Apr ’18 – A Year In Orbit – Unearthly Science Fiction

Posted: April 12th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Rest, weary space traveller….

Can it really be a year since Agent Rob, Agent Johnny and Adam Smith watched Unearthly Science Fiction roar off into the night sky over Edinburgh never to be seen nor heard from again…?


And yet, just when Agent Rob had finally given up all hope he happened to receive a transmission from the lovely people at The Future Fire. It seems they had tuned their frequencies to ‘far out’ and successfully intercepted a communication from our lonely satellite somewhere over London in November 2017….

‘Steve Mason and ‘Olgur Zen’ by John G. Miller

‘Codename: Cosmos’ by John G. Miller and Rob Miller

….and boy did they like it! It’s hard to deny that sending an unmanned space mission out into the publishing universe is a long, lonely (and more or less) thankless task, so it was a real pleasure to read N.A. Jackson‘s in-depth review….

‘Maria 3’ by Rob Miller

“In some ways the fiction is all too earthly, collectively the stories evoke a grungy, malfunctioning world, disturbingly similar to our own in which the characters wrestle with the pointlessness of life or are consumed by ambition or bitterness.”

‘Splashdown one’ by Adam J. Smith

In particular Adam J. Smith‘s ‘Splashdown One‘ was singled out as “One of the most memorable pieces in the collection” while Ian Wark‘s ‘The Pod‘ was praised for being “one of the more resolved of the stories… benefitting from its length.”….

‘Agent X4 and The Deep Fix’ by John G. Miller

Furthermore, the “amazing illustrations”, successfully “evoking the luridly coloured science fiction mags of the sixties”, lead the reviewer to comment “It’s not often that illustrations complement fiction so well, but here they do and they help to give the magazine a unified look.”….

‘Planet Of The Jakey’ by Neil Beattie

The reviewer concludes that the collection is “an intelligent and irreverent glimpse into how humanity may grapple and grope its way onwards. In the conception of these authors, we may head for the stars but we’ll be taking along all the trappings of dysfunctional late capitalism.” 

‘Steve Mason and ‘Olgur Zen’ by John G. Miller

It’s great to see our wee book receive such a thoughtful and encouraging review, justifying Agent Rob and Adam J. Smith‘s early decision to intentionally go (if not, er, rub up somewhat) against Agent Johnny‘s (more traditional) grain – this collection couldn’t simply be another run through of well worn riffs on the favoured SF of our youth. True, it might have been a somewhat bumpy ride until we cleared the atmosphere, but a write-up like this made the frequent bends all very much worth it….

Anyone who fancies heading to the dark side of the moon with us can book a ticket >> here….

Jan ’18 – The Year Of Giving Dangerously

Posted: January 15th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: , , | No Comments »

What better way to help readers beat the January blues than to announce that (following on from Lulu‘s December discount) we here at Braw Books have decided to knock a whopping 15% off the RRP of all our available titles. Yep, if you head over here you can browse our superior comic bounty on offer for inferior comic prices….

This means that the Collected Works of John G. MillerDave Alexander and Pudsy can now be “yours to own on paper forever” – or somesuch outlandish claim that neglects to consider charity shops, ebay and the fact we’re all going to die at one point (and quite possibly at the same time, who knows) – at a fantastic knock me down with a feather price….

Aye, for near enough a tenner you can own some of the very finest comedy writing this country has ever produced…. writing that easily goes toe to toe with countless far more famous and celebrated (and rich!) Scottish novelists and comedians. And these guys can actually draw too – bonus….

Jan ’18 – UndergRound Up Of The Year

Posted: January 6th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

“Farewell and adieu, to you two thousand and seventeen, farewell and adieu, you seventeen and two thousand. For we’ve received orders for to sail back to Glasgog, and so never more shall we see you again”  (thank goodness….)

In the absence of a proposed series of December ‘UndergRound Ups of 2017’ – instead Agent Rob spent the Christmas holidays this year flat on his back negotiating ‘The Land Of The Lurgy’ – this behind the curve (lack of) effort’ll have to do, a half-arsed cobbling together of images assembled prior, together with hastily written text. Why, in a way it’s Braw Books very own Shada. And, being honest, there’s precious little “underground” actually on show here, it’s mostly just canny swimming in the mainstream, so please adjust your expectations accordingly….

If 2017 was to prove anything it was the certainty that Agent Rob is indeed a replicant as he failed to give anywhere near the correct emotional responses to the year’s celebrated blockblusters, remaining pretty much unmoved (for 2 hours plus!) by the likes of Blade Runner 2049Thor: Ragnarock and Star Wars: The Last Jedi whilst relishing the opportunity to catch erstwhile cult cinema classics Crime WaveYojimbo and Sanjuro on the big screen. Proof indeed that for all the amazing technology and megabudgets at the Hollywood machine’s disposal it don’t always add up to much (except in terms of bloated running time). Maybe they should check out Andrei Tarkoysky‘s Solaris or Stalker to see how it’s done….

