Apr ’17 – A Chronicle Of Doom….

Posted: April 14th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

“Your mission, should you choose to accept it….” And of course they did, Agent Rob and Adam J. Smith gamely heading through to Ice Station Zebra on ‘Wodens’day’ ‘dafternoon’ ‘fer to visit’ Agent Johnny ahead of the evening’s Event Horizon and the much anticipated opportunity to finally launch Unearthly Science Fiction. The day didn’t necessarily get off to the greatest of starts when Agent Rob reminded Adam of Agent Johnny‘s (as close a brush with actual fame and recognition as he was going to ever come) “lost interview” from a few years ago, a proposed piece by (Seattle’s) Gavin Lees fer The Comic Journal that wiz nixed (well, ‘nicked’ actually) at the last minute by, um, your friendly neighbourhood baggage handlers at the airport who made off with the equipment containing the day’s audio recordings and photographs. This kinda thing never happens to James Bond, y’know….

Not that it took much time for the trio to warm up at Ice Station as the swill was quickly cranked open – tho Adam Smith, with one eye on his later performance, decided to abstain, preferring instead ter swig from his carefully prepared flask of tea – and the ‘music box’ wiz ‘mugdocked’ ‘fer to amplify’ the acoustic sounds of a certain Bobby Zimmerman. Contented chuntering ensued, the recent repeats of The Avengers, Mission Impossible and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. – all keeping Agent Johnny glued to the One-Eyed-God – and the usual topic of Philip K. Dick were covered in some detail. With the hours flown by it was soon time to board the bus and head fer Deadhead Comics to catch Agent Austin before the the Event Horizon finally loomed into view, swallowing our intrepid Agents whole….

Shoreline Of Infinity #7 – cover by Steve Pickering

With around 30 people gathered in the basement of The Banshee Labyrinth, the ‘Two-minute warning’ was announced. First up was the Glasgow rap duo Futurology – if Agent Johnny had a hard time getting his head around The Orb‘s Blue Room then who knows whit the hell he made of this! – before Jonathan Whiteside read Terry Jackman‘s short story Anyone Can ask About Enhancement’ (from the newest Shoreline Of Infinity, #7) and finally Rachel Plummer‘s witty poetry rounded off ‘Side One’….

‘Side Two’ got off to a flying start as Shirley Muir read some ‘exceedingly humourous’ short tales, after which it was time for Adam Smith ter take to the stage and give a spirited rendition of Jed Hale, Arizona Sheriff fer the assembled crowd. Not only did this hilarious performance underline the sheer abstract genius of John Miller‘s scripting and creative abilities but, thanks to Adam‘s highly skilled manic utterances, won a generous round of applause from the audience….

Braw McConnaissance imminent…?

Of course, you cannot feed a comic artist on claps alone so it’ll come as no surprise that in the later bustle to leave – following another intense set from Futurology – a solitary copy of Unearthly Science Fiction limped from the launch pad…. At this point Agent Rob really ought to be inserting a photo of Smith hard at work but thanks to a mixture of anticipation, excitement and just too many microphones no such record of the event exists. And so the lost nature of this endeavour brings us full circle, much like this shot of the miniature moon snapped back in Glasgog – Ice Station Lima is one of the tiny shining lights on the bottom right….

Sounds: Live 1966, “The Royal Albert Hall Concert” by Bob DylanTwo From The Vault by Grateful Dead….

Mar ’17 – A Chronicle Of Doom….

Posted: March 10th, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

Agent Rob wasn’t the only thing to make a triumphant return to Ice Station Zebra yesterday, as at last ‘The Archives Of Doom’ (rekkids, books, papers, comics, tbps. etc) have been reinstated! Well, assuming reinstated means hastily dumping a shitload of heavy boxes haphazardly in and aboot the hall and not even bothering yir bahookie to help Wir Man In Pester Wails put his stuff back in the order of chaos. Thankfully Agent Rob (AKA ‘Mr Puniverse’) put his back in (and perhaps out) to it and heaved the mighty boxes around sufficiently enough to restore slow shipping lanes fer to satisfactorily accommodate Agent Johnny‘s increasingly wide berth….

