Costumes and crowds are back in full force at Comic-Con.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Comic-Con International is back to being as big and extravagant as it used to be. The San Diego Convention Center is full of stars, cosplayers, and crowds of fans for the first time since 2019. Here’s a look at what the four-day festival will be like this year.


Because of the pandemic, Comic-Con had to be held online in the summers of 2020 and 2021, and there was a smaller in-person version in November. However, none of these were like the usual show, where fans of all things geeky come from all over the world and watch panels on movies and TV shows that look like sports events.

It’s not clear if as many as 135,000 people will go to the convention as did San Diego before the pandemic. But when the doors to the Convention Center opened on Wednesday night for a sneak peek, fans rushed the floor in huge numbers. As was required, almost everyone wore masks. Most of them were protective masks, not supervillain masks, though there were plenty of those too. The crowd was very excited.

“Everyone’s been stuck inside for a while, and they’ve been looking forward to this,” said Dinh Truong, 34, who came from Minneapolis for the second time to Comic-Con. “It’s nice to see everyone together in the same place. I’m excited to see the show, see what’s going on, see everyone cosplaying and all that, and just get back to what we used to be.”

On Thursday, when the real events start, there will be a lot more people there.


The captains, queens, and connoisseurs of cosplay probably miss the real convention more than anyone else. Comic-Con is like the Met Gala for them, and no outfit is too fancy.

Lorelei McKelvey, who is 54 years old and was born in San Diego but now lives in Yokosuka, Japan, was dressed as Captain Carter, the British version of Captain America from World War II.

McKelvey said, “I had to do one that I could really do again.” “I did some research and found out what the real leathers that British officers wore in World War II were, and I also found companies that make those leathers.”

She walked around the floor of the Convention Center in officer cavalry boots and Royal Air Force gauntlets that looked as real as possible. She also carried a 5-pound steel shield.

McKelvey went to Comic-Con for 20 years in a row and worked at a booth. This is her first time coming as a cosplayer and her second time coming as a trans woman, and she’s excited to see the friends she’s made here.

“At my last convention, I was Lorelei for the first time,” McKelvey said. “They haven’t seen me in four years, so this is their first chance to see how much I’ve changed.

Wednesday, some people walked around dressed as Stormtroopers from “Star Wars,” the Mandalorian, Wonder Woman, and Sailor Moon. Chuckie from the movie “Child’s Play” came out of the stomach of one cosplayer.


Most of the news about Comic-Con comes from the mega-panels in Hall H, which can fit about 6,000 people, where trailers and footage from upcoming movies and TV shows are shown. Panels have been announced for Warner Bros. and “Black Adam” from the DC Universe. It will star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the title character, Jaume Collet-Serra as the director, and the actors who play Hawkman, Dr. Fate, and other Justice Society members.

Johnson, in pro-wrestler mode, said on Instagram earlier this month, “Get ready, because the hype is real.” “Guess who’s coming to town? The most exciting man in all of the DC Universe.”

Warner Bros. will also show a sneak peek of “Shazam: Fury of the Gods.”

Marvel might save its best stuff for the upcoming Disney D23 Expo, but it is likely to give a sneak peek at its next movie, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and the Disney+ TV show “She-Hulk: Attorney at Law.”

Fans will also get a taste of the worlds of two much-anticipated fantasy prequels. A new trailer for the “Game of Thrones” spinoff “House of the Dragon,” which takes place 200 years before the main show, came out on Wednesday, just before an HBO Max panel where the show will be shown.

Amazon is going to the past. “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” is a story about how evil started among the elves 2000 years before Frodo and Bilbo came to Middle Earth. The last time they had a panel at Comic-Con was 21 years ago, when director Peter Jackson showed clips from the first movie.