Comic Con returned to San Diego over Thanksgiving weekend after both the summer 2020 and 2021 versions went virtual due to the pandemic. It was declared a “Special Edition” and everyone knew from the start that it would look and feel different. But no one really had any idea what to expect. I admit I was nervous to spend time indoors with strangers for hours on end (something I literally have not done for 20 months), but was encouraged by the mask mandate as well as the requirement that everyone be fully vaccinated or show a negative test result. So I got my droid dresses out of the closet, bought some geeky masks, and headed downtown!

It was definitely noticeable (and nice!) that the capacity was less than half of the usual 130,000. The exhibit floor was busy at times and there were lines for exclusives, but there was also an incredible amount of space that doesn’t usually exist. Walking down wider aisles on the floor, finding a spot at the tables in Sails pavilion, and never waiting in a bathroom line are all perks I’ll try not to get used to.

One thing that did feel normal was the cosplay! I estimate that the same percentage of people dressed up as usual. All integrated masks into their costumes, helmets or other face coverings weren’t allowed. I talked to the 501st Legion, who said many of their members dressed as Imperial officers this year instead of their usual stormtrooper ranks. Everyone was gracious as always about posing for photos. And my favorite spot by the window on the mezzanine level was wide open Sunday afternoon when I went to people watch at the end of the long weekend. I witnessed one of my favorite moments of the entire con from that vantage point, when two people dressed as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man saw each other from thirty feet away and ran towards each other excitedly. They then hung out and bumped inflated chests for awhile. Maybe it was the plastered-on smile that’s part of the costume, but the whole interaction just looked so wholesome.

Below is a gallery of some of the pictures of people in cosplay that I took throughout the weekend. Enjoy!

I aspire to one day go to a con in cosplay. All of these people and their passion and joy really inspired me! A very cool part of the new Comic Con Museum, which had its soft opening over the weekend, is the Cosplay Creator’s Lab. What a great idea to include a maker’s space for geeky costumes, and what a resource for the community!

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