While in Barcelona for a few days recently in order to celebrate my friend Mike's last fews days of singledom, I took some time out to try to track down some of the city's comic shops.
Unfortunately, due to a combination of poor research, a terrible free road map from the hotel foyer and the Spanish siesta, most of those I found were closed. The two I did stumble upon that were open were a revelation.
Both had copies of the Spanish edition of Strangehaven, published by Planeta DeAgostini, in stock and on the shelves. Both shops were clean, bright and well organised with both English language and Spanish language books - with strong emphasis on the graphic nove format. I have to say the quality and diversity of the stock in both stores far exceeded the average London comic book shop.
I asked Daniel Navarro, owner of Cosmic Comics (at Castillejos 272) whether his shop was the best in Barcelona.
"Ummm... I'd say it was in the top five," he explained in broken English, modestly.
Franco of the three adjacent Freaks stores in Ali Bei near the Arc de Triomf - one each for DVDs, art books and graphic novels - appeared to be aware of who I was and said that he often had people coming into the shop asking when the next Strangehaven was out.
Finally, I paid a short visit to Barcelona's FNAC in 'El Triangle', a multi-level bookstore with a huge selection of graphic novels. I couldn't find Strangehaven in there, but I did see a Spanish edition of Dez Skinn's Comic Art Now which of course features some of my work.
What a fine city - wonderful museums and galleries, unique architecture, a glitzty marina, fantastic shopping, bars and coffee shops, parks, a terrific beach, twenty minutes from the airport, fabulous weather and comic shops to die for. Just don't mention the football.