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Batmen and Targaryens: At Comic-Con, Cosplayers Were the Real Stars (Photos)

In San Diego, playing dress-up is serious business.

Every summer, San Diego Comic-Con attracts some big names. This year, panels included appearances from the casts of huge shows like “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead,” as well as movies like “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

But as a first-time Comic-Con attendee reflecting on my weekend in Southern California, I was surprised to find that these appearances were not the highlight. Throughout the four-day convention, the all-but-anonymous costumed super-fans, also known as cosplayers, were the most interesting characters.

And at the risk of overstating a trend, this is all the internet’s fault.

Countless websites breathlessly dissect every morsel of news about every new movie and TV show year-round, and most of this year’s new news from the Con was, well, kind of boring. The biggest announcements included the cast of Firefly reuniting; Wonder Woman finally coming to the big screen; and, in a shocking turn of events, a bunch of attractive famous people starring in the next Avengers movie.

Pardon the snark. It’s not as if present-day Comic-Con is ever advertised as anything other than a promotional event, and some of the non-newsy events were a blast and a half. But apart from commiserating with fellow attendees in line for the panels, the cosplayers were what gave the Con character.

Elsa and Anna from Frozen were popular choices for women (and one dude) this year. Also popular were various incarnations of The Doctor from Doctor Who, which is coming off of its 50th anniversary year. I lost count of the number of Harley Quinns, Daenerys Targaryens, and Pikachus. And, of course, superheroes like Batman, Spider-Man and Thor were out in force.

Here’s a look at some of the best costumes spotted around Comic-Con this year:

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