Along with They Walk Among Us and Avalon Comics, 30th Century Comics is a comic book shop in London that is south of the river, in Putney (a few minutes’ walk from the train station, a bit more from the underground stations). Seeing as only 10% of all London Underground stations are in south London, three comic book shops in south London is quite a high number. Like the others, it is in a nice part of south London (yes, there are nice parts of south London), on a quieter road away from the main high street.
30th Century Comics, apart from lacking a grammatically correct hyphen in its name, is a shop that sells comic books, and proud of it. It’s not a very big shop, as you can see from the photo, and it is quite snug on the inside. However, the shop makes good use of the limited space by using every bit for new comic books, of which there is a good selection, and new trade paperbacks. The staff, although busy with other customers, made a point of asking if they could help us and were friendly.
The secret to 30th Century Comics is their basement – going down the stairs at the back of the shop, you descend into three basement rooms completely packed with boxes of old comic books. It’s quite stunning – in rather cramped aisles, there are several shelves of long boxes with a huge range of different comic books (apparently >50,000 according to their website). There’s Marvel and DC, of course, but also a huge selection of old British comic books, from 2000 AD to old war comics such as Commando. It is quite an impressive collection, and you could spend hours perusing the vast diversity (as long as you leave your bag upstairs behind the desk). You can use ebay and internet-only services, but there’s nothing quite like the physicality of rifling through old comics looking for a gap in one’s own collection.
There is a lot to like about 30th Century Comics (such as its location near the river), which means I worry for their continued existence, like the other comic book shops that exist in London. It charges a little more for new books, as do the other shops outside central London, and it has a huge back issue library, which it presumably keeps well stocked. How does it survive? I’m glad it does, and wish them all the best.