Fans relish creative costumes at Baltimore Comic-Con: 'Life's too short; why be boring?'

An emcee named the winners, and two 10-year-old girls jumped and screamed: one wearing blue hair, bunny ears and her brother's necktie; the other in a torn shirt, fur cuffs and a hand hook.

Isabella Martin of Dundalk and Skylar Ash of Virginia ran onstage as celebrities Sunday at the Baltimore Comic-Con, even if the cheering crowd wondered at their costumes, video-game characters of a killer bunny and road-kill fox.


"You screamed so loud," Skylar said to Isabella, and laughed.

The three-day comics celebration ended Sunday — That's all, folks! — with more than 40,000 people visiting the Baltimore Convention Center, organizers estimated. While Baltimore's anime convention, Otakon, plans to move to D.C. next year, the annual Comic-Con founded in 1999 will remain in Baltimore, said Randy Tischler, an organizer.

It's an event where leather suits and foam swords earn praise and, say, a real steel hammer draws admirers.

"People ask, 'Why do you carry 40 pounds of steel?'" said Jon Shepard, 51, of York, Pa.

"Anybody can carry aluminum."

On his hip hung a block of polished steel atop a leather-wrapped handle, about as authentic a Thor hammer as any mortal could carry. The Harley-Davidson welder said he crafted his hammer as a teenager.

Between conventions, it rests in a place of prestige in his dining room (with permission from his wife).

"I couldn't see the point of going to a comic-book convention without going in costume," he said.

Sunday, he wore the hammer in a leather harness. He had also donned a polished, winged helmet and red fleece cape.

"Life's too short. Why be boring?" he asked, and struck a godly pose for a photo.

Cosplay at the Baltimore Comic-Con is governed by a Weapons Policy: No reproduction firearms, no sharp-edged swords, absolutely no black powder.

So Eric MacCartney spray-painted silver ChapStick and empty pill bottles into grenades strapped to his chest. The 31-year-old Rosedale man works in heating and air conditioning, and he wore silver-painted wires to resemble a mechanical arm.

He won $200 in an adult costume contest Saturday, he said.

His wife, Jennifer, came without a costume — she was pregnant. Eric MacCartney was already planning an infant costume for next year.


"We'll see what mommy lets me do," he said, and grinned.

The convention closed Sunday with the children's costume contest, which included a 10-year-old boy from Staten Island who wore Coke cans on his ears like The Flash, and an 11-year-old boy from Prince George's County who built wings from cardboard, duct tape and toilet-paper rolls.

Jayden Cassidy Rio, 7-year-old from Manassas, Va., was a videogame soldier: She wore foam armor with ski goggles and a flashing chest light in green, red and blue. Her father, J.C. Rio, controlled the lights with his cellphone.

Jayden won the children's grand prize, for $100.

Now, her father said, she can finally afford the game.