At New Orleans comic event, mere humans become heroes

Sun Jan 29, 2012 9:22pm EST
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By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Vampires drenched in fake blood mingled with sword-toting ninjas. Martian manhunters rubbed elbows with Batman and Wonder Woman.

For the thousands of comic-culture fans who circulated around acres of exhibits at the New Orleans Comic conference on Saturday, the event was a chance to meet, or temporarily become, a hero.

"When I walk out in regular clothes, no one pays any mind," said attendee Jeff Kent, who was dressed in the gleaming white, robot-like garb of a "Star Wars" storm trooper. "But when I put this on, all of a sudden I'm a rock star."

The event, one of several staged around the country by comic book and digital publisher Wizard World, continued on Sunday.

Celebrities on hand to meet fans included actors William Shatner ("Star Trek"), Adam Baldwin ("Full Metal Jacket"), Mary McDonnell ("Battlestar Galactica"), James Marsters ("Buffy: The Vampire Slayer") and Lou Ferrigno (Incredible Hulk"), along with

legendary comic book creator Stan Lee and a host of comic artists.

Cartoonist and comic book creator Larry Marder, who has published his "Tales of the Beanworld" comics for almost 40 years, told Reuters that at one time the primary focus of these conventions were the comic books and novels that shaped this peculiar segment of American culture.

"It used to be that the stories came first, and people read their monthly comics and were loyal to them," he said. But over the years, characters like Superman, Batman and Spiderman became brands that reached far beyond their book origins.   Continued...

<p>Eric Royster (L) in costume as "Captain America" walks with his wife Andrea O'Leary and 4-year-old daughter Isabella as they enjoy the pop culture convention Comic Con in New Orleans, Louisiana January 28, 2012. REUTERS/Bill Haber</p>