Tuesday 19 January 2016

Make Mine an Indie: London Bookshop Crawl Edition - Orbital Comics

I know that it's not Saturday, but I've been meaning for a while to do some features on the bookshops we'll be visiting on the #LondonBookshopCrawl that's coming up on February 6th (are you free? Come and join us! Email me for details!). There are a fair few bookshops on the crawl that I haven't actually visited myself yet, but I decided to start off with one that I really love, Orbital Comics.

Orbital Comics

For those who are extremely familiar with either this shop or with graphic novel shops in general, forgive me. I'm going to do a little bit of a beginners guide along with the background info for the shop as I know that people who don't frequent them can be easily intimidated by the layout of graphic novel shops and have no idea where to start. In the interest of putting everyone at ease I shall try to make that not be the case here!

Basically, Orbital is awesome! It was founded in 2002 and stocks graphic novels from mainstream publishers as well as indies and self - published stuff, comics (vintage and modern) and a range of toys, collectibles, t shirt, posters etc. They have a brilliant kids section and I genuinely think it's one of the nicest comic shops I've ever been to. As well as selling comics and related stuff, they also have a gallery where they have exhibitions of comics art which is usually for sale, host many many events with authors and illustrators of comics, and have their own podcast where they talk all things comics related, often with the awesome people who write the comics. It's a pretty big space and even when busy it's fairly unintimidating and easy to browse.

If (like me) you're slightly intimidated by the idea of single issue comics (or just can never find issue one of anything!) just steer clear of the boxes in the middle and stick to the walls (except the walls as you first come in, since they hold the recent single issue releases). However I'm reliably informed by my sister (who will be on the crawl, though she isn't on twitter) that there's no need to be afraid of the actual comics, and it's as encouraged to browse them as it is the graphic novels. If you're a graphic novel newbie just remember, it's a bookshop, we like those!

The thing that people often find difficult about this kind of shop is that titles are often organised by publisher and then alphabetically rather than by genre or just alphabetically. To help, here are some of the current most talked about graphic novel series by publisher:


Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro
Morning Glories by Nick Spencer, Joe Eisma, and Rodin Esquejo
ODY-C by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward
Peter Panzerfaust by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Pretty Deadly by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Emma Rios
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Tank Girl by Jamie Hewlett
The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard and Cliff Rathburn
The Wicked + the Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Plus so so many more. As you can see, Image are basically my loves. I will spend all my time there.


So this is obviously a lot of super hero stuff including (but not limited to): Avengers, Captain America, X-Men, Spider Man, Black Widow, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, Hulk etc)
1602 by Neil Gaiman (really really good)
Big Hero 6 by Haruki Ueno
Captain Marvel (since 2014 this has been written by Kelly Sue DeConnick but will be being taken over by someone else soon as has previously existed for years)
Dark Tower (adaptations of the Stephen King series)
Deadpool by Andy Diggle and Steve Dillon
Ms Marvel by G. Willow Wilson

Despite being the most famous Marvel are probably the publisher I have least acquaintance with as I have yet to really delve into the world of superhero comics. I will get there, so if any of you have pointers for me they'd be gratefully received!

Vertigo (an imprint of DC comics)

Fables, Jack of Fables and Fairest by Bill Willingham and others
Greek Street by Peter Milligan and Davide Gianfelice
Hellblazer by various
The Invisibles by Grant Morrison
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman
Swamp Thing by Alan Moore
Sweet Tooth by Jeff Lemire
The Unwritten by Mike Carey and Peter Gross
Y: The Last Man by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

These tend to be the three big ones, but there will be others. Lots of my favourites are published and will probably be stocked under the 'Indie and Other' label or similar including the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O'Malley (Seconds is also good), Castle Waiting Volumes 1 & 2 by Linda Medley, Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi, and the Moomin comic strips by Tove (and later Lars) Jansson.

Apologies that this turned into a bit more of a graphic novels I love and/or really want to read post but I hope it's helpful for those who have no clue where to begin, and I hope that it's got you excited to visit if you're coming on the crawl!

Find out more about Orbital at their website. Catch up on the Make Mine an Indie series here


  1. *mutters something about orbital and a stacked vote something something* I mean, yaaaaay! Graphic novels! Hahaha

    1. Don't be bitter cos you weren't paying attention and didn't vote:-p

    2. also, if it gets too much for you - visit http://quintobookshop.co.uk/ which is just around the corner!

  2. I have a lot first volumes of Image comics from Humble Bundle, so I had better hurry up and sample a few more before we go. I'm looking forward to checking out the indie section.

    1. Once I drag myself away from the Image section the indie bit is always my favourite. You never know what you'll find, I love it! That said though I do also really like Foyles' graphic novel section, it's very well laid out.

  3. I have a lot first volumes of Image comics from Humble Bundle, so I had better hurry up and sample a few more before we go. I'm looking forward to checking out the indie section.