Philly Comic Con visitors let their alter egos out to play


If you see any caped crusaders milling around the Philadelphia this weekend, it’s not a bird, it’s not a plane, it’s the comic book convention.

For the Wizard World Comic Con at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, the X-Men came in multiples, Cat Women came in all shapes and sizes, and homemade combat gear was constructed out of EVA foam.

And zombies, natch.



There was a lady version of Thor, and a male version of Harley Quinn. There were early and later versions of Dr. Who. A TV version of Batman and a Tim Burton version.

“My husband is the geek, so I go with him,” said Liz Pettine of Old City as the X-Men’s Mystique.

She geeked out enough to paint herself blue, and dress in a white gown with a handmade belt of gold skulls. “I don’t do the [Jennifer Lawrence] Naked Mystique, so my husband and I both do the classic comic book.”

Will Sirota of Brookyn came as The Penguin, as portrayed in the 1960s television version of “Batman,” not the Danny DeVito version. “It’s fun to be the bad guy,” said Sirota. “Because good is dumb.”

The convention puts anyone’s pop culture knowledge to the test. Why is that woman in harlequin tights carrying a huge hammer? Is that yellow raincoat a character affectation or only a raincoat? Is that man in suspenders a subtle reference or are they just holding his pants up?

Jeff Krug decided to come as the writer Hunter S. Thompson, who is not actually a super hero.

“Some people look at him as a super hero,” said Krug, speaking in the quickened, nervous patter of Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the famously sauced journalist in “Fear and Loathing.”

“Definitely people who drink look at him as a super hero,” Krug said. “I’m one of them.”

One of the challenges of going to Comic Con is deciding who to portray. It says a lot about you. Instead of making a decision, Raymond Natal packed three costumes: Silver Samurai (X-Men villain), Steel (Superman villain), and a male version of Harley Quinn (Batman villainess).

“Who doesn’t love the bad guy?” said Natal, who plans to rotate through his costume changes all weekend.

While there were plenty of bad girls on the floor — sexy sorceresses and sexy sci-fi shooters and sexy what-does-it-matter-it’s-sexy — there were plenty of good girls at the convention: homemade Riot Grrl Batman and Robin costumes, original 1960s “Star Trek” minidresses, and princess gowns.

A woman who goes by Asia Minor dressed in a signature yellow rainjacket, wearing red contact lenses and fangs. “I’m dressed as Jubilee from X-Men, but farther on in the comic when she becomes vampire,” she explained.

The character discovered her mutant powers while growing up in the shopping malls of Southern California. She appeared in the X-Men animated TV show.

“Jubilee was my favorite character growing up. I could relate to her,” said Minor. “As the show went on everyone forgot about Jubilee, but she was one of my favorites so I never forgot about her.”

There were at least two other Jubilees at the convention on Friday afternoon.

The actors who portray many of these characters will be on hand this weekend at the Comic Con, including the stars of “The Walking Dead,” “Dr. Who,” and that guy who played Booger in “Better Off Dead.”

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal