When Christina Tilley entered the Portland Expo Sunday morning, heads turned and people clapped.

That is because she was dressed as Wyldstyle, a mini-figure from “The LEGO Movie” in a costume concocted from paper mache and duct tape by her husband, Darren.

Tilley said although it was a little warm inside her towering get-up, she felt great walking around.

“Everything is awesome because I am pretty short,” Tilley said.

Tilley was among hundreds of people dressed up as comic book figures and movie characters at the Portland Comic Expo Sunday at the Portland Exposition Building. It was like Halloween, only six days early.

The Expo, in its second year, was organized by Casablanca Comics, which has stores in Portland and Windham. The event reflects the growing interested in comics and dressing up, said Rick Lowell, who owns Casablanca Comics with his wife, Laura O’Meara. Lowell while there has been a strong interest in comic books for decades, the dressing up for conventions started about five years ago.

“There are people who make their living dressing up,” said Lowell.

The Expo featured 90 displays, including comic book artists demonstrating their drawing skills and vendors selling an assortment of comic-related items. Lowell said he expected more than 2,000 people to attend.

Entire families showed up, all attired in costumes, to see and be seen as they strolled the aisles of merchandise or took part in special programs, such as a sneak peak of “sHERlock: the web series,” a new adaptation of Sherlock Holmes, the fictional sleuth created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The expo featured a costume contest, cartooning workshops and painting demonstrations.

Ryuu Lavitz of Boston modeled her White Mage costume from the Final Fantasy Tactics video games while selling a line of clothing accessories and photographs of herself in costumes. Lavitz said she has about 30 different costumes that she started wearing because she was bored with regular clothes. She said she didn’t realize at first what she was doing was called cosplay, the practice of costume role playing.

“I didn’t realize a lot of people do this,” said Lavitz.

Ashlee Cust of Biddeford, son, Zackary Godin, 6, and husband, Damien, were dressed as characters from the Batman comics.

“I dress up a lot, ” said Zachary.

The Maine Ghostbusters also showed up. The group of six people from across the state raises money for the Center for Grieving Children by dressing up as the comedy film characters who wage a crusade against the supernatural. Justin Hamner of Rumford has customized his car to look like the Ghostbustermobile.

“It’s my daily driver, but it all comes off,” said Hamner said of the car’s Ghostbuster accouterments.

The Wampa Clan, the Maine chapter of Mandalorian Mercs Costuming Club, an international organization based on the Star Wars characters, set up a booth. Like the Ghostbusters, the group raises money for children’s causes.

“We make sure kids who are underprivileged get presents,” said Ian Anderson of Brewer.

 


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