The weekend of 2/3 April 2016 saw the Edinburgh Comic Con (ECC) return to the Scottish capital for its third year and for the first time to the largest hall at the impressive Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC). This proved to be an excellent choice of venue – modern, spacious, with a selection of refreshment bars, and never too hot, it was handy for trains, trams and buses if not for cars (but then cars and central Edinburgh never mix that well anyway).
ECC remains a Comic Con with the emphasis on comics albeit with some film and TV guests as well as general traders in addition to their mainly American comics guests, plus comics traders and small pressers. As well as the guests and sales tables there were displays of models and Lego, plus a selection of Artoo units to go with the large Jabba diorama, a sit-in X-Wing for the children, and an excellent sit-on Speeder Bike that proved to be as popular with the adults as it was with the kids. It all made for a family friendly event, even if some of the smaller children didn’t quite know what to make of the full size (and very polite) Dalek that was cruising around.
Cosplay is a big part of ECC and there was an impressive turnout over the weekend from a deliberately loud Klingon through the usual gaggle of Jokers and Harley Quinns to Judge Dredd writer Emma Beeby’s 8 month old daughter who was quite probably the littlest Supergirl of the weekend. Inevitably it was the cosplayers that the media focussed on including local station STV Edinburgh.
Edinburgh publishers Birlinn published the Peter Pan graphic novel through their BC Books subsidiary last year and Peter Pan colourist Fin Cramb and writer/artist Stephen White (also known as Stref) were at ECC signing and sketching copies. These proved so popular with the attendees that the pair had sold out of all the copies they had with them before the end of Saturday.
There are more details of JM Barrie’s Peter Pan on the Birlinn website
There are more details of Stephen White’s work on Peter Pan on his Pan by Stref Facebook page
There are more details of all Fin Cramb’s work on his website
Artist Graeme Neil Reid, who has worked on 2000AD and Judge Dredd Megazine amongst other things, had copies of his Doctor Who themed portfolio book 52: A Year In Time And Space available. Like several of the other sellers, Graeme had been at the relatively nearby Dunfermline Comic Con (review here and creators here) the previous month with the same stock, and some of the same punters, yet by lunchtime on the Sunday all his copies of 52, whether standard or with his colourful watercolour sketches, had been sold.
Back to back with Graeme in the hall was artist Gary Erskine who counts IDW’s Doctor Who and Virgin’s Dan Dare amongst his credits. Gary’s media themed prints, many of which are also available in his A4 sized full colour sketchbook, proved popular with the attendees as did his ink sketches of various comics characters.
There are more details of Gary Erskine’s work on his Tumblr site.
Artist’s prints are a popular purchase at conventions and as another Dunfermline Comic Con seller Lynsey Hutchinson had added two new prints to her collection since that recent event. One was her painting of Imperial Stormtroopers while the other echoed her mash-up theme that already includes images including Dredd/Batman and Hellboy/Weeping Angels, and this time she had portrayed Boba Fett as a samurai.
There are more details of Lynsey Hutchinson’s work at TheHoudiniBox.com.
Writer John Farman had an impressive display of Vital Publishing’s titles on display. Their main comics title The School Of The Damned has now been collected as a graphic novel while the Damned universe is being expanded with Tales Of The Damned. Their other major title of the moment is the deliberately provocative Royal Descent which was reviewed on downthetubes here.
There are more details of all Vital Publishing’s titles and how to buy them on the company’s website
Cult Empire publisher and writer George Lennox was showing off the company’s two titles, the ongoing Vietnam Zombie Holocaust with artwork by James Devlin, which now has a selection of variant covers, and the anthology Horror Show, both of which are printed in colour.
There are more details of Vietnam Zombie Holocaust and Horror Show on the Cult Empire website.
Artist and writer Alan Henderson had his Penned Guin series of newspaper style humour strips on display which feature, well, penguins (and I wonder how many attendees noticed the penguin artist wearing a Batman shirt?). Alan posts these deceptively simple three panel strips to his Tumbler before compiling them in books, the latest of which is entitled We Waddlers and has just been released. Alan also has a selection of his non-Penned Guin work available in his A5 B&W anthology Sculpted which he describes as “comic thoughts”.
