The annual geek mecca that is the San Diego Comic-Con draws tens of thousands of fans each year to see their favorite movies, TV shows, video games, celebrities, and other pop culture phenomena live and in person, through exciting exhibits, panels, and presentations. But despite all that entertainment, it’s often cosplayers that grab the most attention. For many attendees of SDCC, the event is the ultimate excuse to dress up in elaborate costumes, taking on the likes of familiar fictional faces, from Snow White to Superman and everything in-between.
Throughout the 4.5 days of the San Diego Comic-Con, I kept my video and still cameras ready at all times to capture the best costumes I spotted. Whether inside the convention center, out front, or in the nearby Gaslamp Quarter, costumed attendees dominated the landscape. And while many guys dress up in elaborate outfits, it’s the girls involved in cosplay that attract the most eyeballs, both in person and afterward online, and thus my lens tended to point in their direction more often than not. That’s not to say male cosplayers don’t have equally impressive costumes, only that girls tend to flaunt their assets more effectively.
Check out the highlights of costumes I saw throughout the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con in the video below, followed by some of my favorite stills and a slideshow of every cosplayer I photographed. Then comment at the bottom and tell me which are your favorites!
Video: The costumes and girls of San Diego Comic-Con 2012
San Diego Comic-Con 2012 Cosplay
Catwoman was purring with heat... from the metal police car's hood. She was hoping she wouldn't get arrested while posing for pictures in front of the convention center.
Just inside, Galactus towered over attendees. Note the tiny Silver Surfer off his left shoulder.
A repeated cosplay theme this year was hipster characters, inspired by Internet memes. This pair was representing The Legend of Zelda characters with #HipsterHyrule.
This Disney Princess duo embodied the meme by adding caption boxes around their heads.
Popular cosplayer Traci Hines showed off her hipster Snow White look one day...
...and her best-known non-hipster Ariel, The Little Mermaid on another.
Newcomer to the Disney Princess universe is Merida, perfectly portrayed by this cosplayer down to her Scottish accent.
Back outside, Giselle from "Enchanted" was lost in a sea of Comic-Con attendees, dreaming of her first love's kiss...
Following Disney's "Frankenweenie" panel, this group of Tim Burton fans posed outside Hall H. I accidentally overexposed the photo, rather ironic given Burton's tendency for dark films.
Tim Burton-produced Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was also on-hand at Comic-Con.
Creepy costumes continued with this pair representing characters from Hotel Transylvania, not even released yet.
On the lighter side of things, this pop art-inspired costume stood out among the superheroes and princesses of Comic-Con.
This "Futurama" pair didn't blink when asked for a photo.
Representing "The Simpsons" was Duffman.
Regulars to Comic-Con are this pink pair who dress each year to raise awareness of breast cancer.
Waldos are easy to find at the San Diego Comic-Con, but Odlaw is far more difficult.
Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? Well, San Diego, naturally.
Harley Quinns are also quite common at Comic-Con, though this one offered a funny expression.
There are many variations of the Harley Quinn outfit and I particularly liked how the ambient lighting softened this shot, a striking contrast from the one above.
Video games always are a popular source of costume inspiration and this sexy cosplayer perfectly represented the outfit - and shape - of the Mortal Kombat character Mileena.
But not every costume has to be accurate to be fun, like this female Darth Vader... posing in the oversized Darth Vader action figure card.
And yes, of course, there were Slave Leias. No Comic-Con would be complete without them.
Leia wasn't the only one in a gold bikini, with these female characters from the He-Man universe representing the Mattel booth.
Also at Mattel was this retro-futuristic "Back to the Future" girl showing off their upcoming Hoverboard toys.
At the nearby Hasbro booth, Jem made a rare appearance. Truly outrageous.
Watch out! Mega Man nearly Mega Busted me.
Reporting live on the scene was April O'Neil and her sort-of Ninja Turtle companion.
Also out of the '80s... Thundercats HOOOOOO!
I think this girl was made to be an Oompa Loompa. Perfect.
Likewise for this Wonder Woman.
There was certainly no shortage of superheroes at Comic-Con, with the Avengers joined by their arch-nemesis Loki, in female form, looking not too pleased to be posing with them.
Unbeknownst to me, I photographed Hilly and Hannah Hindi of the Hillywood Show, in Lady Gaga-inspired attire. (I'd never heard of them before...?)
Also musically inclined, the Star Wars Cantina band was playing their way through the show floor, with that famous song sounding around them.
One of the most attention-grabbing costume events coinciding with the San Diego Comic-Con each year is a zombie walk through the Gaslamp Quarter. I particularly like how this zombie was nice enough to carry a cup to catch the blood she was drooling out.
One human victim was being pushed around amidst the zombie outbreak. Apparently zombies can't spell very well.
While most zombies are gruesome, at FEARnet's Con of the Dead party, this zombie successfully combined sinister and sultry.
Looks like Snow White had been turned too. Must have been a bad apple.
At the similarly-named Dawn of the Con party, this Street Fighter gang was ready to protect the night's event.
And at a restaurant deeper in the Gaslamp Quarter, this waiter jumped through an open window to snag a photo with Batman and, his favorite, Catwoman. He was giddy.
…and yes, I was one of the many cosplayers at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, dressed as Marty McFly on Saturday (posing with the Hoverboard girl) and a pre-burnt Freddy Krueger on Sunday (posing with a photo op for AMC’s “The Walking Dead”):
This is just a small sampling of my favorite costumes from throughout the 4.5 days I wandered the halls and surrounding area of the San Diego Convention Center. I tended to take pictures only of costumes I found to be eye-catching, unique, interesting, or otherwise enjoyable to look at, so the slideshow below is filled with more than 200 of the best of the best of Comic-Con.
Stay tuned in the coming days for even more photo reports from the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, recapping my day-to-day adventures across the exciting event.
Slideshow of costumes at 2012 San Diego Comic-Con:
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