Sunday, January 21, 2018
Events

Comic book characters come to life — and vow eternal love — at Tampa Bay Comic Con

TAMPA — The bride, cosplaying as Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, walked down the aisle accompanied by George R.R. Martin and flanked by two Imperial TIE Fighter pilots.

Her bridesmaids, Belle, Snow White, Ariel and the 11th Doctor, pranced ahead of her, sprinkling blue and white flower petals for her to walk on and passing out bubble wands to guests.

Gwen Murnahan and Shawn Walter said their vows as Sally and Jack Skellington in a Tim Burton-style ceremony at Tampa Bay Comic Con.

The couple, who got engaged at last year's Megacon, wed in front of superheroes, heroines and members of the Justice League who packed Room 24 on Saturday.

Related:Dealer reports $85,000 in rare comics missing at Tampa Bay Comic Con

"I made my wedding outfit out of a dress I found for $50 at the thrift store," Murnahan said.

Her white dress with lace details popped against her baby blue-painted skin. His white-painted face and skeleton bow tie made him stand out from his stormtrooper groomsmen.

The two sci-fi fans live in Venice, but are planning a move to Gainesville soon. Their cosplay wedding was officiated by a full-suited Ironman.

Murnahan vowed to honor and cherish Walter, even though she always plays to win with video games.

"Well, I am the best," she said.

Walter vowed to keep her safe from dragon's keeps and orcs.

The two kissed for the first time as husband and wife in front of a cardboard Doctor Who Tardis.

And theirs was not the only wedding at this year's Comic Con.

Shanna and Harrison Burwell of Parrish dressed as Wonder Woman and Superman to wed in front of their cosplaying family and friends.

Shanna, 35, ditched the traditional star-spangled Wonder Woman threads for a handmade white gladiator-style dress made complete by gold cuffs, headband and Lasso of Truth.

"I made everything myself, except for the cupcakes and the Superman costume," she said.

Her red, blue and gold bouquet matched her Superman's boutonniere. His ring had the iconic Superman "S," the Kryptonian symbol for hope.

They both teared up when the officiant — an Agent of SHIELD — declared them a power couple and husband and wife.

The room full of comic book characters, princesses and droids erupted in applause when they kissed.

• • •

Elsewhere, thousands of fans packed the Tampa Convention Center for Day 2 of Comic Con.

Harley Quinns dashed around in fishnet tights, black and red jester suits and "Daddy's Lil Monster" T-shirts.

Some wielded bats and mallets bigger than they were, with "Your Face Here" and "Good night" inscribed on the ends.

Die-hard fans waited hours and endured long lines just to get a glimpse of The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus, Lord of the Rings' Sean Astin and Star Wars villain duo Ian McDiarmid and Ray Park.

Others browsed the dozens of comic book stands for collectables and shopped for the perfect T-shirt from their favorite fandom.

It wasn't just an excuse to break out the dusty Halloween costumes. Comic Con is a once-a-year opportunity to dedicate time and money to something as simple as creating a beloved comic book character.

One man spent years and $500 to make the perfect Batsuit. Another threw on a Hawaiian shirt, floppy hat and aviator sunglasses and called himself Hunter S. Thompson.

A young woman lumbered in handmade Space Marine armor, stopping for pictures with fans and hearing parents laugh when the kids exclaimed, "Oh my gosh, it's a girl in there!"

Men wore Sailor Moon skirts and boots. Women wore fishnets a la Aquaman and flashed creepy Joker grins.

All was right in the nerd universe.

     
     
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