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Packed show floor

It's a comic book convention classic, and WonderCon 2010 is no disappointment.

Wandering the halls of Moscone South in San Francisco, one thing is clear: art and design still matter in a culture of characters--even though the storytelling industry is big business.

The showroom floor was packed Friday afternoon, and for the most part, it's low-tech. Artists draw with pen and ink, and the aisles of comics have that old paper smell.

There are figures, shirts, comics, and books. The crowd is expected to surpass the 34,000 attendees in 2009.

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William Katt

Levi, 10, talks to "The Greatest American Hero" star William Katt as he gets an autograph from the accidental superhero.

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Matt Marchetti

Matt Marchetti works on sketches for his Rabbit-Walrus comics at WonderCon. Marchetti's drawings started as high-school doodles. But after graduating to small zine-like photocopied books, his doodles have become his career, and his next comic book is due out soon.

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Comics fans

Although comic-book readership has drastically declined over the decades, there are still young kids feverishly interested in the genre.

In the 1970s, a hit comic from DC or Marvel might sell 300,000 copies. These days a popular title would be considered a huge success if it hit 50,000 copies mark.

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Clones and Jedis

Clones and Jedi stop traffic on the expo floor at WonderCon on Friday afternoon.

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Star Wars

These classic Star Wars figures, now more than 30 years old, are being sold for $7. (I have dozens of these, still, and I think they are far more valuable than $7.)

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Lou Ferrigno

Yep, that's Lou Ferrigno, the Incredible Hulk!

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Digging for deals

"At 50 cents, digging through the boxes is just fun. I might find something, I might not," said Jason Starkis, who came to San Francisco from Seattle for the event.

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Memorabilia

They're not just for kids: aisle after aisle of memorabilia and action figures from every imaginable series, book, and movie.

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Trying on hats

Women had fun trying on hats and fancy clothes from Vivian. Corsets, feathers, and lace-up boots were popular.

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Matthew Grant

Matthew Grant of Mattchee Art & Design was sketching small characters on 4x3 cards and handing them out for free.

He sketched this really cool little guy for me.

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Herbert Jefferson Jr.

Herbert Jefferson Jr., who played Lieutenant Boomer on the original "Battlestar Galactica," which first aired 1978, signs autographs at WonderCon.

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Richard Hatch

Richard Hatch, best known for his role as Captain Apollo on the original "Battlestar Galactica" television series, is victorious in a thumb-wrestling match with a fan Friday afternoon at WonderCon.

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Honky Tonk Man

Roy Wayne Farris is better known by his ring name The Honky Tonk Man. Farris, a professional wrestler, was part of the World Wrestling Federation from 1986 to 1991.

It was a legendary WWF performance when Ultimate Warrior beat the Honky Tonk Man in about 30 seconds during the Intercontinental Championship in 1988--at least it was if you were a 10-year-old boy.

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Airship Pirate

Airship Pirate Greg Adams, left, and Airship Commander Fred Jeska show off their self-designed character costumes at WonderCon.

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Pound of Blue, $4

Organized and separated, bags of pure Lego brick were being sold for $4.

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Comic books

WonderCon is widely recognized as one of the best comic-book events in the country.

Major comic publishers, including DC, Dark Horse, IDW, Image, and Oni Press, are here, plus scores of dealers selling comic books, original art, books, memorabilia, and action figures.

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T-Shirts

There are T-shirts and hats with nearly every comic-book icon you can think of. Sometimes, the sea of logos can be overwhelming. It's easy to become mesmerized, like these young adults, staring into the graphics abyss.

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Old and New

While Artists Alley shows off current artists and designers who are just releasing comics, the stacks at WonderCon are also filled with the classics and rare editions of comics now decades old. Some people come just to dig through the stacks.

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Captain America

Captain America made his first appearance in "Captain America Comics No. 1" in March 1941.

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Na'vi

One of the Na'vi, an indigenous species on Pandora in "Avatar," made an appearance Friday.

She was one of dozens of costumed attendees at WonderCon, where fans frequently take on the style and personality of their favorite movie, comic, and video game characters.

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From the Apple store to WonderCon

Just over an hour after they went on sale Saturday at the Apple store in downtown San Francisco, iPads began appearing WonderCon, held at the nearby Moscone Center.

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Skinned 'boards

At least one vendor was selling computer keyboards branded with science fiction icons and superhero characters.

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Webcomics in person

Several Webcomics creators were in attendance, including the couple behind Tiny Kitten Teeth. As with many of their colleagues, Becky Dreistadt and Frank Gibson offer book collections of their comics as well as ancillary items, including these handmade plush dolls of their characters.

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Batgirl and Supergirl

These two girls have dressed up as their favorite superheroes.

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Creator's Rights

Colleen Doran, Michael Lovitz, and Mark Evanier (not pictured) discuss creator's rights in comic books. In their seminar, they also addressed digital comics, print-on-demand options, and the importance of getting legal advice when navigating intellectual-property law.

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Batman of Zur-En-Arrh

This unusual Batman costume is a reprise of an odd Batman story from the 1950s that saw the titular character land on a planet with its own, albeit multicolored, Batman. Recently, this version of Batman was brought back in the comics, and in "The Brave and the Bold" cartoon.

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American animation icon

Author, humorist, satirist, and voice-over actor Stan Freberg is a legend in American pop-culture entertainment. He has performed in more than 400 Warner Bros. cartoons. He's pictured here with his wife, the humorist Hunter Freberg.

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Classic Cap

This Captain America costume hearkens back to a militarized version of the character that existed in the 1940s.

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Why do we always come here...

One of the biggest comics hits of the past year has been Muppet Comics, from Boom Studios. They complement the tone of the Muppet music videos that have been appearing on YouTube recently.

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