Wednesday, 21 December 2016

#London Christmas Shopping No.36: Orbital Comics @orbitalcomics

Daily Constitutional editor Adam Scott-Goulding writes…

It's the annual London Christmas Shopping Guide from The Daily Constitutional!

This year I'll be including museum gift shops and markets for gift ideas. 

As well as gifts I'll be pointing you toward local London shops for the best in Christmas food and drink. Where relevant, I'll list the London Walks tour that finishes near the shop in question.

As usual, you can drop me a line with your own tips by emailing the usual address, by leaving a comment below or via Twitter.

A few last minutes bits!

Orbital Comics

I blogged about Orbital just the other day as part of my Cartoon & Comic Book London strand, as the UK's only Eisner Award* Winning comic book store and here they are again - it is NCBD** after all

(* The Eisner is the Oscar of the comic book world. ** NCBD stands for New Comic Book Day - every Wednesday.)

As discussed in the earlier post, graphic storytelling is now the stuff of the arts pages in the weekend review sections. And the gift I'd chose (if I hadn't already bought it myself – I couldn't wait!) illustrates exactly why the medium is now so respected.

The Fifth Beatle (Dark Horse Publishing) elevates the story of Brian Epstein, the manager of The Beatles, to the same legendary level as his four charges, for the very first time. It also takes the "gay subtext" (dread phrase) of Epstein's life story and puts it squarely at the centre of the narrative. Comics always excel when dealing with the outsider (again, see earlier post on Eisner's Fagin The Jew). I wonder if this is because they are written and drawn by outsiders and for a long time the books existed outside the mainstream of respectable literature. It will be interesting to see, now that comics are the mainstream, if they still attracts storytellers from the margins. But that's for another post…

The Fifth Beatle not only makes us look afresh at the biggest "bit part" in the story of The Fabs (great writing by Vivek J. Tiwary), but it's also beautiful to look at…

… in the handsome, elegant lines of Andrew C. Robinson (with Kyle Baker).

The two forewords are worth noting. Billy J Kramer (who had hits with Lennon & McCartney material in the 60s) writes touchingly of his "manager, mentor and friend". But it is ex-Stones svengali Andrew Loog Oldham who nails it (as he so often does, catch up with earlier ALO post HERE.)

"The Beatles changed our lives. Brian Epstein changed theirs."

A beautiful book in every way.


If the notion of "graphic storytelling" is a bit fancy pants for your blood, and if super heroes are not your bag, then ask yourself this: "When was the last time I read Peanuts?"

If the question alone gives you a warm glow that has been completely absent from the year 2016 so far, then get on down to Orbital and buy some Schultz. Buy one for yourself, and one for your nearest and dearest. Nothing says "I love you" like Peanuts.

Orbital is open 10:30 to 7pm (7.30pm Wednesdays and Thursdays), then on Christmas Eve it's 10:30 to 5pm, closed on the 25th & 26th for some reason (laziness, probably) then open again on Tuesday 27th 12 midday to 6pm. In the week after Christmas NCBD (see above!) is moved to Thursday 29th December when the shop will be open from 10.30pm to 7.30pm.

Find Orbital here…

Christmas 2016 With London Walks…

On Christmas Day there are TWO London Walks: 

Walk up an appetite with The Christmas Morning 1660 Walk – meet at 11:00a.m by the big tree in Trafalgar Square

Walk off the pudding with The Christmas Day Charles Dickens Walk – meet by the big tree in Trafalgar Square at 2:00pm

A London Walk costs £10 – £8 concession. To join a London Walk, simply meet your guide at the designated tube station at the appointed time. Details of all London Walks can be found at

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