Saturday 20th saw the first Edinburgh Toy and Comic Mart organised by Hero Conventions, which took place in the RAF Club on Hillside Crescent, a short walk from the city’s busy Princes Street. It was a fairly small, low-scale but friendly and open (not to mention free!) gathering. Inside the tables were set up in rooms across a couple of floors of the club, and indeed even spilling out onto the landing of the staircase (where Edinburgh’s Pulp Fiction, an Indy bookstore/cafe, had a presence with some second hand graphic novels and a decent selection of science fiction books).
Inside the rooms it was a mostly a mixture of some shops and dealers, with enough boxes of back issues to keep any collector entertained with some browsing (a friend I was there with was amused to see how much some of the vintage Marvel issues he saw for sale were going for, because he had a number of them back home in his own collection) and some collectable toys (I had several “Oh, I had one of those as a kid” moments regarding the toys and, like everyone else, wished I had kept a few of them after seeing what they go for now).
The rest of the mix was taken up with creators and small press comickers – I got to chat to Edward Ross, whose work has graced the blog several times; he was sharing a table with Fumio Obata and Stephen Goodall. Since I was pretty up to date on Ed’s latest work I took the opportunity to pick up some mini comics from Stephen (his latest IMR: the Diary of Joseph Stein, which also ties into his online work) and Fumio (his cool looking ETC…) for later reading. Some of the hugely funny works from the underground comics scene (especially of the 80s and 90s) in Scotland was on offer at the Braw Books table.
Scott MacKay and David Barras were there – their micro budget Electric Man, a cracking Scottish Indy film partly set in an Edinburgh comics shop, is finally out to buy now on DVD after a number of film festival and convention screenings. After following the production from the start (right back when they were attracting the first investors) I was lucky enough to be at the first full screening a while back, and you can read my review of the film here, much recommended and highly enjoyable, so if you fancy some good Indy movie viewing and supporting some independent creators you can now order the DVD of the film.
Glasgow-based Team Girl Comics were present again (see here for Zainab’s review of their most recent collection), and told me more work is in the pipeline following their latest edition (volume seven) – I was also quite taken with the wonderfully stylish and cool Team Girl Comic tote bags (tres comic chic, n’est pas?). Chris Kent, writer and artist of the fascinating Medusa was there with his book and artwork (reviewed here, and you can also read a recent guest Commentary post by Chris about the book here on the blog).
(above: creator Chris Kent with some of his artwork and his fascinating and unusual Medusa graphic novel which I reviewed recently; below: a well-kent face on the Scottish comics scene, Pete, manning his Plan B Books stall and chatting to Chris about stocking his work)
Writer Jim Alexander was present, of course – not many people are aware that a little known act of the Scottish Parliament decrees that Jim should be present for at least 80% of any comics events held in our northern kingdom, and indeed I was chatting to him just a few weeks ago when I was at the free Dundee Comics Expo (see here for report and pics). I realised every photo I had taken of Jim at previous events looked almost identical, with Jim leaning back in his chair behind his table of works, so this time I determined to take an ‘action shot’ and cajoled him into position. Of course that was one of the photos I discovered later hadn’t come out. Next time I’ll stick to the usual format… Another regular on the Scottish comic scene, Lynsey Hutchinson (co-creator on Bayou Arcana, currently working on a new project) was present and had a nice display of some of her cool art on offer – you can see more on her Deviant Art page here.
It was a very sunny Saturday, and actually reasonably warm, a refreshing change after recent weeks where winter seemed determined not to surrender its chill grip on the land, and the venue was certainly very busy. Some of the folks on the tables were quite happy with how the day had been going, a few others were a little disappointed that the footfall wasn’t necessarily turning into actual sales; still, I was there in the middle of the day, so hopefully those latter folks picked up more business as the afternoon wore on, after I had to leave. There were a few talks scheduled in for the afternoon too with the likes of Simon Furman, but sadly I didn’t have time to stay for those (and it was becoming oppressively stuff inside). As I said it was a small scale mart, but enjoyable and also nice to see something like that in Edinburgh; hopefully it is something that can be built on for future events, perhaps more of the Scottish creators can get involved earlier and see about shaping it more and building on this start.