Neil Craig, the owner of Glasgow’s first SF/Comic shop, has passed away

I’ve been holding out on doing this blog til I got confirmation, but Neil Craig, the owner of Futureshock in Glasgow has passed away. As I’m in Bristol I often get second or third hand gossip about what’s going on in Glasgow but several reliable sources have confirmed it and checking online, there’s also this post from Mark Millar confirming it.

futureshock

I’ve posted about Neil before and how when the shop opened (as Photon Books) he was in a partnership with Bob Shaw, and that after that business partnership broke up Neil and Bob went their separate ways with Neil remaining at the shop at 200 Woodlands Road. His death seems to have been incredibly sudden as Futureshock’s website was updated on the 24th June and Neil died in early July, and frankly I was always amazed the shop managed to stay open for so long and judging by the reviews online, it seems some newer readers of comics were offput by the state Neil kept the shop in. Last time I was in it was around 15 years ago and I recognised stock which hadn’t moved since the late 80’s judging by the lairs of dust. Last time I past the shop four years ago in a taxi, it looked dark and miserable but Neil seemed happy to keep the shop that way, plus it seems he was able to run a business out of that chaos.

This however was always the way of Neil, and Futureshock was always a mess in all it’s nearly 25 years of existence. It’s one of the many reasons Neil and Bob went their separate ways but for those of us back in the day struggling to get our new comics, it was Glasgow’s first SF/comic shop and it did focus a lot of Glasgow’s fandom in one place. There’s a place in the history of British and Scottish fandom for Neil (and Bob Shaw too) but Neil never really got the credit he probably should have, even if others did develop Glasgow fandom more, Neil was one of the ones who gave an outlet for those of us scattered across the city.

Yes, he was an odd figure and in recent years seemed to be all over the place politically as seen at his blog, including a support for UKIP! That shouldn’t be what he’s remembered for. Remember him helping start something in Scottish comics/SF fandom that’s exploded to what it is today.

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15 thoughts on “Neil Craig, the owner of Glasgow’s first SF/Comic shop, has passed away

  1. I only found out about Neil’s passing last week when Wee John told me and, oddly for him, he had only found out recently. I thought it rather touching when John said he had passed the shop on the bus and it looked just the same and waiting for someone to open up and switch on the lights.
    Neil was there before the rest of us. He turned up at some Glasgow marts, the most recent appearance being at QM at the Uni.a year or two ago. You’re correct, Neil didn’t get the acknowledgement he should have.
    RE. his politics, he occasionally had letters published in the Herald, but the UKIP bit is news to me.
    All very sad. Another one gone.

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  2. That’s the thing Steve, he (and Bob Shaw) were the first in Glasgow. In every verbal or written history of Glasgow’s comic scene they’re written out of it, and that’s wrong.

    As for the UKIP stuff, it’s really quite odd and just a wee bit mental to be honest. That’s why I didn’t go into detail about it.

    But yeah, it’s a massive pity for someone to go so relatively young.

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  3. hello. mark smith here, editor of obituaries at The Herald. I think we should publish an obituary of Neil or an appreciation by a friend, given the status of the shop for so many years. Do you know of a friend or relative who might be interested in helping with that? my email is m.smith@theherald.co.uk, 07971 862 193, thanks, mark

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  4. Hi Mark, I don’t know if Neil had any relatives, though I believe he was married at one point. You’re welcome to use my blog as a source for the obit as long as there’s a credit.

    I will ask and see if anyone knows a friend or relative of Neil, and thanks for taking notice.

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  5. Neil did seem a little odd, but then again, we’re all odd to someone. I passed the shop only last week (Dec 2014) and it still looks as if it’s waiting for Neil to turn up and switch on the lights. It was very claustrophobic, with hardly room to turn around, and the faded stock in the window was hardly inviting – but it’s strange (and sad) to think that he’s no longer here.

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  6. Hi Glenn. I frequently pass this shop and can’t recall the last time I saw it open. I’ve been researching Future Shock the past day or two and am really keen to find out whether it will open again, ever, after the unfortunate news.
    Do you know who’s hands it has fallen into now? Or if there are any contact details?

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  7. Hi Ralph, I’ve no idea and I have done as much subtle poking around as I can do here in Bristol. A friend of a friend back home has asked but to no joy.

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  8. i just found out today over a year on and im in shock i kinda stopped going to these comic stores with ebay and that and i remember big Neil well lovely big guy used to go their all the time back in late 90s up to early 2000s and used to have a chat with him and he was great at finding things i wanted a lot of PPL didn’t like big Neil saying he was strange i felt he was shy and once you knew him he was a lovely person really going to miss him RIP Neil

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  9. Neil was a character. I’d not seen him since doing a con in Glasgow around 94, and I’ve not been near that part of the city in much longer, but he was forgotten by many in not just Glasgow, but in terms of the UK comics scene as that shop was (and I need to double check this) the longest run independently own comic shop in the UK.

    I was considering doing a follow up piece, but I’ve stuck it on hold til I move back to Glasgow (which is going to be very odd after several decades) in February/March.

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  11. I visited his Woodlands Road shop many times through the years (since the very beginning, to be exact) and I bought a hell of a lot of stuff, too. I don’t think I ever received as much as a thank you from him. I also can’t recall anyone ever being in the shop apart from me and him.

    One dark, cold night (in the mid 1990s) I saw a man running back and forth, with his arms stretched out, humming loudly and mimicking (what I believed to be) an airplane. This man was on top of the Kelvinbridge (Great Western Bridge) while this was happening. I told him to get down or you’re going to fall in the river. Plenty of people were walking by, but they did nothing . . . I was shocked to see it was Neil Craig. An eccentric man indeed, but I do miss him and his great wee shop.

    R.I.P.

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  12. I’ve been watching the stock fade on my daily commute, sad to see it finally removed from the window.
    Can’t help but wonder what will happen to it all, it’s too sad to imagine it binned but half of it has turned blue now.

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  13. Pingback: An update on Futureshock, Glasgow’s first comic shop | My Little Underground

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