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BLOG Hi Ex 2010

Last weekend, Scotland played host once more to the Hi Ex comics expo. Blogger Stacey Whittle was there

Eden Court in Inverness once again played host to Hi Ex last weekend (26 and 27 March), the third International Comic Expo. It's a great venue (only lacking a cash machine to be perfect), with a decent sized dealer hall, a workshop area and a theatre for panels. The guest list was varied but with a strong 2000 AD flavour, with Cam Kennedy, Colin MacNeil, Simon Fraser, Al Ewing, Charlie Adlard and Gary Erskine representing. This inspired the 2000 AD forumers to do a “Hell Trek”. John Burdis hired a minivan, covered it with posters of 2000 AD and drove 350 miles picking up forumers from all over the country before arriving in Inverness on Friday night - sometimes the internet can be a fabulous thing!

One of the most wonderful things about Hi Ex is the strong family flavour; there were children of all ages making monsters on Sarah McIntyre's table, drooling over Gary Northfield's Derek The Sheep books, having their faces painted, or their manga portrait drawn by Asia Alfasi. Some brave kids were having their photos taken with the 501st UK Garrison of Storm Troopers – from whom I have to hide because they scare me nearly as much as Cybermen! I attended a couple of panels on Saturday. The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre Company was less of a panel and much more of an experience, with a brilliant and hilarious performance by Kev F Sutherland. There are many clips available of The Socks on YouTube, I seriously recommend you check them out! I also attended the Writers Workshop held by Al Ewing, Ferg Handley, Jasper Bark and Roger Gibson, which was excellent, informative, and full of good advice and tips. There was also the Children's First Charity auction, with some amazing items donated by creators and vendors galore (many of which I bid on, none of which I won - bah!) and I think the amount of money raised between the raffle and auction was slightly over £2000. Author Michael Carroll was auctioneer again this year and is a comedy genius and even managed to flog some bottles of water (and the wrapper they came in)!

Sunday's panels were equally as good, a chat about online comics with a bunch of creators including Simon Fraser, 2000 AD artist and member of the webcomic collective was incredibly interesting and that panel could've gone on a lot longer for me. Next was an audience with comic artist Cam Kennedy which was hosted by Colin MacNeil, a legend in his own right not least for being last man standing on Saturday night/Sunday morning at 8am! Cam was a great guest, and full of funny anecdotes and that hour flew by. This was followed by the final panel of the con, the 2000 AD panel; man, 2000AD creators are a load of geeks! A panel of geeks talking about the best comic in the galaxy – how better to round out the weekend?

The second most wonderful thing about Hi Ex is it's completely inclusive nature - at least 60 guests and attendees battled, elbows out, at the Chinese Buffet on Saturday night, before heading back to the hotel to drink, chat and take part in a comic jam session. After my glowing review of last year's con, I was slightly worried that it couldn't live up to my expectations this year. However, this is a con I can't find a single fault with, from meeting new friends (the utterly gorgeous and wonderfully talented Roger Gibson and Vince Danks of Harker fame, and the 2000 AD boarders) to the ones who are fast becoming old friends (Dave “Bolt01” Evans from Futurequake, Paul Thompson from PJCC, Mike and Lee Carroll et al - apologies I can't mention you all!), to well thought-out and interesting panels, to workshops that you actually want to take part in, and a dealer hall with a good range of goodies to buy.

And having attended three comic conventions since last Hi Ex , this one retains my heart. Congratulations to organisers Richmond Clements and Vicky Stonebridge - you rock… and roll on next year.

This is a personal blog by Stacey Whittle, one of our 12 volunteer bloggers. Read more stories from our bloggers here on the site .