The first Forbidden Planet store: 23 Denmark Street, London WC2

I’m pleased to add this wonderful print advert to my collection. It’s a Forbidden Planet The Empire Strikes Back promotion inviting fans along to their original and first London store to welcome visits by Dave Prowse (Darth Vader) and Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), along with the hope of a surprise visit from one of the American cast.

UK. Starburst 22. 1980.

Forbidden Planet advert, Denmark St. Starburst. UK. 1980.

The advert’s style and graphics reminds me of an old-school boxing poster or a concert venue ad, while the ‘venue’ is proudly proclaimed as “London’s Newest Science Fiction and Comic Book Shop!”. The venue: located in London – number 23 Denmark Street – was Forbidden Planet’s first High Street store, and it opened all the way back in 1978.

The Brian Bolland connection

The 1978 print advert below is probably one of the first adverts for the Denmark Street store to be featured in a comic book. The artwork is by Brian Bolland, depicting an impressive lineup of famous comic book stars each trying to sneak a peek over Superman’s shoulders at what the Man of Steel is reading.

UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978.

Forbidden Planet early advert, Denmark St. From Star Wars Weekly. UK. 1978.

Due to its success and the demise of some of London’s older comic book outlets, Forbidden Planet grew up quickly and offered a broad product base, attracting fans of not just comics but also TV and film. A second store purchase (nearby in St. Giles High Street) was required to cope with popularity. Later, further location moves were necessary and the Denmark Street and St. Giles High Street stores eventually combined and moved to new premises.

Mail Order Catalogues

The following two adverts, with artwork by Brian Bolland, are both 1980 Denmark Street survivors. The first invites readers to send off for a catalogue of their choice from three categories: film & TV; science fiction & horror; and comics.

UK. Starburst 24. 1980.

Forbidden Planet advert, Denmark St. UK. Starburst 24. 1980.

UK. Starburst. 1980.

Forbidden Planet advert, Denmark St. UK. Starburst. 1980.

Denmark Street in 1983

This 1983 ad features a range of Return of the Jedi merchandise and a Star Trek 1984 calendar, available for order by sending a cheque or postal order to the Denmark Street address.

UK. Photoplay. July 1983.

Forbidden Planet advert, Denmark St. UK. Photoplay. July 1983.

The quarter-page adverts below all feature titles from 2000 AD.

UK. 2000 AD progs 317 / 318. 1983.

Forbidden Planet adverts, Denmark St. UK. 2000 AD progs 317 / 318. 1983.

UK. 2000 AD. 1983.

Forbidden Planet advert, Denmark St. UK. 2000 AD. Prog 315. 1983.

2000 AD and Judge Dredd badges.

Forbidden Planet advert, Denmark St. 2000 AD. Prog 333. 1983.

Forbidden Planet Bookshop small ad. Doctor Who Monthly N°78. 1983. UK.

Denmark Street in 1986

This superb colour ad (recognise Bolland’s work again?) mentions both the Denmark Street and St. Giles Street shops. The former is credited as ‘The science fiction and comic book shop’ while the latter is credited as ‘The cinema and television shop’. The advert also appears as a variation in 1984 showing alternative merchandise pictures to the later version below.

UK. 2000 AD's Dice Man #1. 1986.

Forbidden Planet advert. UK. 2000 AD’s Dice Man #1. 1986.

Denmark Street in 1987

Forbidden Planet 2000 ad scifispecial 1987 post

Forbidden Planet advert, Denmark St. 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special. 1987.

Denmark Street in a comic strip!

23 Denmark Street the shop actually makes a surprise appearance in the 1987 photo story Nemesis The Warlock published in 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special, 1987.

Forbidden Planet. Nemesis the Warlock photo strip. 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special. 1987.

I mean, it’s got to be it, hasn’t it? Forbidden Planet logo on the window, 23 on the door…

23 Denmark Street.

Denmark Street in 1988

Here we can see the appearance of other branches outside of London: Milton Keynes, Brighton and Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

Forbidden Planet advert. UK. 2000 AD Sci-Fi Special. 1988.

