SAN DIEGO: Comic books, video games and colorful “cosplay” outfits took center stage at Comic-Con as the giant pop culture event kicked off Thursday without its usual A-list stars due to the Hollywood strike.
Braving the soaring heat, tens of thousands of fans dressed as characters from Wonder Woman to Barbie and Ken flocked to San Diego, California.
While Comic-Con typically draws headlines for glitzy movie announcements and panels featuring stars like Tom Cruise and Dwayne Johnson, fans told AFP they welcomed the chance to focus on costumes and comics — the event’s original focus.
“Honestly, I’m more excited about the cosplay,” said Janelle Hinesley, 32, who came dressed as Astrid from the “How to Train Your Dragon” films.
“Besides, I can’t sit in this, so we’re not going to any panels right now,” she added, pointing to the giant axe strapped to her back.
The convention center’s huge Hall H, where Hollywood stars and studios typically unveil the latest superhero movies to screaming fans who camp in line for days to get in, was markedly more relaxed than in previous years.
Early presentations included Paramount’s new “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” animated film, India’s first-ever Hall H presentation for “Kalki 2898-AD,” and an eagerly awaited look at the video game “Marvel’s Spider-Man 2.”
Dressed as Ken in anticipation of the new “Barbie” movie, Tony Ring-Dowell joined the roughly half-hour Hall H line to see the Spider-Man presentation, excited that video games were getting “more exposure” this year.
“Going to a movie launch or announcement was not a big draw for me anyway,” he said.
“Celebrities? I don’t feel the need to see them in person. I’ll watch the movie trailer online.”