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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.

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"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.

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"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.

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