…Frank Quitely and John McShane!
You all know Quitely and Glasgow readers will know John. He opened AKA Books and Comics back in 1984 (when I was 14) and I genuinely wouldn’t be working in comics if he didn’t. Just at the age I might have drifted off, especially as news-stand distribution was becoming shakier, he started the business and was a friend of a very nice English teacher at my school called Kevin O’Brien. Kevin told me about the place and I was hooked.
It was a tiny store in the Virginia Galleries at the time, before moving into the much more well-known spot next to Rat records and Obelist Books, run by an old guy called Russell with a fantastically bushy beard. The curio shops in here plus the brilliant cafe downstairs meant you could spend literally hours in there and I often spent my entire Saturdays in this place, just hanging around and talking comics. Once you were a serious regular you even got to hang around back-stage and this is how I met Frank Quitely, Grant Morrison, Gary Erskine (who worked part-time in the store) and all the Glasgow comics scene. It was a bunch of people who loved this stuff that nobody else knew anything about so everybody meeting was always exciting and a great laugh.
John moved on from the story 15 or more years back now, but I’ve always stayed in touch with him as he’s a terrifically funny guy and has great stories going back forever. His store had Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, Dave Sim, Will Eisner… anyone you could think of… doing signings.
A top crew to see this with tonight!