Last year I visited Edinburgh Comic Con as a mere punter, and being suitably impressed, took a table for this year’s event as I continue to build up my wee comics business since relocating back to Scotland after several decades. This would be by far the largest show I’ve done in Scotland since 1994 and a chance to kick-start things up a gear, so after some planning and some serious searching to throw in a few dozen or so comics that I’m certain would never have been offered on sale in a show in Scotland, I was ready.
The Friday before the show involved driving. That thankfully was being done by my friend Doug, but as we whisked between Edinburgh and Glasgow to pick up my stock and head back to a damp, foggy Edinburgh it hit us that as a capital city, Edinburgh was doing all it could to make it impossible for anyone unfamiliar with the city to find anywhere as there were no street signs, which added to the fact there was roadworks everywhere and on top of that there was a thick fog, what should have been an easy task was made a chore. Eventually we found the B&B I was staying at which was in 1975.
But it was a nice place that was decently priced in a city that knows how to extract cash out of people. Even more eventually we found the exhibition centre where the show was to be held. Once there some incredibly helpful staff unloaded the van and I proceeded to set up. That was pretty painless amazingly.
Here’s me looking cheery with the stock looking pretty bloody good if I don’t say so myself.
I really do look knackered, but then again I’d just spent a night sleeping in a bed from the 1970’s.
So that’s ten boxes of back issues, a box of variants, two boxes of Silver and Bronze age, a wall full of creamy goodness and loads of stuff under the table waiting to fill a hole.
The doors opened for advance ticket holders at 9.30am. Normally at a show I’d not expect any sort of surge til a good half hour, and as this was only a handful I was happy that I wouldn’t have to run around like a lunatic for a while and I could catch up more with Andy, a former AKA Books and Comics person who was helping me over the weekend.
Wrong. The table soon became busy, then hectic, then rammed as wave after wave of people descended to buy comics. Lots and lots of comics.Obvious titles like Deadpool, Walking Dead and the Avengers were selling but across the board and as for the Silver ad Bronze age, they were selling well. Now I wasn’t overpricing, or religiously adhering to the guide price. I wanted to make money but I also wanted to shift books so everything was priced to sell and sell they did.
That evening in the pub chatting to former AKA people, Steve Montgomery and John McShane I didn’t really manage to grasp just how well I’d done til the next morning when my table looked different.
At least a box of back issues had been sold, the wall flash was different having sold so much off it, and I could bring the packs off the floor. All in all the table looked good and things were going well.
The above is the table on the Sunday morning before the doors opened, and being where I was meant that people could see I sold comics quite easily. It was also open so I could chat, talk and pitch so easily it was an actual pleasure to work the show. Ok, there wasn’t a huge Avengers: Infinity War event, but frankly the film (which as of writing isn’t even out yet) has had such an obvious effect in getting people, especially kids, interested in comics (not bubble tea, or whatever tenuous link some shows and traders have with comics) as a source of entertainment and as a medium. The latter is important because while this book is happening the more kids who see comics for a medium to be explored the better so a huge thanks to organiser James Lundy and his crew who ensured that as a show, the medium of comics was dominant.
Edinburgh Comic Con proves a point that you can not just run a very, very good show in Scotland of this size (in 35 or so years of attending shows this is one of the best I’ve attended) but if you’ve got the stuff (and you know your comics) then you can draw people into the medium. And by the end of the show I was three boxes lighter, knackered and ready for a lot of time in bed sleeping.
I’d like to say more about the con but I can’t. I barely saw the show but what I did was full of people enjoying themselves, and best of all, reading comics. Even better than that, comics they’d bought from me…
Now, the next step in this wee journey. More on that another time but next year I’ll be back at Edinburgh in a much larger operation so more folk can get some comics that may well spark them to become a dealer, or even a creator so we have a next generation of fans who love the medium.