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Holding out for a superhero at Comic Con Belfast

Brian Campbell

Sun 3 May 2015 - Tony Stark look-a-like Austin Flanagan, who also owns a comic book shop in Belfast, at Sunday's Comic Con event at the King's Hall. Picture: Cliff Donaldson.

SEEING The Joker pay his taxi fare outside The King's Hall and spotting Spider-Man having a pint of beer inside the venue can only one thing - Comic Con is in town.

The annual San Diego festival has spawned similar comic book/sci-fi/superhero conventions all over the world and over the weekend the MCM Comic Con came to Belfast for the second year.

While many of the estimated 5,000 visitors queued to pay £20 for a photo with actors Katrina Law (Arrow, Spartacus) and John Noble (Sleepy Hollow, Lord of the Rings), many were surprised to see EastEnders stars Shane Richie and Jessie Wallace also posing for pictures. Richie had announced his arrival with his Twitter post on Friday, “Hello Belfast, where's the craic?”

People of all ages were having plenty of craic in The King's Hall yesterday, with people dressed variously as Iron Man, Batman, Stormtroopers, Harry Potter and Hit-Girl from Kick-Ass.

Austin Flanagan, from Belfast, runs his own comic book shop so he was in his element at Comic Con and came dressed as Iron Man/Tony Stark.

“I think I have a resemblance to Tony Stark and Iron Man has been my favourite character since I was a kid, so [the costume] was a no-brainer,” he said.

“It's nice to have the Con coming to Belfast. It's nice for the city to have events like this and it's all about soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying it.”

Donna Dornan, from Castlewellan, came dressed as Batgirl.

“I also dress as a Jedi but Batgirl is my favourite. When you're a Jedi nobody really wants a photo with you,” she laughs.

Many took photos in front of `star cars' The General Lee (The Dukes of Hazzard) and Bumblebee (Transformers).

Sci-fi writer Jo Zebedee was promoting her book Abendau's Heir – “a grim dark Star Wars” – and said Comic Con was for adults and children alike.

“You can have dark stuff and you can also have stuff like Guardians of the Galaxy. And the dressing up appeals to people.”

US actress Katrina Law told fans she was so busy signing autographs and getting photos taken that she had only got to see “a two-block radius of Belfast”, but said that the city had “wonderful rain and fantastic Guinness”.

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