When it comes to celebrating geek culture, Edinburgh knows its lightsabers from its sonic screwdrivers.
Although many of its police boxes are now coffee shops rather than time machines, there are plenty of ways to celebrate sci-fi, fantasy and horror if you know where to look.
From comic shops to festivals and groups, here’s our ultimate guide to geek culture in the capital.
Edinburgh may not be overflowing with dedicated comic shops, but the few we have are mighty. The usual first stop for visiting comic and sci-fi aficionados is Forbidden Planet, which offers the widest range of comics, graphic novels and memorabilia in the city. The shop provides all the new comic releases and loads of classic graphic novels, although most of the floor space is dedicated to toys (sorry, collectables) and other amazing trinkets. Forbidden Planet also hosts regular events and signings. Local residents have been known to gaze longingly at the front window displays, dreaming of owning that premium Batman statue while waiting for the number 37 bus.
Forbidden Planet, 40-41 South Bridge Street, EH1 1LL, forbiddenplanet.co.uk
A more traditional comics-buying experience can be found at Deadhead Comics, formerly on Candlemaker Row, now at new premises on West Nicolson Street. Deadhead Comics is an Edinburgh mainstay, a classic independent shop that is well-loved by its clientele. Yes, the staff can be grumpy, the atmosphere foreboding and unwelcoming… but that’s the traditional comics-buying experience for you. Still, the shop has tons of back-issues to dig through, and helps to support the local comics scene.
Deadhead Comics, 30 East Nicolson Street, EH8 8EQ, deadheadcomics.co.uk
Edinburgh has a plethora of great second-hand bookshops, especially around the Grassmarket and near Edinburgh University buildings. Special attention must be paid to Tills Bookshop, though, not just for supplying old-school comics and sci-fi/fantasy novels, but for selling vintage movie posters from the classic Hollywood era. Perfect for the film nerd in your life.
Till’s Bookshop, 1 Hope Park Crescent, EH8 9NA, facebook.com/Tills-Bookshop
For those more interested in gaming than comics, Edinburgh has you covered. Warhammer (formerly known as Games Workshop) has lived on the Royal Mile for years. Need Netrunner expansions? There’s also the smaller independent Black Lion Games, selling board games, collectable card games and more. Games Hub holds regular events and games nights, for beginners and experts alike.
Warhammer, 136 High Street, EH1 1QS, games-workshop.com
Black Lion Games, 90 Buccleuch Street, EH8 9NH, black-lion.co.uk
Games Hub, 101 Lauriston Place, EH3 9JB, gameshubedinburgh.com
[Picture: Mustbe 2sday/Flickr]
Edinburgh Comic Con
Edinburgh Comic Con takes place every year in April, in increasingly larger venues across the city centre. Formerly known as Something Bloody Awesome, the ECC rebranded itself with a far more family-friendly name, and has continued to grow in popularity. 2015’s event saw familiar faces from Star Wars, Game of Thrones and Doctor Who make appearances. There are also dozens of merchants selling rare comics and home-made merchandise. Conventions like this present a fine opportunity to indulge in a spot of cosplay. Non-nerds might be baffled by all the Deadpools and Jokers running around the town, but that’s part of the fun. edinburghcomiccon.co.uk
Edinburgh Comic Art Festival
October will see a new comic event in the city in the form of The Edinburgh Comic Art Festival, run by the same company that puts on the successful Glasgow Comic Con. The event will take place in Summerhall, one of Edinburgh’s most vibrant artistic spaces. The organisers promise international guests alongside local talent, and a focus on comic art and culture. capitalcomiccon.com
The Edinburgh International Book Festival
In the general madness that descends during August in Edinburgh, The Edinburgh International Book Festival is an oasis of calm, based in the peaceful Charlotte Square Gardens. One of the many themes within the festival is Stripped, dedicated to comics and graphic novels. Previous years have seen legends like Neil Gaiman and Grant Morrison talking about their work. This year’s programme will have a political slant, highlighting “the power of the picture to capture the world we live in.” There will be events and workshops for kids too. edbookfest.co.uk
The Edinburgh League of Comics is a group for comic creators, meeting up once a month to share their work and organise events. leagueofcomics.co.uk
A new book club called Panels and Pages will take place every month, focusing on one graphic novel each time. panelsandpagesedinburgh.wordpress.com
For Warhammer and board game fans, the Edinburgh League of Gamers hold regular tournaments and events. edinburghleagueofgamers.co.uk
The Edinburgh Science Fiction Book Group meet up on the last Tuesday of the month at Henderson’s on Hanover Street. edinsfbookgroup.tumblr.com
Doctor Who fans should check out the Monday meetings of the Edinburgh Doctor Who Local Group, which has been running in various forms since the late 1970s. The group currently meets on Monday nights in Mather’s Bar on Broughton Street. edinburghwho.wordpress.com
Edinburgh Horror Film Society will introduce you to some classic film screenings around the city each month and promise not to bite… meetup.com/EdinburghHorrorFilmSociety