The small screen fared a little better, with The Prisoner‘s first timer retro thrills, the irresistible Stranger Things and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency‘s “what’s actually going on here?” mindbends pushing all the panic buttons that (the wildly imaginative but curiously flat) Rick And Morty could not. I tried, y’know. I gave it a season and a half but simply no joy (aside from the standout Meeseeks And Destroy episode). Elsewhere Elizabeth Moss acted out of her skin – and often, let’s be honest, her clothes – in the relentless adult downer dramas of the year, (Over The) Top Of The Lake and The Handmaid’s Tale. And if anything was required viewing as an antidote to the political shitstorming of 2017 then the BBC’s The Vietnam War documentary proved it sure weren’t no different back then, no sir. It was also great to revisit the Manga phase of my youth, the fact that I watched the bulk of them on crappy res. Youtube videos only adding to the nostalgic 90’s VHS vibe. Similarly, The Horror Channel‘s uncanny ability to source grainy prints only helped further my appreciation of the Hammer and Amicus horror productions….

Of course, lying and sweating under the covers for a fortnight allows you to rest up and listen to the plethora of records you’ve amassed over the course of the year. Everyone who was anyone back in the heyday was back at it in 2017, with RIDE‘s Weather Diaries being a particular highlight amongst long awaited return fare from Slowdive, (Mansun’s) Paul DraperMichael Head & The Red Elastic Band and Thousand Yard Stare, as well as almost-as-long-awaited and still exceptional reissues/compilations from Lift To ExperienceBark Psychosis and Acetone. There was plenty of fresher fare to be found too, with Tonstartssbandht‘s Sorcerer heading up the top of that pile, likely sitting on top of new releases by MogwaiThe Horrors and The Charlatans….

Last year it was old school ambient archiving and this year it was old skool and underground hip hop records,  lps that were “slept on” if I’ve got my parlance – as cribbed from countless Youtube comments – correct, from the likes of MF DOOMEdanMasters Of Illusion and cLOUDDEAD. (Plus there was the sneaky bonus find of NAS‘s classic  Illmatic for 33p in a Partick charity shop!). Typing of clouds, there was plenty of aural bounty to be found on (Bandcamp via) Soundcloud, with the likes of (Scotland’s very own) Boobs of Doom and Fordell Research Unit as well as The Pink ElephantsVintage CucumberNatural Magic and Ma Holo providing somewhat more eclectic musical forays. Check ’em out….

Nice to see Love‘s Forever Changes and John Martyn‘s London Conversation clock up their respective half centuries while The Orb‘s majestic Blue RoomUFOrb and Assassin releases hit twenty five years young (and still, to this day, sound like the future we were promised but that was never realised). Hopefully this year we’ll get to blogging about the sheer majesty of The Orb, something I didn’t quite promise but equally never actually realised in 2017. Then again, maybe it was the sheer heartbreak of seeing them taking a straw to clumsily bludgeon Adventures Beyond The Ultraworld and Chill Out at their 25th anniversary show in 2016 that finally broke this loyal camel’s back….

The world of books belonged to Philip K. Dick, or course, with Galactic Pot Healer and Dr. Bloodmoney really hitting the spot (in several realities, I’m sure) this year. Though it was a shame that Channel 4’s much touted Electric Dreams fell way short of the mark. Not only did Black Mirror trounce it on all fronts, but seeing PKD‘s work stuck in sub-Blade Runner visuals and acted out in part with British accents – from his books the characters scream America, the settings all Californian sunshine and shabby denim – just felt completely off. Add to that the simple fact that his work just doesn’t really translate to film or television. Like J.G. Ballard – whose High-Rise was given a sort of “Carry On Up The Elevator Shaft!” adaptation in 2015 – it’s all about the canny exploration of the “inner space”. Still, bonus points for casting Steve Buscemi, probably the most PKD actor of all time, in one episode. But for sheer quality of writing it was hard to see past Something Wicked This Way Comes and Ray Bradbury‘s tight, highly evocative prose – if you’re lucky enough to read a modern edition there is an excellent afterword that is by turns inspiring, illuminating, electrifying and chilling….

The world of comics (as ever) belonged to Frank Quitely, but especially in 2017 what with his epic, career-spanning and jaw-dropping exhibition at Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Art Gallery. The opening night was a joy, comic creators from right across the spectrum turning out to see ‘the local boy done good’. Perfect timing too, considering Agent Rob was beginning to regard his singular, immense talent akin to wallpaper, having stared at page after page of Jupiter’s Legacy for hour after hour – finally here was chance to look at the work afresh (and be knocked out by his craft all over again)! At least it made this List, ahem….