During all this ‘back in action traction’ our Agent wiz sat contentedly ‘wrapping up’ a(nother) Fireball XL5 short story, so the swilling took something of a back seat until such a time as that task wiz concluded (taking longer than expected as wir Agent was continually gigglin’ to himself). This bizarre 6-pager, titled ‘The Last Colonizers’ wiz soon joined by a 2-pager (produced from ‘The Drawers Of Doom’) known as ‘A Welter Of Gore’. It’s unsure as to whether Agent Johnny expects Agent Rob to jam these into the ‘long-time-printed-yet-not-yet-released’ Unearthly Science Fiction anthology – perhaps this signals the beginning of Issue #2…?

Long time readers of this blog will know what happened next, the ‘music box’ – updated ter add something of a new soundtrack ter the proceedings – wiz mugdocked and the swill was cranked duly open! As well as Agent Johnny brandishing his 2 completed stories Agent Rob wiz also treated to a rough fer old Lanark pal Ron Harris ‘fer to draw’, a ‘leery space comic’ to do with the planet ‘Polaris’. Glasgog’s Calderpark Zoo wiz the source of much contented chuntering, with Philip K. Dick and Robert Silverberg muscling in on proceedings too (where wiz their combined might when ‘hing’s needed shifting?)….

No doubt that great excitement wiz generated by the news that from Monday the 13th March the True Entertainment Channel will be repeating the seldom-seen-super-cult-favourite The Prisoner, something that has even jolted Agent Rob out of his increasingly jaded and apathetic reverie. Of course, the 9-11 ‘pee-emm’ timeslot time means Agent Johnny will have to rapidly reset his counter-clock world – if just fer the 2 weeks it’ll take ‘fer to show’ all 17 episodes – ter be able to catch this. Here’s to raising a glass to daytime repeats thereafter. Unfortunately Our Agents tuned in to Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers on ‘Fillum Four’ too late  – another abject failure of timekeeping – and Agent Rob had to slip oot ‘fer to catch’ the bus into town during the adverts. Following a quick Rumble pick up at Deadhead Comics Rob then concluded his awayday by meeting New British Comics Karol Wisniewski (‘veesh-nyev-ski’, pronunciation fans) for a final swill before being crated and shipped back to Glasgog….

Sounds: Live 1966, “The Royal Albert Hall Concert” by Bob DylanTime Of Ye Life/Born For Nothing/Paranoid Arm Of Narcoleptic Empire by Crippled Black Phoenix (a Hope Street Studios ‘Day In The Attic’ classic): Flood Bank by The Lines and Obscured By Clouds by Pink Floyd (and about an hour’s worth of Tartan Techno at full blast from the defk*nt through the wall)….

Visions: Earth Vs. The Flying Saucers….

Feb ’17 – A Chronicle Of Doom….

Posted: February 1st, 2017 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

A Happy New Year visit to Ice Station Zebra on ‘Woden’sday’ of last week to find Agent Johnny still basking in the warm glow of his jolly good, R for “Roger” mental state. It was braw business as usual, Our Man In Pester Wails ambling around the flat somewhat bemused until Agent Rob – seemingly free of the melancholy streak that has permeated his most recent activity/posts – wrapped his various ‘chores’, unwrapped wir man’s new DAB Digital Radio and duly settled himself into the blue chair. With nothing worth watching on the ‘one-eyed-god’ (for once!) our Agents simply ‘docked’ the ‘music box’ in its amplifying mug and tucked into the considerable surplus of swill, their destination of worship (as ever) The Shrine Auditorium of August 1968….

