Capital Sci-Fi Con - Press Pack

In Review and Pictures: Edinburgh’s Capital Sci-Fi Con 2018

Capital Sci-Fi Con - Press Pack

Capital Sci-Fi Con was back in Edinburgh this weekend (3rd to 4th February 2018) with a line-up that included Doctor Who stars Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred, alongside comics guests such as Nick Brokenshire, Gary Erskine, Tanya Roberts and John Wagner. Was it a good event? No… it was great!

Outlander photobombed by a Jawa carrying droid parts.. Photo: Colin Noble
Outlander photobombed by a Jawa carrying droid parts.. Photo: Colin Noble

This weekend marked a rather interesting period of growth for me, as I got to experience a convention as a vendor for the first time. I’d offered my services to help my friend, freelance artist and illustrator Janine Van Moosel, to look after her two tables. So, I’ve now experienced conventions as a customer, a working volunteer and as part of a vendor team. I now only need to attend a convention as an invited guest and I have the full set!

Ladybug and Cat Noir Cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Ladybug and Cat Noir Cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Chloe Robertson as Rabbit, a character from the band Steam Powered Giraffe. Photo: Colin Noble
Chloe Robertson as Rabbit, a character from the band Steam Powered Giraffe. Photo: Colin Noble

Conventions are, as we are all aware, about give and take and it is great to have conventions that are about a lot of give and very little take. Capital Sci-Fi Con is definitely a lot of give, as the profits are all donated to the Children’s Hospice Association Scotland, which I am sure you will all agree is a very worthy charity to support. In the three years that it has been in existence, Capital Sci Fi Con has raised over £132,000 for the Hospice.

Charity fund raising was further booted this year by the publication of the crowd-funded Life Support Comic from Maximised Comics, the brain child of comic book creator Colin Maxwell.

In this third year of operation, the event had to be moved to the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, following the closure of its original venue, Meadowbank Stadium, in December 2017 as it is now earmarked for demolition, a replacement scheduled to be available by 2020. As I’m now a veteran of several conventions, I would say that the Corn Exchange is a much better venue, as sports stadiums tend to be geared towards sports rather than conventions and they can be quite difficult to heat given they have a lot of open space by design.

Rather than push the positives straight away, I am going to make some constructive criticism first. As big events go, the worst failing of this event was that there was no physical map of the traders’ hall to show where all the traders and guests were situated (although one was published online).

Capital Sci-Fi Con - Map
This handy map of the event was in evidence at the event

Some will wonder why I even mention this as a criticism, as many traders are often swapped around at the last minute. However, my experience is that while one or two traders may be moved, the majority remain static and knowing where each one is can be a godsend to a large group or parents/carers worried about losing track of where a small one is and wanting to have a central point to meet up if the group gets split up.

Stranger Things cosplay at Capital Sci-Fi-Con. Photo: Colin Noble
Stranger Things cosplay at Capital Sci-Fi-Con. Photo: Colin Noble

My only other criticism is that there were not enough comic traders there. (True Believers took place in Cheltenham on the same weekend, which may have contributed to this lack, but there are plenty of comics businesses in Scotland and the North of England who would never countenance a journey so far south. I know I can’t force people to take my money, but it helps if they are there for me to have a chance to give it to them in exchange for some comics!

And that is it. I have a lot of time for my fellow comics fans, so I’m not going out of my way to make up specious reasons why an event was bad, because Capital Sci-Fi Con was far from that. There were plenty of positives about it (and I’m not the only person who thinks that), as follows…

This was an event that attracted a footfall of over 6000 over the two days. That was a raw count of people entering the event, and actual attendance will inevitably be a bit lower taking repeat entrants into account, but while that figure may not be a lot compared with, say London Super Comic Con or San Diego, for the first event of the season in Scotland, that is more than respectable.

Princess Peach and Mario cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Princess Peach and Mario cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Rey and Crystal Fox cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Rey and Crystal Fox cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Mary Poppins cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Mary Poppins cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble

This was yet another family friendly event. I lost count of the amount of kids I saw going past either in cosplay or just really happy to be getting the most pocket money evah!

I was impressed with the professionalism of the venue staff. They were mindful of their responsibilities and ensured that the venue did not exceed capacity level. While that did cause some grumpiness in some of the people on Saturday afternoon, who had to wait until they could get in, this is a case of your grumpiness does not trump the responsibility of those looking after you.

Rey and BB8 cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Rey and BB8 cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Skyrim Dragonbone Armour. Photo: Colin Noble
Skyrim Dragonbone Armour. Photo: Colin Noble

I was impressed with the enthusiasm from the convention crew as I know how well how hard it is to keep smiling when all you want is for the con to finish and you can leg it to soak in a warm bath!

Organiser Keith Armour felt the need to apologise for the event being too popular, which led to the earlier issue of people not being able to get in. I am sure that it is a position that a lot of convention organisers would love to be in!

The change of venue meant that the event felt friendlier and less clinical – and was a welcome change in atmosphere from when I attended the first event back in 2016.

Slytherin Alice in Wonderland cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble
Slytherin Alice in Wonderland cosplay. Photo: Colin Noble

All in all, I am glad that I was able to attend and see a lot of comic book friends that I would not otherwise see. While it is not an event I would recommend to my rabid comic collector friends, I would recommend it to any fan of Science Fiction.

And with that I am going to finish on one final positive. I am so old that I watched Vision On first time round, so I asked guest Sylvester McCoy – was artist Tony Hart as much of a great guy as he appeared to be on the show? And I swear that Sylvester lit up, because someone was asking him about one of his earliest experiences in TV, rather than the same tired old questions about his favourite Doctor Who scripts. He was so relaxed and happy to say that Tony Hart was just as lovely in real life as he was on the show.

And if that doesn’t make anyone’s convention, I don’t know what will.

• Capital Science Fiction Convention is online at www.capitalscificon.co.uk | Facebook | Twitter

 

 

 

 

 

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Colin Noble

Colin Noble

A life-long comic fan specialising mainly in UK adventure comics. I do my best to support my passion for the comics of my youth, Commandos (still going!) and any small press that interest me.

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