Coming a very close second to King Quitely is Goran “Grand Master” Parlov, who returned on art duties with Punisher: The Platoon. His simple, Euro-stylings combined with a mastery of composition and ink tones makes it all look oh so easy. This guy could draw Punisher: The Phonebook and I’d still be queuing round the block for a copy! I haven’t been this tempted to pick up a pen and draw a comic since John Romita Jr‘s work on the original Kick-Ass….

Of course, by far the greatest thing we saw and heard and witnessed all year was when Mark Szaszy decided to share the video for Pusherman‘s 1996 single Chase It. There’s only a select few who gave these excellent 90’s heavy rockers a chance – think catchy Oasis-esque songs with Northern Soul-era Verve sonics, but harder and heavier than that pair combined – but they are far and away the great lost band of their day. This footage is absolute gold! These lads meant it, mannnn….

Sep ’16 – Comic Con Killed The Radio Star….

Posted: September 28th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: | No Comments »

“Mrs Peel we’re needed….” An interestin’ Sunday service indeed this weekend as Agent Rob wiz summoned by Auntie Beeb to take part in Good Morning Scotland – other comic personalities were (un)available! – and their timely discussion on all things Comic Con shaped, given the MCM Expo had taken over the nearby SECC fer 2 days of costumed japes and cape-like capers. Further up the corking billing was none other than Sylvester McCoy – Rob being careful not to mention that his stint as Doctor Who was last discussed in a positive light in Standard Grade French many moons ago – and none another than Bryan Cooney, the el supremo heid honcho at MCM (which we assume does not stand for Man-Crush Monday?) itself….

Of course, it was all too soon all over quick as a flash – but thankfully the wonders of modern technology mean you can still hear the words of wisdom (as well as Agent Rob make a strong start with his first response only to then repeat it in a far less comprehensible fashion on his second attempt) here. The Comic Con segment begins at 01:32:28. As Iain ‘And Then Emily Was Gone’ Laurie said on Twitter it was ‘unmissable’…. though that was perhaps a typo for ‘unlistenable’? Be quick – this link will self-destruct in 2419200 seconds!

As one’d expect following the programme it was time for a lengthy procession of fan photos and autographs, but Sylvester and Bryan gamely hung aboot until that had concluded fer a quick word with our cartoonist superstar, ho ho ho! Alas, they then had to dash for the bus just as our Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. was whisked away in an awaiting limo, his 15 minutes of fame duly up. Then again, given how nebulous some of the guests appearing at the likes of MCM are, don’t be surprised if Agent Rob appears next year billed as ‘7th Doctor assistant in short radio drama’ (autographs will be available providing you purchase a set of 4 Braw Books coasters, a steal at just £25)….

Jul ’16 – Comic Con Comedown….

Posted: July 7th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: , , | No Comments »

All for one (sale)! Just kidding, it was in fact a beautiful thing as the Glasgow Comic Con embraced its brand spanking new venue, the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, at the weekend. Indeed, if you could get past the fools behind the Braw Books table there was plenty gold to be found out front – where, at the very least, even our oldest rope was pretty new! A punter would have to be made of stone to resist, but we’re not begging you to agree…. okay, we’ll stop right there with the lame Stone Ro$£$ references. (Then again, who would pay 10 quid for a single sided 7″ with laughable lyrics and a krenko guitar solo when for a penny cheaper they could invest in The Collected Evil Wee Comics, something genuinely touched by the bright spark of Agent Johnny‘s relentless creativity and ceaseless commitment to his craft….). Still, it was nice to see our sales exceed our (very) modest expectations on the Saturday and Sunday, with all our books shifting a few copies to what turned out to be an inquisitive and patient crowd….

In fact, the whole weekend seemed a more grown-up affair across the board, with a similarly varied spread of creators from far and wide, all helping the Con to ‘transcend its origins’, elevating the mood from the (occasional) Glasgow Mart-gone-large feel of past years to something decidedly fresh, distinctly forward thinking and definitely conventionally convention-like, um…. “D’you take cards?” – that’s when you know you’ve made it (even if it potentially scuppers the accompanying purchase…. it didn’t though and the necessary cash was duly splashed on 2 hard earned (but suitably discounted) sales). With a few tweaks here and there the GRCH could easily become the perfect venue for years to come….

After Saturday’s action wrapped it was time to head along to the CCA for the SICBA awards where a typically humble Frank Quitely accepted the award for his ‘Outstanding Contribution to Comics’ – a page in the Khollected Khaki Shorts surely ‘swang’ it – and Sha Nazir – the BHP mainstay and modest mastermind of the past 6 years events – announced he was stepping down as chief organiser/overseer. #Shaxit….