There are more details of Alan Henderson’s work on his Penned Guin Tumbler.
Bob Turner of Castle Rock Comics writes and illustrates silent comics including the excellent DTHRTL series (that’s Death Rattle to the non-text savvy of us). Bob’s highly stylised artwork along with his use of pictograms as the only ‘dialogue’ gives DTHRTL a unique look and feel.
DTH RTL 1 downthetubes’ review is here.
Writer James McCulloch, along with artist Janine Van Moosel, is the creator of the on-going horror comic City Of Lost Souls (abbreviated in its own logo to COLS). This tells the very dark tale of serial killer Matt Jordan who takes his own life after killing his twelfth victim but is reincarnated in his own private hell along with those twelve victims. The only escape is for him to find the mythical City Of Lost Souls. The title is scheduled to run for six issues the first three of which have just been compiled into a graphic novel. James is also the editor of horror anthology The Grime as well as having written for Cult Empire’s Horror Show.
There are more details of James McCulloch’s work and how to buy his titles on his website.
Accent UK in the form of editor Colin Mathieson (centre) and writer Dave West (right), here with Colin’s son Scott, are long standing members of the British comic community having moved from their initial selection of one-off titles and anthologies like Predators and Zombies, to a selection of mainly ongoing titles like the steam punk Stephenson’s Robot and (a favourite here on downthetubes) the wild west demon hunting WesterNoir.
Darren Purdie and Paul Bristow of Magic Torch Comics based in Greenock combine folklore and history in their comics that have strong historical and educational values. Indeed those educational values are so strong that many of the Magic Torch titles have received Heritage Lottery Fund grants including their impressively realised hardback account of the 5th Battalion of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders during the Dardanelles campaign in WWI entitled Achi Baba, Gallipoli 1915. Their latest title is the anthology that also combines folklore and local history, the EC cover styled Tales Of The Oak.
There are more details of Magic Torch titles and how to buy them on the Magic Torch Comics website.
Artist and writer Neil Slorance is perhaps best known for his Dungeon Fun books with writer Colin Bell and the pair now collaborate on the humorous shorts in the Titan Comic Doctor Who titles. On a completely different tack, Neil also provides ‘The Neil Slorance Sketch’ for the politics section of the STV News website, although STV are very careful not to refer to him as a political cartoonist.
There are more details of all Neil Slorance’s work and how to purchase from him on his website.
Another Titan Comics Doctor Who creator is Emma Beeby who, with writing partner Gordon Rennie, are the current writers for Titan’s Four Doctor title, with Brian Williamson on art duties, having previously collaborated on a selection of Big Finish Doctor Who audio stories. Emma and Gordon were both signing copies of their Tiernen Trevallion illustrated Robbie Burns: Witch Hunter graphic novel which is published by Renegade Arts.
As with our Creators piece from last year’s ECC we will finish with one of Keith Crawley’s impressive scratch-built models. Last year’s huge Babylon 5 station and large Rebel Blockade Runner were joined this year by this excellently detailed Star Destroyer which drew many admiring glances.
Edinburgh Comic Con organiser James Lundy with his helpers and volunteers (known as the Army of Awesome) are to be congratulated for putting on such an impressive and popular event in a new venue. Roll on next year.
Colin Noble reviewed this year’s Edinburgh Comic Con for downthetubes from the perspective of one of the event’s volunteers.
News, reviews, interviews and features for print and on-line: Spaceship Away (since October 2005), Bear Alley (since February 2007), downthetubes (since June 2007), and Eagle Times (since October 2008). Plus DC Thomson’s The Art Of Ian Kennedy, Titan’s Dan Dare and Johnny Red reprints, Ilex’s War Comics: A Graphic History and 500 Essential Graphic Novels, and Print Media’s The Iron Moon and Strip magazine.