Leather gauntlets slip into place, a golden lasso hangs from the hip and a very iconic tiara is ready for action. Wonder Woman, a symbol of courage and hope for so many, walks tall with her sword and shield along a busy corridor in San Diego.
On one exciting day every year at Comic-Con, that Wonder Woman is me.
I suited up this past summer at San Diego Comic-Con as Diana Prince’s alter ego for our family’s sixth visit to SDCC. Since it’s always more fun to dress up, we’ve done family cosplay in past years with themes such as “Minions,” “Star Wars,” “Super Mario Bros” and, of course, superheroes.
Over the years, you can see our attire evolving with each costume update in the DC Universe.
What began as a small comic book convention in 1970 has since become the hottest ticket for pop culture fanatics. Comic-Con is where industry giants go to premiere trailers and promote the next big thing. It’s an oasis for people watching, a haven for aspiring artists and a mecca for gaming enthusiasts.
With about 150,000 attendees annually, Comic-Con International suspends the realities of life and takes you to a multigenre world where entertainment and fandom intersect. Geek apparel is optional, but it’s not unusual to behold a trio of pastel-colored Chewbaccas, a Pomeranian pup driving a mini Batmobile or a pacifier-wielding baby Ewok.
Outside Hall H, a 6,500-square-foot mega room, thousands of people camp out, sometimes for days, just to catch a glimpse of “Aquaman’s” Jason Momoa, “Wonder Woman’s” Gal Gadot or surprise guests like Johnny Depp.
Sometimes, classic movies make a comeback at the Con. 1984’s theatrical “Supergirl” promoted its new Blu-ray and DVD release this year, and I finally got to meet its star, my childhood hero, Helen Slater.
Experienced actors like “Star Trek’s” 85-year-old matriarch, Nichelle Nichols, received Comic-Con’s lifetime achievement award for her career. Meanwhile, up-and-coming actor Jason Liles, the 6-foot-9-inch man behind the gorilla from “Rampage,” is just starting his.
Celebrities who convened in San Diego this past July had some positive things to say about our town.
Greg Grunberg, from TV’s “Felicity” plus both “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” movies, said, “My kids play baseball and they have tournaments up in Bakersfield. I love Bakersfield!”
Not bad coming from the unofficial mayor of Comic- Con.
Bakersfield has its own 2 day Comic-Con in November. Last month, I had the honor of attending a Mini Con at Beale Memorial Library dressed, once again, as Wonder Woman. For me, she exemplifies strength, grace and, most important, compassion. When I don the superhero regalia, I feel the responsibility to rise up and embody those characteristics.
As I took photos with adorable local kids, it finally occurred to me why comic book conventions have such a huge draw.
I put my Amazon shield and sword in the hands of one beautiful little girl who was born with a cleft lip and palate. I looked in her eyes and saw a fierce confidence rising within her. In that moment, she became a warrior princess who could save the world.
I believe Comic-Cons help us reveal the superhero inside us all. When we connect with our inner fan while celebrating others, we learn to appreciate the things that make us unique. And, in striving for the ideals that make the world a better place, we inevitably become the best version of ourselves that God created us to be. ￼
Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha.