Comic-Con International, the genre-entertainment mega-convention descending on downtown San Diego this week, is often referred to as a Mecca for comic book and sci-fi geeks. And while a substantial percentage of the estimated 125,000 people that will walk its crowded hallways and squeeze into packed meeting halls Thursday through Sunday will indeed be of the prototypical comic book nerd and Trekker types, the four-day event in fact plays host to a wide variety of diverse sub-cultures of geekdom.
Here’s a look at some of these varied groups of fans that will gather to meet the comic book artists and writers, Hollywood directors and actors, and video game producers and designers there to sell them their wares, but perhaps most of all, simply assemble to bask in the unique camaraderie Comic-Con offers.
Cosplayers: Short for “costume players,” these highly visible con-goers have spent a considerable portion of the last year planning and constructing a look that perfectly emulates a character they love. Some will spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on their costumes and props, making an Iron Man suit with moving parts or a full-blown Predator costume.
And yes, you can always count on dozens of brave women of all walks of life (and shapes) hitting the convention floor in Princess Leia slave-girl bikinis.
Faux Cosplayers: These guys put on a Captain America T-shirt and blue jeans and call it a day. They will uses scotch tape to attach three knitting needles to a glove and claim it’s a Wolverine costume. Their overt laziness often brings disdain from true cosplayers.
LARPers (Live Action Role-Players): Cosplayers taken up a notch. These folks not only wear their elaborate costumes, they play the role they’ve chosen, refusing to break character even more a minute, offering amusement to some of their fellow con-goers and testing the patience of others.
Steampunks: Not impressed by warp drive or androids, these geeks prefer a world of Victorian-era tech, where Jules Verne or H.G. Wells could build time machines and automatons out of steam engines with brass levers. A similar sub-group that prefers clockwork and gears is called “clockpunk.”
Not-Quite Japanese: Die-hard fans of anime and manga (Japanese cartoons and comics), these people have fully embraced Japan’s pop culture, mimicking the dress style and learning the language.
Trivia Elitists: These are the geeks who take pride in knowing why a Jefferies tube on the original “Star Trek” is named as such and can catalog every known type of Kryptonite and its effect on Superman. Known for sometimes showing impatience towards fellow fans without their encyclopedic – or is that Wikipedic (?) – knowledge.
Old School Purists: For these fans, the originals are always the best. The new “Star Trek” movie ruined the franchise and they refuse to acknowledge the re-imagined “Battlestar Galactica.”
Neo-Purists: The natural enemy of the old school purists, these fans won’t acknowledge anything that existed before their generation. The new “Star Trek” movie is the only Trek film worth watching and the original Battlestar Galactica is a campy relic of the late '70s.
Gamers: These folks are not as excited about the reading material and movie screenings as they are about the games. Whether its new expansion sets of card-based role-playing games or a preview for a new video game, they are ready and willing to eat it up and play against other geeks of similar interests.
Fringers: These attendees are only interested in Comic-Con’s more mainstream offerings. They’ll attend the movie clip screenings, listen to the “Twilight” panels or get autographs signed by the casts of “Castle” and “Glee,” but have little interest in anything more geek-oriented
Friends of Geeks: They’re dating a fan or have a friend who insisted on brining them along. Some of these people get bored very quickly, while others come to appreciate the spectacle going on around them.
Geeks-in-Training: They only got into comic books or geeky shows in the past year, but their friends are quickly turning them into true fanboys and fangirls. Comic-Con is a baptism of fire for them and if they haven’t been properly prepared, the experience can be a little overwhelming.
Social Geeks: Despite perception, probably the majority of the geek community are actually just laid-back people who simply love what they love. Yes, they can tell you the history of Krypton or recite the oath of the Green Lantern Corps, but they can also discuss music, films, sitcoms and politics. They go to Comic-Con for fun and socializing and they don’t look down on people who don’t happen to share their love and knowledge of sci-fi and fantasy.More: