Last year's inaugural Hi-Ex comics convention, held on the first weekend in February, was besieged by snow leaving many guests and potential attendees unable to travel to Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The downthetubes review of the event is here. The Christmas card sent last year by organisers Richmond Clements and Vicky Stonebridge even made light of the weather with a comment about it never snowing in February. Of course on the first weekend in February the snow that last year had only blanketed Scotland, this year blanketed the entire country but fortunately for everyone Hi-Ex was the second weekend, Valentine's weekend.
As with last year's event, the convention was held in the bright modern surroundings of the Eden Court Theatre and Cinema complex on the banks of the River Ness in the centre of the town.
...while at the other end of the very happy Manga table, Chi-Tan and Inko were kept busy providing sketches of their fans.
Writers Alan Grant and Al Ewing of 2000AD (and many others), Ferg Handley of Panini's Spiderman and and DC Thomson's Commando, and Michael Carroll of The New Heroes novels were on hand for autographs since, fortunately, fans don't normally ask writers to dash them off a quick paragraph to take home as a memento.
The dealers room was almost at the other end of the complex from the guests room which lead to some confusion amongst those attendees that had been there the previous year but signs soon went up to help everyone out. Perhaps next year a map in the programme showing were each room was would help everyone but, that said, the staff at the Eden Court who were checking badges for the convention rooms were always helpful about where to go and very friendly at the same time.
Mark Stevens was also in the dealers room showing off an impressive display of his scratch built SF vehicles. This was a new departure for the convention, and for Mark, which seemed to work well if the number of admiring looks the display attracted were anything to go by.
So a good time was had by all and between the auction and the raffle over £1400 was raised for the Children 1st charity, which rather put paid to any worries that the credit crunch could have badly affected the turnout and the spending power of the attendees.
So roll on Hi-Ex 2010 and remember, it never snows in February...