San Diego Mayor, aka “Captain Kevin James Tiberius Kirk Faulconer” kicked off Comic Con 2016 Thursday morning as the crew of the Starship Enterprise, who looked suspiciously like city officials, stood in front of the Convention Center where Councilman Todd “Mr. Spock” Gloria’s pointy ears was seen being tickled by a Tribble.
Faulconer welcomed the 135,000 plus attendees to the 47th annual pop culture extravaganza as well as the thousands of others who flocked, time traveled, or otherwise transported themselves to America’s Finest City for the phenomenon otherwise known as Comic Con.
“We’ve been in orbit for a day a two,” one space costumed man was heard saying to another.
“We are ready to take this convention where no convention has gone before,” said Faulconer, who was sporting a yellow commander’s Star Trek shirt.
The enthusiastic crowds were out in in force early Thursday as they made their way to whatever event was striking their fantasy fancy.
As the mayor and others spoke, a crush of men, women and children dressed as everything from video game characters to caped superheroes were passing by in the already hot and sticky morning weather.
“This event is so important for our neighborhoods,” said Gloria, who remarked that the event will generate some $3 million for the city coffers.
“That’s our road payment money, that’s our police money, that’s our library money,” the councilman said.
LeeAnna Vamp, an actress and model from Los Angeles and who sported vampire teeth she said she wears regularly, came to the show dressed as the character Dark Helmet from the movie “Spaceballs.”
This is the 15th time Vamp has been to the convention, which she said “feels like home,” though she said it was “crazy” that celebrating pop culture could bring people from all over the world together. “I love it.” she said.
Not far away, Calvin Bunton, 25, waited for his mom and sister, who both traveled with him from Phoenix to attend the con.
Dressed as Doctor Eggman, the villain in the Sonic the Hedgehog game series, Bunton said it was his mom who instigated the trip. He said the family had their eyes on some Godzilla collectibles they were hoping to pick up and that his mom, who is in her 50s, hoped to get her “tokidoki” skateboard signed.
Thursday’s schedule has plenty on tap, including a Marvel X-Men panel, an appearance by the cast of “Silicon Valley,” a talk by “Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman and a showing of a special 5-minute Star Trek celebration video.
Comic Con spokesman David Glanzer, who stood out because he was wearing a suit and tie, also spoke to the crowd. “San Diego is truly America’s Finest City,” he said. “May you live long and prosper.”