I loved living in Bristol, and regardless of what went on in my life I knew that Forbidden Planet (the better of the two Forbidden Planets that exist on High Street, UK) on Clifton Triangle would help ease me back into the comic addiction. I explained earlier that these guys held my Pull List for years, however back issues is not something FP likes to do.
Indeed buying any back issues in Bristol is surprisingly quite tough and you really need a car to do it. This is what I was able to accomplish upon my visit there.
Area 51 is a seriously odd shop. It's miles away from the city centre on the Gloucester Road, halfway to Filton. It is odd, in my mind, because it gives the impression that it used to sell a lot of comic books once, but has now conceded that it's real business is now selling RPG stuff. It also gives off quite a retro-feel, about the place. Whether it be the dank smells, crap carpets and the poor lighting, Area 51 probably still makes a living selling comic books but it is definitely something that they did better, before Forbidden Planet took over Bristol. Fortunately, they still do stock a reasonable number of new-ish back issues, many of them I needed to complete the Batman Quest, so it was worth the visit.
The second comic book shop is actually in the city centre and is not far from Forbidden Planet and that is Excelsior Comics. If there is one business that I hope that succeeds (and thrives) through the recession it is this shop. Set up by the old manager of Forbidden Planet nearly two years ago, this store sits smack-bang in Bristol's shopping heartland in Broadmead, and it is up there with what I think a new comic retailer should try to be in this decade: lovely retail environment, lots of new cool stock, a load of hard-core regulars hanging about and, critical for me, loads of reasonably priced back issues. This place is determined to take as much business as possible from Forbidden Planet which is incredibly brave, but after speaking with the owner when I visited it the first time, I am convinced that he has the managerial and entrepreneurial skills to pull it off.
Seriously, if I hadn't loved the service that FP gave me, then I'm absolutely convinced that these guys would've had my business (and check out their cool website), so good luck to them.
Anyway, back to the Quest... Well, Area 51 and Excelsior helped me out loads, especially in the world of Azrael and Catwoman, and it they didn't cost me the earth. And that was the Bristol comic binge done and dusted.
I suppose, I'm forced into internet shopping now for a bit!