WonderCon 2009 might've had a smaller crowd than in previous years. It certainly felt that way walking the convention floor at the Moscone Center--just don't tell anyone who was there.
From lectures on superhero physics, to an impressively diverse display of costumes, to discussions with Pulitzer Prize-winning authors, and even deals on Obama comics, San Francisco was the place to be for fanboys and fangirls last weekend.
President Barack Obama's love of comics has been so well-received in the comic book business that he's already made it into several books. Publishers and retailers alike are hoping that the Comic Book Guy-in-Chief's popularity can transform into their own financial stimulus package.
Cross-dressing is nothing new to comics, and Heath Ledger's twist as Nurse Joker in last summer's "The Dark Knight" reminded people. Here, two female fans dress up as their favorite male superhero, Dick Grayson, in both his original Robin costume and his twentysomething Nightwing persona.
"Watchmen" was getting all the buzz at this year's WonderCon, but "Star Wars" remains one of the most popular genre films of all time. More than 25 years since her last performance as Princess Leia, Carrie Fisher still attracts long lines of devoted fans.
Sitting to the right of Carrie Fisher was her "Star Wars" co-star, Mark Hamill. Not only popular for his portrayal of Luke Skywalker, Hamill is also known in comics as the voice of the Joker for the Emmy Award-winning "Batman: The Animated Series" from the 1990s.
Pulitzer Prize-winning Michael Chabon (left) and renowned comic book author Matt Fraction discuss with each other the nature of genre-based fiction and its place in literature in front of a packed room of more than 200 people.
Families were big this year at WonderCon, which made up for the less-frenetic vibe compared to last year's Con. Many publishers, retailers, creators, and fans brought their kids to the show, and in many ways it was like Halloween without the candy and rotting teeth.
Walking around the convention floor on the busiest day of the weekend, Saturday, it's hard not to avoid the glut of the most popular superheroes. Creeper (left) and Zatanna are two of the more obscure heroes that have nevertheless developed a faithful following.
There's more to comics conventions than just cosplayers and sweaty crowds. This panel led by the Institute for Comics Studies' founder Peter Coogan discussed the role of hard science in comics. Coogan couldn't make it in person, and so the entire presentation was conducted somewhat oddly via Skype and cell phone.
Alternate reality games are becoming more popular as a way for creators to involve their audience more directly in stories. Here, Glenn Goodfried of "lonelygirl15," and Melanie Merkosky of the online show "Harper's Globe," talk about how television and social media continue to dovetail together.
Disclaimer: "Harper's Globe" is produced by CBS, the parent company of CNET.
WonderCon has a reputation as being one of the more "comic-booky" of conventions, with more of an emphasis on comic books than other media. Even with all the activity and noise on the convention floor, some fans still found time to read their new purchases...
The R2-D2 Builder's Group is always a popular panel. This year, they pulled the casing off one of their handmade R2-D2s to show fans and fascinated children just how the radio-controlled droids are built.
The most visible part of the show are the cosplayers, but for some it's not enough to wear your costume--you have to build it, too. This homemade Bumblebee suit sports a light-up arm gun and eyes and a line 20 people deep of fans who want their picture taken.