Forbidden Planet Today

The company eventually split into two entities: Forbidden Planet and Forbidden Planet Scotland (later renamed Forbidden Planet International). To date they have some thirty stores between them situated all across the UK including well-known associate stores such as Nostalgia and Comics in Birmingham and Liverpool’s Worlds Apart, along with a US store in Manhattan, New York. Forbidden Planet also offers an established webstore and online presence. Not bad for its humble beginnings as a small high street comic store on Denmark Street, WC2.

Forbidden Planet 40th anniversary 1978 – 2018

I picked up this rather cool souvenir magazine at the FP store in Birmingham, England on a recent visit. So pleasing to see some of the Brian Bolland original artwork used to commemorate their big 40. Congrats FP, and here’s to another 40!

Cover. Forbidden Planet 40th anniversary magazine. 1978 – 2018. UK. Artwork by Brian Bolland.

Post updated with new images Sept 2018.


Micronauts was the North American rebranding of the Japanese line of Microman toys released by Takara. Mego handled the license in the US, while in the UK it was the companies Airfix and Lion Rock. Airfix also handled the license for the German market. You can read more Micronauts info here by Ron Pringle.

UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978.

Advert for the Micronauts comic series. UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978.

UK. Star Wars Weekly N° 1. 1978.

Airfix Micronauts advert. UK. Star Wars Weekly. 1978.

Airfix Micronauts advert. Germany. 1978.

Airfix Micronauts advert. Germany. 1978.

Comics From Around The World: The Beano

The Beano, a UK comic created in 1938, was one of my favourites as a kid. Here is a 1988 issue featuring Dennis the Menace and Gnasher on the cover.

UK. The Beano 2422. 1988.

UK. The Beano 2422. 1988.


The Beano Calendar

This advert contained the order form to order the following year’s Beano calendar.

UK. The Beano 2422. 1988.

UK. The Beano 2422. 1988.


Dennis the Menace Fan Club

This advert is for the Dennis Menace Fan Club. As well as the chance to win prizes, club membership included badges, membership card, club secrets and a wallet.

UK. The Beano 2422. 1988.

UK. The Beano 2422. 1988.


Find out more about The Beano:

Official site


Hot Wheels toys in my Banania cornflakes

France. Pif Gadget 869. 1985.

Banania Hot Wheels promotion. France. Pif Gadget 869. 1985.

Of course, In 1985, they didn’t really put die cast toy vehicles inside the boxes of Banania cornflakes (not that it wasn’t uncommon back then to find cool toys inside boxes, but rarely metal toys that would add significant weight to the box). So, no car in my cornflakes? But this was still an excellent opportunity to grab one of 20 sets of 126 vehicles! In addition there were 1000 other prizes to be grabbed. To be in with the chance to win you had to answer a question and then cut-out and send off the slip on the bottom of the advert.

Controversial Banania

The advertising images for Banania featuring the smiling Senegalise soldier – and in particular the slogan “y’ a bon” (Pidgen French: “that’s good”) has come under scrutiny by those accusing the brand of racism or colonialism.

Scan of a reproduction tin plate advert from the 1930s. These reproduction ads are popular throughout France.

Scan of a reproduction Banania tin plate advert from the 1930s. Reproduction ads of this era are popular throughout France. They are easily found in stores, street markets, tourist shops, even finding their way to flea markets as second-hand items.

The slogan, “y’ a bon”, which had been used since 1915, was finally scrapped in 2011 from all subsequent products and advertising. The image of the Senegalise soldier is still used but more in a comic / cartoon style. This change of style can perhaps be first seen in the 1985 Hot Wheels advert at the beginning of the post, with the soldier’s head morphed into the font of the letter ‘B’.

I’ve included below another advert from 1985 to illustrate this –  this time for a He-Man and Masters of the Universe promotion which is pretty much the same as the Hotwheels promo.

Banania He-Man MOTU promotion. France. Pif Gadget. 1985.

Banania money box van. France. 2017. From the collection of TVTA.

Banania in Space

You can see the presence of the “y’ a bon” logo in this 1960 advert from Lissette comic. In this promotion you had to collect 16 points from Banania products then send them off along with 6 postage stamps to receive your space play-set and characters.

France. Lissette N° 46. 1960.

Banania space promotion. France. Lissette N° 46. 1960.

Read more of the history of Banania here:

Official Banania website

Banania Wikipedia (French)

Banania Wikipedia (English)