All the evidence is in. The jury has decided. Edinburgh Comic Con is now undeniably the best convention in Scotland.
This is true if you’re a comic fan, if you’re keen to meet stars from TV and the silver screen, or if you’re just wanting to take the kids out where they’ll have fun. Let’s look at the evidence. Now in its second year in the rather plush Edinburgh International Conference Centre, a five-minute walk from both Haymarket Station and the castle, ECC has found its home. A far cry from the soulless zeppelin hangers of the larger London cons or the cramped and ill-suited locations of some smaller cons across the UK, the interior of the EICC is comfortable and welcoming with plenty of places to buy food and drink, and generous areas to sit and enjoy them.
While it was popular, and therefore busy, I never had trouble getting to the bar or the loo, and queues were never excessive. Spread across two halls, there was a healthy cross-section of dealers. Thankfully, there were plenty of stalls selling comics. A personal bugbear of mine is a con affixing “comic” to their title and then having almost no comics on sale. I was tickled to see City Centre Comics selling Dreadstar this year!
The guests were diverse, both in terms of media and from the world of comics. Claudia Christian of Babylon 5 was probably the top draw from TV, while Phil Jimenez – one of DC’s highest profile artists – appeared to be the most popular comic book guest. The eclectic mix proved popular with all ages and all were kept busy throughout the weekend. Personally, I was blown away by Ken Lashley’s sketches most of all.
This year saw the addition of even more features. FREE features. I spoke to one single mother who had brought her two kids and she commented on value for money. The kids were able to have photos taken with robots, monsters and vehicles without any ‘hidden’ extra payment, which is common at other venues. There was even a free arcade, an exhibition of Lego scenes and vehicles, and wrestling! I anticipate that word of mouth will have a lot more parents taking their children along next year.
ECC 2017 also saw the advent of The Yancy Street Awards. That was a lot of fun and it was very pleasing to see George Lennox and James Devlin’s small press release Vietnam Zombie Holocaust pick up a few well-deserved gongs.
ECC just goes from strength to strength. Every year they see ways to expand and improve. At one point I chatted with 2000AD artist (and future superstar) Tom Foster and commented that each year it gets better. “It really does,” he agreed.
Next year can’t come fast enough.