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Comic Book Shop Memories: Bristol

My series of posts about comic book shops has been limited to London, because that’s where I live and have done for quite a few years. However, I have also lived elsewhere and found places to buy comics in these cities; I thought I’d share some memories to keep up the theme.

It makes me feel old by writing this, but twenty years ago I went to the University of Bristol. I had a great time, and Bristol is a wonderful place in its own right, but it was also great in that it had a comic book shop on Park Street. Park Street is a steep road going down from the Wills Building (part of the university) before it becomes College Green towards Bristol Cathedral. Book shops, record shops, restaurants and other non-chain stores filled the street, which saw a lot of visitation from the students because it was so close, and for me because it had the comic book shop.

The comic book shop was Forever People, about halfway on the right-hand side as you walked down Park Street. It was an old-fashioned shop, nothing fancy or trendy, just a packed interior with two levels, which could be seen as you entered the store. There might have been merchandise, but I only remember the comics because (a) that’s all I was interested in and (b) I couldn’t afford anything else at the time – I was a student, after all. I remember that it wasn’t very well lit, even though it had a big window to let in sunshine.

My memories are not as sharp as I would like – I don’t recall the layout and I don’t remember the people who worked there – but I know it existed (even if I don’t have a photo of it) and my collection shows that I was buying books from that time. A specific memory I have is of reading Peter David’s The Incredible Hulk for the first time in the shop – I think I must have read about it in the pages of Comics International; I was a big fan of Chris Claremont’s X-books at the time, so the thought of reading anything else was quite novel for me. Unfortunately, my finances wouldn’t allow me to get an extra book, so I had to wait for a while before I introduced the book to my collection and went back to get nearly the whole run. The shop never seemed to mind people reading the comics on the racks, but that could be because they were on the upper level and they couldn’t see you so easily. It was a charming old shop, the type you don’t see any more, and I was very fond of it.

The shop is no longer there – I don’t know when it closed or what happened. I recently returned to Bristol for a reunion with old university friends and got the chance to wander the streets of my undergraduate days. Although the old shop isn’t there, a new comic book shop has arrived – a Forbidden Planet which, by the look of my photo (which is not the greatest; it was very difficult to get a decent angle, and there is a bus stop right in front) and my walk through the store, is part of the Forbidden Planet franchise but does not appear on its website. It has the same layout and design, and looks exactly the same as the London shop I posted about in this post. It warmed my heart that Bristol had such a big shop (it takes up a lot of space) and in such a prominent location, at the top of The Triangle, just up from Park Street. I’m sorry that Forever People no longer exists, but I’m glad that the students of Bristol can waste their beer vouchers on comic books and related merchandise.

[Edited to amend the name of the original comic shop to ‘Forever People’, which was thanks to Simon Pegg’s Nerd Do Well – Simon went to the University of Bristol at the same time as I did, and is a huge fan of 2000 AD.]


This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. biscuitsalive

    Glad there are good memories of Forever People. That was my dads shop and i worked there as a lad. It certainly was full of characters and i have many memories too.

    1. hiab-x

      I've been looking for a photo of the old shop, I don't suppose you have one in the family archives? I used to love going there.

    2. Darth

      I loved that shop. I bought a lot of ‘Hellraiser’ merch in ‘Forever People’ and ‘Fangoria’ magazine…i miss that place.

    3. Erssie

      I used to visit the shop a lot. I was obsessed with the artwork of Rodney Matthews when I was a teen (far better than Roger Dean I think) after I’d read a bizarre Sci Fi time travel tale and Matthews had designed the artwork for the cover. I had white walls (my parents choice at it was the cheapest paint) and took away the stark quality by covering it in Rodney Matthews prints. I remember one time visiting Forever People to buy a poster and the shop assistant saying, Rodney’s here doing signings of his calendar today, he’s just over there…. Of course I snapped up the calendar and had a poster signed by him. Shame the store closed. Was this when your Dad retired? Or did the business get an offer? It’s a popular street and can imagine businesses were fighting to get a spot there. If I remember rightly the store was quite long and narrow, and I think it had a mezannine half floor at the back?

