Live from Comic-Con: Wonder Woman Is Here

Adrian Liang on July 22, 2017

And so is Deadpool, Rey from Star Wars, many bare-chested men in kilts (there should be a special collective noun for this grouping), Jon Snow, and Black Widow. At least this weekend, at Comic-Con.

San Diego Comic-conFor those of you who aren't tapped into the pop culture vein, well over 100,000 fans and industry professionals come to gorgeous San Diego every July to wear their nerdiest T-shirts or show off their cosplay skills in a huge, four-day-long party that sprawls from the convention center and out into the downtown area. Major TV and film studios announce new projects, bring all their cast members together for highly coveted discussion panels, and create "activations" on the street to get fans energized about upcoming shows.

It's been about six years since I've last been to San Diego Comic-Con--technically, now called Comic-Con International, but look for #SDCC on social media--and the best part about the show is going strong: the fan energy and joy that permeates every interaction. "You're awesome, Batman," one person will holler, while another squeals over a three-year-old dressed as Rey. A passerby goodnaturedly heckles Kylo Ren, while four fans costumed as Wonder Woman line up for a group shot. A man dressed at Littlefinger asks Daenerys to take a photo with him--a meeting that has not yet happened on-screen or on-page but occurs happily on the show floor.

I can't say that I've seen any movie stars. We apparently rode in our hotel elevator with Finn Wolfhard (Mike, from Stranger Things), and I think I saw Kyle MacLachlan (Twin Peaks, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.) waving from the top of a booth. And we walked within 50 feet of the Game of Thrones cast while they were signing...something...but could only see them on overhead TV screens because the crowds between us was both tall and dense.

OutlanderHowever, even if I didn't have any of those brushes with famous people, and even if the studios didn't go all-out with zombie actors, men in kilts promoting Outlander, and ads wrapping around 30-story-tall hotels, San Diego Comic-Con would still be enormously fun. And all that fun rests on the shoulders of the fans, whether they are encased in armor, leather, body suits, or a well-worn Superman T-shirt.

First, the ladies: Wonder Woman cosplay is big this year, with most women dressed as Diana in her signature outfit but several in Themyscira gear and at least one in Diana's blue party gown with a big sword strapped to her spine. Rey is just as popular, which gratifies me, as I was surprised by the lack of Reys I saw at Emerald City Comic-Con this year and the previous year. I spotted only one Princess Leia in white and two in slave-girl outfits. Multiple Black Widows are keeping con-goers safe, and D.Va from Overwatch was regularly patrolling the floor as well. From Game of Thrones, Daenerys is the most prominent of the female characters, and Harley Quinn a la Suicide Squad is making pigtails and fishnets popular again. But the women in the popular costumes are well outnumbered by the one-offs: Lilo from Lilo and Stitch, Rem and Ram from Re:Zero, Peridot from Steven Universe, and all the Disney princesses wearing colorful grass skirts and hula dancing.

Now, the gentlemen: Deadpool is one of the most popular characters, with Kylo Ren and Jon Snow in broody black hot on his heels. Hermit-style Luke Skywalker is a hit among the older, bearded cosplayers, and Spider-Man and Batman still get a lot of love as well. Surprisingly scarce: Green Arrow.

Frank MillerAll the excitement about cosplay can make you briefly forget that the core material of a lot of this fan fervor is comics and novels. But you won’t forget for long.

Creators and authors speak on panels throughout the show, and their publishers promote them and their works. Ernest Cline is here to chat up Ready Player One, and author signings at the publishers’ booths cause lines to snake up and down the show aisles.

Geek culture—which includes passionate readers—was all too often isolated and marginalized. Comic-Con International is the stake through the heart of that outdated thinking, with more than 100,000 passionate people coming together to share their excitement.

A fantastic way to spend a weekend in July, really.

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