Hundreds of people turned up for the grand return of Portsmouth Comic Con - International Festival of Comics, for the first time since 2019 after it was forced to abandon its popular extravaganza due to Covid.
People of all ages sparkled in sci-fi fancy dress, fantasy, anime, comic book characters alongside stars of the screen and from the wonderful world of cosplay.
The best in comics, film, TV and pop culture entertainment were on display alongside some of the greatest writers and illustrators in the industry, alongside stars of the screen.
Endless panels, displays, exhibitions, gaming, VR, Steampunk and an incredible range of merch and collectables were available for comic fantasy lovers.
Those serious about comics who love Marvel/DC and cult series were far from disappointed to see the return of the popular event after a three-year break.
Kay Robins, 31, of Waterlooville, was dressed up as Boris Airay from Alice in the Country of Hearts.
She said: ‘I’ve been going to events for seven years and this one is really good, I prefer it to the bigger ones like in London. This one is more about the kids with everyone making a big effort with their costumes.
‘You can see they put in so much effort and really love it. Some people get really into character. Everyone dresses up and is friendly and has such a good time.’
Steampunk duo Vicky Kelly, 53, and Paul Martin, 58, made the trip from Portchester. ‘We are all freaks, we are all of the same kin,’ Vicky joked. ‘It’s good to dig out the clothes and have some fun.’
Paul added: ‘It’s good to be back again - this is a big one. Everyone is so friendly and there is no bother.’
Oly Browning, 25, from Waterlooville, was sweltering in his Mandalorian outfit. He said: ‘I bought part of the outfit and made the rest of it and painted it. It’s very hot. It’s good fun and very family friendly,’ he said.
Chris Barron, 40, was in costume as Kylo Ren - Darth Vadar’s grandson. The Portchester resident said: ‘I always wear this outfit, though it is very hot. It’s good to be here again after not having the event for two years.
‘There’s a mix of ages and it’s more family friendly than the bigger ones and you can move more here too.’
Meanwhile stallholders were enjoying the occasion too. Barry Lumsden made the trip from Scotland to showcase his collection of self-published Iron Dynasty Comics. ‘It’s been busy. I’ve had quite a few people who’ve bought a comic before and come back to get more in the series,’ he said.
‘It’s been really good to see the interest that people have in comics here.’
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Others not attending Comic Con who were passing Guildhall were star-struck. Nicole and David Murray were visiting from Chichester for the day. ‘It’s a bit crazy but it’s good to see it. We didn’t expect to see this when we came here,’ they said.