  2. Anonymous

    i loved this shop , and me and my friends traveled from Cardiff to spend our money on D and D stuff and figures.
    We remember a very irritable young kid working there who was just appalling to us ,, didnt want to take the games down from the wall behind the counter. we use to tease him eventually by asking for the games at the top and then figures from the from of the display counters,, he was an awful person and we had enormous fun winding him up.

  3. Steve Bristle

    Interesting to note that there's now a company that produces roleplaying games called Forever People and the bloke who runs it grew up in Bristol in the 80s when I was in my teens. In one of his newsletters he said he loved the store and it was the inspiration for the name of his company. I remember Forever People too. I was more into the dungeons & dragons stuff than the comics. I remember they had an amazing lead miniatures display in a fish tank. It was also one of the few stores you could buy alternative culture board games. Shame its not there anymore but nice that it lives on in another way.

  4. Alec

    Forever People was my favourite shop. Very fond memories of buying the Bolland/McMahon covered Eagle Comics Judge Dredd comics, the Gibson covered Robo Hunters and also the Titan Chronicles of Judge Dredd graphic novels, etc… from 1983 on. Complete collections of 2000ad back-issues upstairs (#1 still available for less than £20 in the late eighties). Alison Moyet singing All Cried Out over the radio in the shop in November 1984. The man at the till called me “love” which slightly disturbed me. The colourful Christmas lights (when they were still great). I believe it was at No.59 Park Street? Then Forbidden Planet opened a branch in Broadmead in the early nineties and it wasn’t long before Forever People closed and Forbidden Planet eventually moved to it’s current grander location.

  5. Alec

    Note: There are two websites for shops called Forbidden Planet. The original one (I assume) which includes the Bristol branch is and the one which is different (mentioned in David’s article above) is forbidden planet international ( which has different shops. I’m not actually sure which is the original but I get the impression they are separate companies.

  6. ALEC

    Correction: I found a plastic bag from Forever People. it was at No.35 Park Street.

  7. Ben

    Bristol was great for about a decade (1999-2009) for interesting shops. I loved Forever People used to go in there a lot during the late 1990s and early 2000s. Sadly it closed down about 2001 and the owners(s) opened up Collectors Choice in Gloucester on Southgate St (not far from the docks). Sadly this closed down around 2010.

    Forbidden Planet moved from Broadmead to it’s present location on the triangle when they were redoing Bristol in the mid 2000s. I preferred it’s original location. There was also Kathy’s Comics on the ground floor of the Galleries and the Traveling Man on Park Street but these closed down here ago. Bristol isn’t as good, glad I moved away.

    1. David Norman

      Thanks for the extra information, Ben, much appreciated. All of what you describe happened long after I was in the area, but it sounds like Bristol was quite a haven for comic books shops for a while.

  8. Steve

    I shopped at Forever People from the mid 80’s to the early 90’s. Had a Saturday job whilst still at school and this was the place I spent my wages in. Loved the layout with new Marvel and DC comics originally on spinner racks on the ground floor later moving to wall racks on the mezzanine. Back issues where in long boxes on the mezzanine with more upstairs on the first floor where you cold find all the back issue British comics from the Beano to Battle, and 2000AD.

    My only criticism was that they used price gun labels on the front cover of comics which would leave a dried gluey residue on the cover or worse rip the cover as you attempted to remove.

    I left Bristol to go to University and have lived all around the country buying from local comic shops but Forever People will always be a favorite.

    1. David Norman

      Thanks for sharing your memories, Steve; Forever People will always have a special place in my heart as well.

  9. Maddy E

    I used to haunt Forever People on Park Street in the last year or so of my degree (probably why I only got a 2:2), and dated Dave Brown for a while. He was one of the staff, and was responsible for getting me into D&D. Didn’t the shop move to Cheltenham Road in the 80s? I recall visiting when I worked at Wonderworld in Bournemouth.

  10. Paul Woolley

    I loved Forever People.
    When Decipher brought out their Star Wars CCG, FP let me price up a folder of my duplicate cards, and sold them on my behalf. So much better than Ebay!
    I’d go upstairs and the guy there would give me a little envelope of cash. Must have been around 1995. Very fond memories.

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