Again, much contented chuntering ensued, Agent Rob going on at some length (in an attempt) to describe the process by which the Two From The Vault CDs had been restored from the original recordings, and Agent Johnny talking of his 3 week stint in the 1980’s as a ‘Disc Jockey’ fer Radio Free Cleghorn and his auld pal (now a big chief reporter at the Lanark GazetteRon Harris. James Bond wiz back ‘on topic’ too, both Agents recalling their (separate) visits to the cinema to catch some ‘Double O Action’ on ze big screen. Little was said about ‘The Comic Artist Who Stood Still‘ though, both our Agents knowing down in the depths that loose lips sink comic pages you can’t be bothered drawin’….

As with everything (home) time waits fer no man and, having subjected a slightly stewed Johnny to his first ever (decidedly non-entry-level) experience of The Orb, Agent Rob set aside the incredibly impressive The Deadly Hands Of Kung-Fu Omnibus, resting his weary arms and rousing his weary legs fer the trip into town. Within the hour – well, via a diversion to the rather excellent Transreal Fiction in Candlemaker Row (sob!) – Rob wiz in the capable newly yearly shaken and always nearly shakin’ hands of Agent Austin, the pair of them shutting up shop quick as and retiring to Sandy Bells fer a couple of New Year nips (of Whiskey!)….

Sounds: Two From The Vault by Grateful Dead: Memory Span by The Lines: Towers Of Dub (Ambient Mix) and Blue Room (Ambient At Mark Angelo’s Mix) by The Orb….

The Orb – Blue Room. Oh flip! Who knows whit Agent Johnny Made o’ this…!

Dec ’16 – A Chronicle Of Doom….

Posted: December 22nd, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

Last visit of the year to Ice Station Zebra (or should that be ‘Nice Station Zebra’, as it was decidedly cosy following on from the spanking new ‘heating wurks’?) to see Agent Johnny before ‘X-Mass’ (for the X-Men). Still no sign of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Archives being returned from deep storage however – presumably they’ve been removed ter a secure Government facility fer further analysis – but that certainly wasn’t causing Our Man In Pester Wails to lose any sleep…. er, judging by his bleary ‘bedhead’ when he (finally) answered the [CENSORED] door. One clipping of his toenails later (some things you just can’t unsee) and the swill wiz good ter go! With the ‘one-eyed-god’ restin’ up – having evidently seen more than enough front line action last week – there wiz nothing for our Agents to do but to krank open the swill and transport themselves back to August 1968 via Two From The Vault. (Truth be told, the Christmas TV schedules have seriously muscled in on Agent Johnny’s daytime fillum action.)….

It was in the middle of this afternoon of contented chuntering – Johnny wiz on especially great form, explaining at one point the beginnings of his Radio Free Cleghorn comic strip – that it suddenly struck Agent Rob how very strange this situation is. He found himself thinking, as Agent Johnny popped to Shunker 5 for the ‘unexpected bonus’ of a ‘Perry White’, how he’s actually sitting in the front room of one of the world’s very last genuine Underground/Outsider comic artists – nothing contrived or artificial here, just a strangely pure trajectory followed unselfconsciously – looking round at all the posters, postcards and flyers pinned to the wall, all the surrounding years of accumulated books, comics, tpbs, magazines and records, this quite fascinating mind that has, over a lifetime, made sense and shaped everything around into an outward extension of itself….

How did that happen, these unlikely paths crossing over 10 years ago? Life. So this is life, all our little lives, our homes, the people and things you can reach out and touch as you pass through. That’s all we are and, unless you become that mad person ranting in the street (Agent Rob, next year), it’s as much as you can realistically expect and affect in this day and age, sending light out into the darkness. So Agent Rob – who quite often seriously pre-dreads these visits, never quite knowing what Agent Johnny he’s going to get and in what exact state – relaxed for once and cherished the moment, knowing it, knowing like all the others, it will soon vanish into the nothing of memory. Keep these things close and remember them fondly when the bombs start to fall. Dark Star crashing….

