Comic Book Fans Get In Character

Baltimore Comic-con's Debut Costume Contest Draws Dozens Of Colorful Entrants

October 12, 2009|By Tricia Bishop | Tricia Bishop,

Jane Jetson was standing in line next to Poison Ivy talking about shoes, while a dozen people back, Willy Wonka was deciding whether she and Dr. Horrible, looming to her right, were officially dating.

"Tentatively," she finally decided after several seconds' thought, though her true love may be the candy man. She said she wrote a 70,000-word fan fiction in his honor. "He's really complicated," said Hillary Henson/Wonka. "He's got an awesome back story."

Henson, 22, and Dr. Horrible (aka 23-year-old Harrison Lichtner), drove down from Pennsylvania for the weekend for the 10th annual Baltimore Comic-Con convention, and its first ever costume contest held Sunday.

Roughly 90 people showed up decked out for the contest, some in original designs, some masquerading as old favorites, including a very Christopher Reeve-inspired Clark Kent. There were a half-dozen Jokers, at least three ghost busters and a pair of dueling Poison Ivys, including Chelsea Wilson, just within one three-foot radius.

Wilson, 21, picked that particular baddie for a simple reason: "She's like the hottest Batman villain ever," she said.

She and buddy Iggy Tissera - properly scarred and purple-y attired as the Joker (his mother helped with the sewing, he said) - also had a simple explanation for being there. "We're nerds," they said, matter of fact.

Nerds and comic books have a history older than Superman, but the crowd was surprisingly diverse. Ages ranged from brand new (a la the tiny Superman baby) to senior citizens, and the people came in all shapes and sizes and colors - even green. Tissera's green hair was actually making its way down his coat, rubbing off each time he turned his head.

At contest time, the tiniest tots went first, with a couple - brother and sister - winning their categories by default because of no other entries. A buxom Batman and Robin won approval from the all-male judges, and many took in the lesson that a unitard is not one-size-fits-all.

After two hours of strutting up the aisle, the finalists were chosen and the finale begun. Iron Man took the contest and the $1,000 grand prize. By day, he's 43-year-old defense contractor Paul Day from Bel Air. He made his rust-red get-up from 7-11 cups, sled parts and various pieces of junk. It took four months. Next to him stood his daughter Parker, whose Wonder Woman in battle gear costume, which Dad made, took first place for the under-13 female existing super hero category.

Said Parker of her pop: "I was really happy for him."

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