Sunday saw ‘supersub’ A.J.Smith make a start from the bench to help out at the table, gamely assisting and keepin’ things real through those inevitable sabbath slumps, allowing Rob Miller to scout out and about, chat with some familiar faces and pick up some books – Sleeping Dogs, Moth to a Flame, Beast Wagon and the SICBA sweeping Never Ever After being particular prize catches….

As per last year it was Kounter Kultyur Kevn‘s job to thoroughly mystify at least one punter – a cheery youngster was attracted by the ‘leafy’ cover only to be put off the final purchase thanks to Rob Miller’s attempt to explain the ‘highbrow’ concept, evidently stretching things a plot point too far in the world of lazy and obvious dope comics….

Of course it was all over too soon, time for the GCC redshirts to gamely pack it all up for next year(?) before heading along to Slouch for the wrap party (and a welcome chance to chat with David Aja, Goran Parlov and Cameron Stewart about the ups of the Con and the lows of ‘the biz’) As ever big shout outs to the organisers at BHP, their happy and helpful team of volunteers, the venue, the punters, fellow puntees and friendly pundits…. Time to get your feet a seat. We’ll leave you with Manchester’s finest….

Jul ’16 – Comic Con Countdown….

Posted: June 28th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: , , | No Comments »

With the main event very nearly upon us we’re happy to announce the launch of ‘The Collected Evil Wee Comics‘ at this coming weekend’s Glasgow Comic Con. This nifty little A5 book contains a whopping 160 pages, gathering together John Miller‘s Secret Agent: Chronicles of Doom, Super Tales, Atomic Society of Justice #1 and Atomic Society of Justice #2: Evil Hollywood Over Subterrania comics.

Take it from us – Secret Agent, long out of print, is quite possibly the greatest one-shot (underground) comic book ever published, looking and reading like nothing else! In addition Rob Miller and Adam Smith have returned to their mid(dling)-period artistic contributions and suitably beefed up their pages to suit, making for a distinctly unique book and an essential underground comix classic….

Of course, Braw Books will be rolling out their usual red carpet roster of 15 (!) or so sterling titles for sale. Alongside Agent Johnny’s outstanding contribution to Scottish comics – “The ingredients may well seem familiar, but I’ve never encountered a personality quite like Miller’s in all my years of reading comics.” sez The Comics Journal no less! – we also have Dave Alexander, another absolute world class cartoonist, to thank for The Collected MacBam Brothers, 1983 – 2013. It’s like the history of Scottish underground comic goodness that actually delivers!

With supersubs Shug ’90 and Rob Miller on the bench it’s sure to be a great weekend. Keep yir eyes peeled for our towering ‘spacewoman’ – a beacon of insanity in (what could very well be) a sea of crappy fan art….

Comics made to last! Comics with soul….

Jun -15 – A Chronicle of Deadhead Fortold….

Posted: June 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: A Proper Blog | Tags: , , | No Comments »


Amazing! It only seems a matter of days since we blogged about the closure of Deadhead Comics and – like a Dark Phoenix saga from the ashes – it has risen again! Agent Rob visited on Monday, dropping off a substantial amount of beautiful Braw stock, some of which is available exclusively to DHC (for now). You can just about make out The John G. Miller Scrapbook dead centre as well as The Collected Rob Miller top left, while a somewhat startled but obviously thrilled Agent Austin proudly shows off copies of The Big Book of Pudsy and the (unstoppable won’t stop top-selling) Collected Mad Mentol MacBam Brothers….


As you can see the new shop looks just fantastic, acres of space with a cool, fresh, white finish! What a considerable bounce back to life – I’m sure this Agent wasn’t alone in thinking the days of the Deadhead were well and truly over – and a hearty congrats to Agent Austin and all his “Kru” is undeniably due. With more comics arriving every single day – the excellent and sizeable back issue selection is still filtering in longbox by longbox – it definitely looks like the unfinished finished article. Pop up to 30, West Nicolson St. to see what all the fuss is about. See this handy reboot of Graham Manley‘s groovy shop ad fer details….


However. In spite of being slap bang in the middle of Agent Johnny‘s patrol zone – Backbeat Records is 2 minutes up the road – there was no sign of Our Man from Pester Wails with the final 3 pages of The Atomic Society #2. As such Agent Rob returned to Glasgore empty handed, pretty much resigned to the fact that it looks like the release of Evil Hollywood will just have to wait until all things Comic Con Crunch are concluded. Phone reports the following morning suggest Agent Johnny has extended his deadline by 2 weeks(!?), almost making that a certainty. Ah well, it’s not like I’m a stranger to comics with protracted gestations…. Maybe next year….