Or maybe Agent Rob wiz dreaming, both our Agents drifting off to sleep as the daylight dwindled, the room temperature having reached peak ‘auld man dozing’. Rousing himself around 4 o’clock it wiz the final hour fer Rob to take his leave from the front and head into town and pitch up at Deadhead Comics. A few pints later (and at least a half bottle of port earlier to help Agent Austin‘s Christmas spirits) and the time had come to spill out into the darkness and attempt to negotiate the impending holidays confusion at Waverley Railway Station while stewed somewhat silly. I’ll leave you with Deadhead’s Christmas message, “stop sending f*cking video links to my f*cking phone!”….

Sounds: Two From The Vault by Grateful Dead: Memory Span by The Lines: Kuff Dam and Tart Tart by Happy Mondays: Sea Within A Sea by The Horrors and the concluding tracks of Blows Agianst The Empire by Paul Kantner, Grace Slick & Jefferson Starship….

Nov ’16 – A Chronicle Of Doom….

Posted: November 19th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

The Lady From Shanghai vs. The (a)Gent From Edinburgh…. ‘Thor’sday’ saw Agent Rob make a (cold) snap-enough decision to visit Agent Johnny only to be surprised by a somewhat sparser than expected Ice Station – about 25% of the S.H.I.E.L.D. Archives have been removed and put into storage to allow essential ‘heating wurks’ to be carried out – and a very chatty John G. (which, considering Agent Rob wiz unable to find More4+1 on Freeview, meant he’d blundered in a good 40 minutes into The Lady From Shanghai). Our Man In Pester Wails was, however, unperturbed by this interruption – seems he’d been too busy readin’ The Shadow and had in fact missed the beginning of the fillium himself – and was quite happy to chunter contentedly over the top of the final hour and twenty minutes….

Naturally the swill was ‘kranked’ open immediately upon arrival and, having watched the concluding ten minutes of Aces High efter wur Lady it wiz decided the ‘one-eyed-god’ be laid to rest fer the duration of the afternoon, calling upon Agent Rob’s ‘music box’ ter soundtrack the ever-dwindling of time…. The unfortunate passing of Robert Vaughn (“oh, f*ck”) – though perhaps this will see a welcome return of The Man From U.N.C.L.E. to our ‘tell-aye’ screens – the writings of Brian Aldiss and Cordwainer Smith and The Avengers (UK) and their featuring in a vintage T.V. Comic Annual  – Our Man had two recently purchased editions – were all topics fer discussion. But these dead couldn’t stay grateful forever, and soon it wiz time fer Agent Rob to gulp down his third pint and depart fer the city to see Agent Austin, where he wiz pretty sure there was a copy of Alec: The Years Have Pants awaitin’ at Deadhead Comics….

Sights: The Lady From Shanghai….

Sounds: Blows Against The Empire by Paul Kantner, Grace Slick and Jefferson Starship: Memory Span by The Lines: Sea Within A Sea by The Horrors and Good Morning Little Schoolgirl and Dark Star (Two from Two From The Vault) by Grateful Dead….

Oct ’16 – A Chronicle Of Doom….

Posted: October 28th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

Hail Woden’sday! For it was then that Agent Rob descended on a very tidy Ice Station Zebra, soldiering gamely on thru Agent Johnny‘s somewhat frosty reception, banishing the silent treatment by softening him up with swill…. It was S.H.I.E.L.D business as usual – one repair of the ‘rekkid player’ (it’s now decidedly defunct but coupled with a new-ish amp the tape machine struggles ever on) and several audio tapes (and their accompanying ‘electronic pulses’) later it wiz time to gather round the ‘One-eyed-god’ fer to watch ‘The Invaders’. Quite a corkin’ series 2 episode this, ‘The Life Seekers’….

A large chunk of the conversation was (understandably) given over to the (soon-to-be-announced) ‘Unearthly Science Fiction‘ anthology, the dummy having been submitted to Agent Johnny ‘fer approval’ last ‘Saturnday’. With only a few minor suggestions from Our Man in Pester Wails it wiz then time to hit the road and head fer Deadhead Comics ter grab a quick beer with Agent Austin before the return to Glasgog beckoned….

