21st Nov2018

Comic Con Scotland: For the Love of 80s – Event Report

by Phil Wheat

comic-con-scot-80s

The weekend of November 10th-11th saw some of team Nerdly make the 3-hour trek up to Edinburgh for the inaugural Comic Con Scotland event which, given the guest list, had also been dubbed “For the Love of 80s.” Not really surprising also given that this convention was put on by the folks at Monopoly Events – who also run For the Love of SciFi and For the Love of Horror out of Manchester’s Bowlers Exhibition Centre.

The big draw for this event was the plethora of 80s superstars who were in attendance: Lou Ferrigno, David Hasslehoff, Streethawk’s Rex Smith, Dirk Benedict, Gremlins’ Zach Galligan, Bret “The Hitman” Hart, Ray Parker Jr. who wrote the theme tune for Ghostbusters, and many more. There were also a number of props and vehicles from 80s franchises to take photos of  – the A-Team van, KITT fron Knight Rider, the bikes from both Streethawk and Battlestar Galactica; along with a superb handmade life-size replica of Johnny 5 from Short Circuit (built by Chris at Wrights Robotics), Twiki from Buck Rogers and the Daggitt (dog) from Battlestar Galactica.

The event took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre in the heart of Edinburgh’s West End, near the Haymarket train station – making it ideal for commuting in from around the UK. And commute people did… not only were there attendees from across the country, there were a myriad of vendors from around the UK too, all hoping to sell their wares to those fans in attendance. Though as with all conventions the prices were at a premium for a lot of the geeky wares (£45 for a Funko Pop that’s only £14.99 in Forbidden Planet anyone?). Good job there were vendors at the event though, as there wasn’t much else going on during Comic Con Scotland other than a browse around the stalls – at least on the Saturday we were there.

And that was one of the problems. You see the organisers had decided that Saturday would consist of photoshoots and signings, with all guests panels (usually the most interesting aspect of any convention) held on the Sunday. There were some other activites on the Saturday – a geek quiz, a couple of cosplay masquerade’s etc. but the main draw were the aforementioned guests and the traders hall. Which meant that if you weren’t queueing for signatures and/or autographs on the Saturday and weren’t interested in the panels you could have been in and out of the con in a couple of hours. Especially if you were there early doors as the queues weren’t that big before noon.

The other issue with Comic Con Scotland was the music. When we arrived pre-11am the 80s soundtrack that played throughout the convention halls was at a decent level that you could both hear the tunes, hear yourself and hear the guests in attendance. However – as we heard in the corridor between the two halls – the organisers decided to crank up the volume in the main signing hall, which meant civilised conversations with the guests were much harder. I don’t know whether that was a ploy to stop long conversations between guests and paying customers to keep the queue lengths down or merely to play up the 80s atmosphere – but either way it was ultimately detrimental to the event.

On the plus side it was clear that organisers Monopoly Events had learnt from the issues at the For the Love of Sci Fi event and applied those lessons here. The entrance queues flowed, the signing queues flowed and everyone seemed to be having a great time – both guests and those attending. And it was the guests, all of whom were warm and welcoming, that really made this event what it was. Here’s looking forward to the next For the Love of 80s event in Manchester next year!

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