(Photo taken from Rich Johnston’s Lying In The Gutters column containing his rundown of central London comic book shops)
The other comic book shops that I have talked about in the central London area are still operating; Comic Showcase is no longer with us, which is a great shame.
The photo above shows the fourth site of the shop [EDIT: Paul in the comments detailed all locations: Catherine Street 1980–1982; Monmouth Street 1982–1987; Neal Street 1987–1999; Charing Cross Road 1999–2006], on Charing Cross Road, near Leicester Square tube station. I’m not sure exactly when it moved there, but it used to be located the Shaftesbury Avenue end of Neal Street, a funky, pedestrianised street off Covent Garden. It was a lovely, old-fashioned comic book shop: a little bit of merchandise near the till, but for the most part it was comics, a long set of shelves down the left side carrying all the new books, with the long boxes of back issues at the back of the shop (and they had a great selection). They also had original art downstairs, but I never really ventured down there because it was well out of my price range. It was always nice to visit, with friendly staff and a very pleasant atmosphere. I loved their shop bags – they had the Joker dealing cards to you, with one of them not being an ordinary card …
When I used to work in South Kensington in the late 1990s, I couldn’t decide between Comic Showcase and Gosh!, so I would alternate weekly between them in order to not show favouritism and maintain balance. I am very odd.
I’m not sure when they moved to the new site (it could have been when I worked in the USA for a few years), but it never captured the same atmosphere as the old location. The main floor was an open space with shelves around the walls for a wide selection of comics, from mainstream to independents. The back issues were now downstairs, to allow more room for trades and merchandise, and this left things a little sterile for my tastes. I can understand the choice of the move, with the high visibility of the busy road it was on, but it didn’t help in the end; they unfortunately went out of business in the middle of 2006 (as disclosed by Rich in this Lying in the Gutters). This was a great shame, as I always felt that the shop was very central to the London comic book scene. The only person who I found to disagree is Dom Sutton, who writes a comic book blog called London Loves Comics: in a single post here, he talks about the London comic book shops in a more concise manner than I am with this series of posts. However, he also recalls not being allowed to buy a page of original Watchmen art when he was young, being told he was too young to appreciate it. I think I can understand his feelings.