PHILADELPHIA (WTXF) - On the outside, their lives-- like ours-- can be a bit drab, colorless, predictable.
But for festooned fans of the 18th annual Wizard World of Comic Con (running through Sunday), the doorway of the Pennsylvania Convention Center is a portal to another world.
A world in which wizards and superheroes mix and mingle, without the slightest hint of self-consciousness.
"You're not yourself for a day!" says Will Underkofler of Southampton, NJ, from behind his Batman mask and costume. "So you can be anything you wanna be!"
Things at Comic Con get surreal in a hurry.
Yeah, that's Kato Kaelin of OJ Simpson fame, leading the band in the Happy Days theme song at the convention entrance.
The show itself-- comic books and t-shirts and chachkies from movies and TV shows-- takes a backseat to the fans who arrive in full regalia.
They show up to show off.
"You can't go to Comic Con without a costume on," says Samantha Astley of Burlington, NJ, all decked out as Wonder Woman. "Had to fit in with everybody else."
Rachel Flanigan of Philadelphia looked like the joker on the back of a deck of playing cards. She's dressed as Harley Quinn of "Suicide Squad" fame. "There's people who recognize the character and they're like, 'hey Harley!' It's fun."
Philadelphians Dana and Chris Jorden are sister and brother.
She's a pastry chef and Lady Loki and he's a photographer and a mash-up of Spider Man and Captain America.
"The first Comic Con that I went to," says Dana, "I just did regular clothes and I saw everybody else getting dressed up and I thought, they looked like they're having twice as much fun as I am right now. So I'm gonna go ahead and dress up and pretty much never looked back from that."
"It's a pretty accepting community so I like that a lot," says Chris. "Kinda different from the outside world."
It would be easy to view these folks as escaping the real world.
Perhaps it's more accurate to say they're embracing their own.
"It gives me a reason to wear a costume on a normal basis," says Andy Turzanski of Northeast Philly, decked out as a rebel pilot from the Star Wars franchise (Episodes 4-6).
In the outside world, they frown on that, right?