Dressing up as fictional characters, or cosplay as it’s commonly called, has been around for years – and the level of detail some people are able to achieve is truly staggering. From lifelike versions of Bumblebee to incredible zombie makeup effects, each year cosplayers bring their incredible imaginations to life at San Diego Comic-Con.

In 2013, a mind boggling 120,000 plus people attended Comic-Con over four days, making the possibility of seeing every cosplay outfit there impossible. We took dozens of photos (see them HERE) but right here we’ve decided to list what we consider the best of the best of this year’s batch. We’ve left off store bought costumes like Mario or Pikachu and professionally built costumes like the awesome Robot Suit built by the Stan Winston School and Legacy Effects and limited our picks to costumes that were either unique, funny, interesting or very well done.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Sharknado Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

This lady’s outfit wasn’t exactly the best built but she gets points for originality. We can honestly say this was the only Sharknado cosplay outfit we saw at the Con.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Darkwing Dark Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

OK, so this guy’s Darkwing Duck outfit isn’t put together in the highest quality manner, but we’ve got a soft spot for the anthropomorphic crime fighter. Plus, this was the only Darkwing Duck outfit we saw the entire time there – so that counts for something in our book.

You can see our Minimalist Darkwing Duck poster HERE or check out all 30 of them HERE.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Chewbacca Princess Leia Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

We know what you’re thinking, “Why didn’t you rate the Star Wars characters higher in your list?” The answer is pretty simple – while Chewbacca and Princess Leia look great (it’s the reason they’re on this list at all), they aren’t THAT original. In fact, there was a noticeable lack of Star Wars characters in general at the Con this year. We can count on two hands the number of Darth Vaders, Stormtroopers, Boba Fetts we saw, and unlike years past, we only saw two Slave Leias [sad face].

Chances are though, as the new Star Wars trilogy begins filming we could see a resurgence of Star Wars cosplay costumes in 2014.

Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Red Hiding Hood The Woodsman1 Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

With Hollywood’s recent attempt to capitalize on the stories from the Brothers Grimm –  Mirror, Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, Once Upon a Time and Grimm – people are now starting to dress like their favorite fairy tale characters. These two weren’t the only ones we saw dressed like Red Riding Hood and the Woodcutter but they were our favorite.

Contrary to popular belief, not every female cosplayer has to be dressed provocatively to be attractive and Red here proves that.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Jedi Elvis Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

This guy makes it into our list by combining two of our favorite things – Star Wars and Elvis. This was probably the only Jedi Elvis shaking his hips on the Con floor this year. We wonder what other Star Wars/musician mashups we might see next year – Stormtrooper Madonna, Cantina Band One Direction, or Jabba the Hut Katy Perry?

These are not the hips you’re looking for…thank ya very much!”

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Superman Supergirl Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

Both of these costumes were obviously store bought (we won’t venture to guess where he acquired the blowup doll) but Superman and Dead Supergirl make it onto our list for humor. This Man of Steel walked around the Con floor all day with this beat up Supergirl doll in his arms, stopping to cry for everyone that wanted to take his photo.

A guy dressed as Quasar was walking around with him but honestly, he just looked jealous that dead Supergirl was getting more attention than he was.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Captain Crunch Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

Another original costume idea makes it onto our favorites list this year in the form of one of the mascots of the second most delicious cereal ever made (everyone knows Froot Loops is the best) – Captain Crunch. It’s apparent that everything this guy is wearing is homemade but that’s OK because this was the only cereal-based icon we saw brought to life so he has originality on his side.

Maybe next year we can see someone dressed as Dig’em Frog, the Trix Rabbit or Tusk the Elephant from Cocoa Krispies?

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 George and Jane Jetson Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

Here’s another example of how less is more when it comes to cosplay costumes. While most middle-aged people who dress up are wearing outfits too tight or too “young” for them (60-something Wonder Woman or 40-something potbellied Wolverine aren’t that enjoyable to see) George and Jane Jetson as cute as a button while wearing age-appropriate outfits.

If my parents ever go with me to Comic Con, this is how I want them to dress.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Ash Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

While the recent Evil Dead remake didn’t include the character of Ashley J. Williams, “Ash” still remains one of the most iconic horror heroes of all time, which is why you’ll see plenty of people dressed up as him all around the Con. This guy was our favorite and was remarkably accurate in his recreation of  Bruce Campbell’s look from Evil Dead 2, minus the “Boomstick”.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Daenerys Targaryen Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

While this girl dressed as Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones is just about spot on, it’s her boyfriend dressed as her “dragon” photobombing over her shoulder where a dragon would normally rest in the show that puts them on our favorites list.

He may look more like Elliot from Pete’s Dragon than Drogon, Rhaegal or Viserion but humor plays a big part in our decision to include them in the top ten.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Hunter S. Thompson Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

This guy dressed as Hunter S. Thompson from The Rum Diaries get points for originality, obscurity and humor. In a sea of people dressed as Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Batman not many even knew who he was and he was shocked when we stopped to take his photo. Such a shame too, because he embodied Johnny Depp’s recreation of the drunken Thompson perfectly.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Tinkerbell and Friends Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

These young adults were just too stinking cute all dressed up as the magical inhabitants of Pixie Hollow –  Rosetta, Bobble, Tinkerbell and Fawn. While most cosplayers take some sort of fighting stance or grimace when their picture is taken, these four have bright, beautiful smiles on their faces that just light up everything around them.

Shout out to my 11 year old daughter for identifying these fairies for me.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Invisible Man Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

Making his way into our top 4 was this guy’s (girl’s?) fantastic take on The Gentleman Ghost. He’s an obscure super villain character from DC Comics who made his first appearance in 1947.

If you can’t tell by now, obscure character costumes win us over every time.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Deadly Nadder and Hiccup Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

This was one of the more incredible homemade (allegedly) costumes we saw this year at Comic Con. We found Deadly Nadder and Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon hanging out under the historic Gaslamp District sign on 5th Avenue and they had a flock of people gathered around, clamoring to have their picture taken with the winged beast and his human friend.

We can see why, as just about everything on this costume moved – eyes, mouth, wings, tail and it walked rather easily.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Galactus Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

This Galactus cosplay costume is ripped right from the pages of The Fantastic Four comics and represents the “Devourer of Worlds” better than the giant ball of space gas ever did in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Kudos to this guy for giving his outfit scale by including his indentured herald, the Silver Surfer, on his left shoulder while holding the earth in his right hand.

We can safely place his originality and ingenuity in the number two spot of our list.

Favorite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Various World of Warcraft Characters Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

Even though Comic Con is 90 percent related to comic books, movies and TV shows, there is still a large percentage of characters from video games present at the event. These homemade (again allegedly) costumes from World of Warcraft were by far the best we saw during our entire time at the Con.

Two of the characters from the game are easy to identify – Illidan Stormrage in the top left and Moonkin the Owlbear in the bottom right – but the rest appear to be one offs, resembling other characters from the game.

Favoite Comic Con Cosplay 2013 Despicable Me Minions Our 16 Favorite Cosplay Costumes of Comic Con 2013

You’ll notice there was a lack of actual superhero costumes in our list this year and that was intentional on our part. There are only so many Batman, Superman, Wolverine, Cyclops and Rogue costumes bought from the internet we can stand.

They all start to look alike, so we made the conscious decision to leave them out. That doesn’t mean we  didn’t like them, as we included plenty in our all-encompassing gallery.

Be sure to check out our other Comic Con-related galleries as well:

General Cosplay Costumes

The Babes of Cosplay

Sights of Comic Con

Follow me on Twitter – @MoviePaul – and tell me who or what you would dress up as for Comic Con.