The Joker, Batman, Bane … these are only a few of the characters that served as inspiration for attendees at this year’s Edinburgh Comic Con, held at the EICC for the first time.
The event, which spanned the first weekend of April, saw guests from the world of television, film and comic books mix with exhibitors and attendees for an action-packed weekend. As founder James Lundy says, the atmosphere was electric across the two days: “There were lots of people smiling, which was just great to see. Friends and families were really enjoying themselves – there was a synergistic feel to everything. The feedback has been fantastic on the selection of guests, the exhibitors and the venue.”
Guests included big names from Marvel and DC Comics as well as actors and actresses from the likes of Babylon 5, Doctor Who and Game of Thrones. James also participated in panel discussions with Cas Anvar, best-known as Altair in the video game sensation Assassin's Creed, and Patricia Tallman, who has appeared in three Star Trek franchises.
With a prize of £500 up for grabs the Cosplay Championship also proved to be a big hit with attendees. This year’s victorious winner had custom-built a Chappie costume, the robot from the 2015 film of the same name. “It was so well attended we ran over!” says James. “The entries are judged on their craftsmanship, originality, creativity and the performance of the character they are portraying. They were so diverse this year.”
A life-long fan of sci-fi and comic books, James noticed that Edinburgh didn’t have its own comic con and spotted an opportunity to do something that he loved. “I couldn’t find a reason why there wasn’t a comic con in Edinburgh,” he says. “After lots of research, I got the ball rolling and put down the groundwork. At the same time, I realised a life-long fandom; I’ve liked sci-fi and comic books since I was eight years old. I really thrive in this environment.”
“Everything fell into place. In the run-up to the show, you can feel a little apprehensive with it being a new venue but we really hit the ground running”
From its humble beginnings in a small room at an RAF Club in Edinburgh to filling the EICC’s main hall, the event has grown exponentially since it was founded three years ago. “This year was head and shoulders above what we have done before,” James continues. “Attendance figures have kept growing year-on-year. We have built trust and loyalty in the Hero Conventions’ brand. I always try to make myself as available as possible and I’ll mix with the exhibitors and attendees as I’m a fan myself. Hero Conventions has exhibited at other shows too, so you get to know everyone really well.”
When James looked at the venues available in Edinburgh the EICC had the capability to accommodate the growing number of attendees. “The EICC couldn’t have done enough for everyone at the event,” says James. “Everything fell into place. In the run-up to the show, you can feel a little apprehensive with it being a new venue but we really hit the ground running.”
With guests and attendees travelling from across the world to visit this year’s convention, James is proud of the impact the Comic Con has had in Edinburgh: “I love Edinburgh. It’s a picturesque city with so much history as well as links internationally. The city was the perfect place to establish our comic con and having the EICC right in the city centre is fantastic. Attendees filled up hotels and were using public transport. It’s great to think our event had a knock-on effect to the wider local economy.”