From overt sexism in comics (think flesh-baring outfits and over-sexualised body shapes) to more subtle exclusions in gaming (the 2014 instalment of Assassin's Creed didn't feature playable female characters because the director said it would "double the work" for the game's designers), you'd be forgiven for assuming that Comic Con is a male-dominated space.
However, much like the world of sneakerheads, women, the LGBTQI+ community and non-binary people have been working to fight the notion that nerding out over your favourite anime or Marvel comic is solely a man's game. Twenty-one-year-old Indian artist Shreya Arora was celebrated last year for her refresh of sexist comic book covers (like a nude and seductively posed She-Hulk...), and organisations like Women in Comics are ensuring that the pop culture space is "diversified one panel at a time".
Whether it's subverting male characters in Red Dead Redemption or paying homage to cult female characters (hi, Pokémon's Nurse Joy!), Comic Con, the biannual event that brings together fans of all kinds, is teeming with rad people who make their costumes from scratch and have found their offline community.
We sent photographer Ellie Smith down to the event to meet the coolest fans Comic Con had to offer. Click through to meet them.