SCOTLAND IN COMICS 6
In 1987, a few of my comics reading friends and I grew tired with the dilapidated selection of US comics available in our provincial newsagents. We decided it was time to head off to Edinburgh for a visit to a real life comic shop.
I cobbled together a few weeks' pocket money. One of my mates got a lot more than me on a weekly basis, and then had the temerity to find a tenner in a taxi the day before our trip.
After a couple of hours on the bus and a seemingly endless trek, we finally found our objective: Science Fiction Bookshop, West Cross Causeway.
Entering that shop was unbelievable. It was the first wall of comics I'd ever seen, and I think I just stood and stared for a long time before making any kind of move towards it.
We spent all afternoon there, chatting with one of the young employees. He was very friendly, and went digging in the back shop, looking for items we asked about.
Later that year, in a follow up to the X-Men story I wrote about here, Colossus visited Edinburgh. And guess where he was pictured...
I guess X-Men writer Chris Claremont had visited the shop on a signing tour and promised to feature it. It was great to see these iconic characters in Edinburgh. And so soon after the excitement of discovering my first comic shop, here it was in X-Men, one of the hottest comics around at the time.
The story has many tropes of a foreign portrayal of Scotland. Dodgy accents and all. It also has a rudimentary understanding of the Scottish political mindset. One of the kids shouts as an insult: "Yuir Dad voted for Thatcher" - not a popular political figure in Scotland, despite being the UK's prime minister in 1987.
Good times. Science Fiction Bookshop was bought over by Forbidden Planet a few years later. I still miss that shop I walked into in 1987, but it's a great memory.
Here's to you, Neil, Steve and Chris. We had a blast.