Sights: The Invaders, ‘The Life Seekers’

Sounds: Some Friendly (109 pt.2, Polar Bear & Believe You Me) by The Charlatans: A Saucerful Of Secrets by Pink Floyd: New World’s Fair by Micheal Moorcock & The Deep Fix: Flying Doesn’t Help by Anthony More….

Sep ’16 – A Chronicle of Doom….

Posted: September 13th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

Agent Johnny in the area! Tokyo Joe in the area! Quite a special ‘Freya’sday’ last week as this Lanark Grammar duo descended on Glasgog to meet up with Agent Rob. The purpose of the visit was strictly pleasure of course! After a leisurely sit down and a cuppa ‘earl-eye’ in the morning at Hope Street Studios it was soon time to pack up our troubles and head along to The Mono Pub (as Our Man in Pester Wails refers to it) fer a ‘view to a swill’. There much contented chuntering, including talk of Japanese hurricanes and radioactivity, ensued….

Sounds: Two From The Vault (Disc 1) by Grateful Dead & Ummagumma (Disc 1) by Pink Floyd….

Aug ’16 – A Chronicle of Doom….

Posted: August 12th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

Just in time to see what the butler saw on Wodin’sday! Yep, Agent Rob pitched up at Ice Station on the dot at ‘high noon’ just as The Avengers was starting on True Entertainment – which maybe explains Agent Johnny’s initial, somewhat disgruntled, ‘wall of silence’ greeting – but quickly settled down in ‘ze smoking room’ to enjoy a steady swill in the presence of its superb sixties silliness. Our Man in Pester Wails did cheer up a bit when presented with his Agent X4 & The Deep Fix manuscript fer checking over….

As soon this was concluded Agent Rob was then tasked with hunting fer a suitable fillum ter, um, fill the afternoon’s viewing. And so it was that Movies4Men were screening the Howard Hawks 1952 Western, The Big Sky (quite the epic adventure up the Missouri River!). Still, it allowed fer ‘the big swill’ to continue with plenty of time fer blethering during the adverts….

‘The big news’ is obviously that the cover fer Unearthly Science Fiction is now finished and safely back in Glasgog to undergo ‘brawduction duties’ fer printing. Still a fair bit to go with this much-mooted anthology, so don’t expect any previews until such a time as it’s definitely heading fer the press. Better still, pencillin’ has begun on the final page of Agent of S.M.E.R.S.H…! This revelation prompted much discussion on the bus into town, destination Deadhead….

July ’16 – A Chronicle of Doom….

Posted: July 8th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: John G. Miller | Tags: , | No Comments »

A (safe) cracking – if somewhat very last-minute – expedition to Ice Station on Wodin’sday to see Agent Johnny. When Agent Rob pitched up at ‘high noon’ ‘Our Man in Pester Wails’ was already settlin’ doon to the day’s episode of The Avengers (an interestin’ tale, ‘Homicide and Old Lace’, penned by Dr. Who stalwarts Malcolm Hulke and Terrance Dicks and overseen by Terry Nation). The swill was duly ‘cranked’ open and, before things got too ‘bonga bonga’, a new stylus wiz fitted to the (currently defunct) ‘rekkid playa’. Amazing what ye can do with a bit of Blu-Tack when all else fails….

And so it fell to the ‘music box’ to keep things swingin’ as our Agents chuntered contentedly about the recent Glasgow Comic Con as well as the proposed Unearthly Science Fiction and Agent of SMERSH projects (neither of which is any nearer to actual completion – maybe they’ll be ready for next year?). Then, just as the batteries went ‘dud’, it was suddenly time fer Agent Rob to head on into Deadhead Comics to see Agent Austin – admittedly in no’ bad shape for a man who’s evidently been ‘giving his all’ to support Wales in their epic Euro 2016 run. Hard to imagine the state he must have found himself in on Thor’sday morning tho….

Sights: The Avengers, ‘Homicide and Old Lace’

Sounds: Memory Span by The Lines: Two From The Vault by Grateful Dead….

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….