An event for nerds, wizards and everyone in between

Posted: June 20, 2014

AT THIS YEAR'S Wizard World Philadelphia Comic Con convention, attendees can travel back in time in the Delorean, ride with Dinosaurs in the Jurassic Park jeep or try their hand at sci-fi speed dating.

"Find your perfect nerd," shouted the two men manning the dating setup.

Turning their noses up at the vendor, two young Dr. Who fans shouted toward the booth: "I do not dream about nerds, I dream about comic books!"

At the first day of the annual four-day festival yesterday at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, diehards were enthused.

"Basically, here everyone is my friend," said Victoria Ward 25, of Center City.

Ward, who tends bar in Northern Liberties, yesterday took on the persona of Elsa, famed ice queen of the Disney movie "Frozen."

"The dress took me 350 hours," she said, pointing to the floor-length pale-blue ball gown she wore. "The corset, because its hand beaded took me 150 hours and the rest of it just took me time to get it together and I made the shoes and everything."

Lines of little children stood nearby, tentatively waiting for the perfect moment to tug the princess' glittering cape and ask: "Take a picture with me?"

And take a picture she did.

"That's what I love about cosplay/////, because for a couple of hours you get to be someone totally different - someone that maybe you idolized," she said.

This is Ward's seventh Philadelphia convention and she can't bear to miss a second of the excitement.

"I take off work for four days because I have to go all four days because I'm, like, it's once a year! I can take four days off of work," Ward said with a laugh.

Matt Triano, 27, agreed emphatically.

"If you hate people, come on Thursday," he said.

Triano, an illustrator from South Philadelphia, is spending the remaining days at the convention selling his comic-book art.

"I work primarily for Dynamite at the moment. I've done Sherlock Holmes and Lone Ranger in the past," he said.

Triano has attended Philadelphia's con for three years and still is floored by the experience.

"What other environment can you talk to a few people in an hour and then someone walks up and gives you money to draw them Batman?" he asked. "Like, that's a really cool."

Triano pointed to an artist situated at the end of the row of vendors.

"He's really good at it, but he doesn't love what he's doing," Triano said. "I'm the opposite. I am, like, OK at it, but I really love it."

He said that although drawing comics is not the highest paying job, he made it his career because he enjoys doing it.

Ward pursues her elaborate costumes for the same reason, she said.

"I love comic-con and the reason I go every single year and spend so much money making costumes is because I love to be around like-minded people and it's awesome," she said.

Today, Ward said, she will swap charicatures from the TV series "The Walking Dead."

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