding, necessitating a move to much larger premises on New Oxford Street.[citation needed] The original partners, in addition to improving their London store, paired with James Hamilton and Kenny Penman (today the main shareholders in Forbidden Planet International with Andrew Oddie, Richard Boxall and Colin Campbell) to open other stores. Penman and Hamilton were owners of one of the UK's oldest comics and SF stores, Science Fiction Bookshop, in Edinburgh, which opened around 1975. On September 30, 2003, the London store moved to even bigger premises at the eastern end of Shaftesbury Avenue. [2]

The London Megastore opened in 2003. A landmark media event, it became a city landmark, the first high-street retail outlet to offer every kind of merchandise from individual science fiction, fantasy and cult mythologies.[3][4] Synonymous with the new popular credibility that science fiction has enjoyed since the year 2000, it offers a primary West End location for tourists, shoppers and celebrity appearances.[5][6]

Forbidden Planet opened a second Megastore in Clifton Heights in Bristol in 2005, and a third in Southampton in 2007. In 2006 the company launched forbiddenplanet.com, an e-commerce retail site offering a wide range of products and hosting details of the company’s many events and signings.[7][8]

Expanding[edit]

The original chain split into two firms, called Forbidden Planet and Forbidden Planet Scotland (later renamed Forbidden Planet International). Forbidden Planet International grew beyond Scotland to include stores throughout the Midlands, in Wales, Northern Ireland, Ireland and majority ownership of two stores in New York City. The New York store was originally located at 56 East 12th Street and Broadway before moving across the street to 840 Broadway and East 13th Street in the 1990s. It operated there until its closing on July 22, 2012. On July 24, it reopened several doors south at 832 Broadway, where it would enjoy 3,400 square feet of retail space.[9][10][11]

FPI also runs a blog featuring comics and SF related news, reviews and interviews with novelists and comics creators and has recently begun podcasting too. As well as the main webstore with a wide range of comics, SF and cult merchandise and graphic novels (including a number of British small press titles) there are also sites dedicated to new comics and back issues.[citation needed]

In total, between the two groups who trade under the same name, there are currently some 30 stores worldwide.[citation needed]

Locations[edit]

Forbidden Planet[edit]

Forbidden Planet International[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • The Forbidden Planet London Megastore was feature in an episode of The Apprentice when the contestants visited the store to try to pitch a board game idea to the store manager.
  • The New York store was featured in an issue of The Authority vol. 4, #2. When the eponymous superhero team ends up in the "real world", they visit Forbidden Planet and discover comic books that feature them.
  • The Denmark St store appeared in The Daredevils issues #3 and #4 in a Captain Britain story.
  • Landau, Luckman & Lake, a fictional organization in the Marvel Universe, is named for the original three founders.[14]
  • Forbidden Planet London store employee Jan Waicek was quoted in the May 2000 issue of Maxim magazine, in an article titled, "Hardest of the Hardcore" which examined various items with extreme statistics or traits ("Hardest Dinosaur, "Hardest Natural Disaster", "Hardest Aircraft", etc.). Waicek was asked his opinion on who is the "Hardest Superhero", and cited Wolverine's adamantium skeleton and claws, and Superman's near-invulnerability.[15]
  • One of the potential flatmates interviewed in the 1994 feature film Shallow Grave prominently holds a Forbidden Planet carrier bag.
  • In the 2011 fantasy novel Skulduggery Pleasant: Death Bringer, Darquesse crashes through the Dublin store's window and remarks, "A comic store. How fitting".
  • The 1987 comic book The New Mutants Annual #3 features a scene in which a global duel between Warlock and Impossible Man ruins the London shop and the car of founder Mike Lake, who is horrified at the damage.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Jonathan Ross Signing at Forbidden Planet". bleedingcool.com. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  2. ^ "Londontown London Information Shopping". Londontown. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  3. ^ "World's largest sci-fi store to open in London". Sad Geezers. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  4. ^ "Andy Serkis Signing at Forbidden Planet". theonering.net. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  5. ^ "Forbidden Planet". Trip Advisor. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  6. ^ "Forbidden Planet - Covent Garden - London". Yelp. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  7. ^ "Forbidden Planet MegaStore Comes To Bristol". scifinews.net. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  8. ^ "Forbidden Planet to open city megastore". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  9. ^ Johnston, Rich. (July 6, 2012) "Forbidden Planet New York Moves Four Doors Down". Bleeding Cool.
  10. ^ MacDonald, Heidi (July 10, 2012). "New York’s Forbidden Planet moving to bigger space". ComicMix.
  11. ^ Frankenhoff, Brent (July 9, 2012). "Today’s Comics Guide: July 9, 2012". CBGXtra.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Store Locator". Forbidden Planet. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Store Locations". Forbidden Planet International. Retrieved July 25, 2012.
  14. ^ Cronin, Brian (March 27, 2008). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #148". Comic Book Resources.
  15. ^ "Hardest of the Hardcore". Maxim. May 2000. Page 103.

References[edit]

  • Sabin, Roger. Adult Comics: an Introduction (London: Routledge, 1993), pp. 64, 96, and 268.
  • Sabin, Roger. Comics, Comix & Graphic Novels (London: Phaidon, 1996), p. 157.

External links[edit]