Updated: Monday, 19th August 2019 @ 10:17am

MM's Comic Con guide: The best geeky places to visit

MM's Comic Con guide: The best geeky places to visit

| By Tom Martin

Yep, it’s that time of year again.

Every July, as the sun bakes the streets and the summer pulls into high gear, thousands of geeks, nerds, cinephiles, cosplayers and pop-culture addicts flock to Manchester Central for the city’s Comic Con.

This weekend is going to be filled to the brim with special guest appearances from Marvel stars, exclusive signings with fandom legends, strange and unique merchandise, and so much more.

But that’s not to say that all the fun needs to be in the convention centre. Manchester has plenty of attractions for the discerning fan, and here are the five best for you to check out this week:

Forbidden Planet

Now, Forbidden Planet shops are a dime a dozen these days. There’s hardly a city centre without one, which certainly wasn’t the case a few years ago.

But Manchester’s is special. With the ground floor packed with collectables and action figures, it’s the perfect place to pick up merch the official vendors aren’t stocking this year.

As well as this, it’s also got a basement full of comic books and graphic novels, considered by many to be the best collection of both in the city. While you might not find too many bargains here, you’ll definitely find what you’re looking for.

Afflecks

If you’re new to the city, or you’ve never made it to Afflecks, you’re in for a treat. Legendary since the Eighties, it’s a Victorian warehouse converted into an indie darling.

Four floors of stock mean that there’s something for everyone, whether that be vintage clothing, vinyl records, cassette tapes, or stranger. While the entire place is worth a look, if you’re in town for Comic Con, you’ll want to head for Star Wars Man on the fourth floor.

Recently expanded to include rare comic books, his stall sells out-of-production action figures, POP! Vinyls, and models, many dating back to the 1970’s. While there’s no fixed stock list, there’s always something worth taking a look at.

Travelling Man

Just down the street from both of the previous entries is Travelling Man. Proudly independent, this shop is split between a small section of comic books, many of which come from indie publishers you won’t find in the convention hall, and an eclectic mix of board games.

There’s also a few wargames available, mostly Games Workshop’s Warhammer universes. One of the main attractions is the staff, who are all equally well-versed and helpful. If you can’t find something here, they’ll know where you will.  

FanBoy3

At first glance, this game store seems like any other you’d get in a city this size. But, there’s a little more to this one.

Regular sessions of wargaming, CCG’s, RPG’s and anything else nerdy you can think of take place here, with free tables for public use scattered throughout the shop.

A small coffee station and a well-stocked supply of soft drinks and snacks mean that you can easily spend the best part of the day playing against friends or strangers here, and if you’re really lucky, you might be able to test yourself in their tournament area downstairs.

Paramount Books

Paramount Books is one of the strangest bookshops in the North-West.

That’s not hyperbole. Before you see it, it’s already assaulting your senses, thanks to the deafening jazz they play from external speakers.

Inside, it’s like something out of Unseen University, with tottering bookshelves filled with ancient paperbacks and air that smells like old paper. One entire wall is filled with science fiction and fantasy, and the back room holds stacks of graphic novels and volumes on a century of film.

The owner is delightfully eccentric, only accepting cash and providing free fruit with purchases. Take the fruit. Trust me.

So, whatever part of Comic Con you’re here for, there’s something for you out on the streets of Manchester.

Better still, most of these are in the city’s famous Northern Quarter, so there’s no reason to not visit them all.

But, however you spend this weekend, we hope you have a wonderful time!

Image courtesy of MCM Comic Con via Twitter, with thanks.