Everyday superheroes turn weary as Comic-Con ends

Sun Jul 27, 2008 8:02pm EDT
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By Sarah Tippit

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - They came, they bought, they stood in long lines and as the sprawling comic book convention Comic-Con drew to a close on Sunday, capes dragged, makeup ran, and thousands of previously chipper superheroes looked a little ragged.

Over the past four days, the San Diego convention center has been a mecca for 125,000 fans who came from around the world -- many dressed as their favorite superheroes -- in search of all manner of comics-related books, movies, games, toys, information and free products.

They packed screenings of movies with names like "Hamlet 2" and saw promotional trailers for other titles such as "The Spirit." They stood in lines that snaked around the building -- sometimes for hours -- to glimpse movie stars including Kiefer Sutherland, Keanu Reeves and Carmen Electra.

By many accounts, sales of toys, video games, T-shirts and other memorabilia were brisk, though less so than in recent years due to the current economic downturn, vendors said.

Daryl Graham, 37, an animation student from San Diego, said he found the latest super power action figures in just the right sizes to add to a collection he has been building since junior high school.

"As a collector, you want all your action figures to be even when you display them. You don't want your Batman an inch taller than your Spider-Man," Graham said.

But others expressed disappointment with what they see as the increasing commercialism of Comic-Con. They say the convention, devoted to celebrating comic book art, has been co-opted in recent years by large companies and Hollywood studios generating buzz for new movies and related products.

This year, scores of films were promoted ranging in genre from sci-fi and horror to comedy. Screenings and promotional trailers were shown, free items were handed out, and fans were drawn into scores of special exhibits.   Continued...

<p>Attendees dress up as characters from "Alice in Wonderland" at the 39th annual Comic Con Convention in San Diego July 24, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Blake</p>