Comicana is a small shop on a small joining road between New Oxford Street and Shaftesbury Avenue, about halfway between Gosh! and Forbidden Planet. There are few shops in the actual vicinity, so you’d really have to go out of the way to go to the shop. The only thing, when compared with those two shops, there isn’t a really compelling reason to go there.
This shop is all comics; from the posters in the window (which don’t let in much natural light into the interior) to the long boxes and shelves and those on the wall. The only non-comics space is the small till area to the right. To the left are lots of long boxes, in front of you is an aisle of boxes of ‘hot variant’ comics’. To the right are the shelves of new comics, extending to the back of the room. There isn’t a great selection or variety of trade paperbacks – just modern Marvel and DC and some of the hotter indies. The lone chap on the desk is helpful – well, there was nobody else in the shop at time – but the cramped feel to the place isn’t enticing and you don’t really have the urge to linger.
I have a connection to Comicana, other than hoping that they do well and survive: they had a bigger sister shop out in the north London suburbs near where I grew up, but only after I had gone away to university. When I came back to start a job in London and stayed with my folks, I was able to spend one of my early pay cheques on something really important – comics. They had a sale on – 60% off – and a huge back issue selection, so I bought £250 worth of comics for £100. I brought back a huge long box of old comics (my mum was so happy): the best way to commemorate a new job, in my opinion. Unfortunately, they didn’t last much longer, but that’s nothing new in the world of comic book selling. Their little shop in Central London is still going – I just don’t know how that’s possible.