Khal Drogo walks into a hall, followed closely by Daenerys Targaryen holding a dragon’s egg. They are stopped at the door. “Can I take your picture?” someone shouts from the crowd. Drago turns to his bride. “Khaleesi?” he asks, wrapping an arm around her waist. They pose for several pictures, then melt into the mass of people.
This was a typical scene at last weekend’s Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia. The Convention Center was packed with panels, celeb appearances, vendors and a multitude of cosplayers.
Indiana and Henry Jones wandered the aisles, stepping aside for a girl in a replica of Lily James’ dress from “Cinderella.” Batman walked by, holding the hand of his young son dressed as Captain America.
Vendors sold comic books and games, replica weapons and toys.
Visitors attended panels with artists, saw film screenings and waited in line to meet some favorite celebrities.
Whether people were new to a convention or repeat visitors, Philly’s Comic Con offered something for everyone.
“I live in Maryland,” said Michael Orr, 25, who was dressed as DC’s Red Hood. “I’m here to meet up with my friends, meet some people I met last year, see what’s new. I just like the atmosphere of conventions in general. It’s always a good feeling, especially when you’re with people you want to be with.”
That was the general consensus of the weekend. Mark Bouton, 43, brought his daughter for her first convention. Dressed as the Green Arrow, Bouton, of Langhorne, said he’s “most excited to share [the day] with my daughter. She’s going crazy. To see this many like-minded people in one spot is just very exciting for her.”
While celebrities charge for photo ops, many visitors delighted in seeing cosplayers outfitted as some of their favorite stars and asked to take pictures for free. Orr posed for many pictures as Red Hood. “You feel a little full of yourself. At the same time, you just know that I must have done a good job with my costume if people take pictures. Also, when the con is over, you rush to the internet. You want to see these pictures.”
Numerous people also stopped Sarah Elizabeth Scott, 20, dressed as Marvel’s Agent Carter. She feels flattered when she is asked to pose. “I think it’s supercool to share the fandom and the experience with people and to get to see all the different fans kind of interacting. I especially love when other great cosplayers ask to get a picture because then you get to just accumulate a whole bunch of memories.”
Scott came last year. “We didn’t cosplay at all [last year] but we loved seeing all of the costumes and we wanted to be part of that this year. It’s more fun in costume.”
Some people were drawn to Comic Con because of a specific actor or actress. “Doctor Who’s” David Tennant (the Tenth Doctor) and Billie Piper (Rose) hosted a packed Q & A in their first-ever joint American appearance.
Wizard World’s Comic Con caters to a wide variety of fandoms. Yes, comics, sci-fi and fantasy are prevalent but sports stars and WWE personalities also draw a large crowd. Fans even had the chance to submit ideas for panels like sci-fi speed dating. Budding artists had the chance to showcase their art to Marvel editors and Saturday night was capped by a cosplaying costume contest.
Comic Con is a unique opportunity to interact with fans who geek out as passionately as you do for their favorite movies, comics and celebs. The stars themselves are delighted to meet their fans.
“The Walking Dead’s” Michael Rooker raves, “Look at all the people. It’s awesome. You get a chance to meet the fans who actually paid money to go see your movies. It’s a cool thing.”