Chewbacca, all 7 feet, 9 inches of him, towered above a throng of fellow comic book and sci-fi aficionados Sunday at the Philadelphia Comic Con at the Convention Center.

Surely, he was on stilts? It had to be really hot in that costume.

Martin Mill, 37, the Star Wars devotee encased in all that brown fur, merely groaned in that strangely moving, mournful Wookiee way that made Chewie so lovable.

Like his favorite character, the event photographer from Reading is a man of few words.

His companion, Delaware County middle school teacher Tim Levan, 32, came as a rebel troop leader - you know, the brave men and women who have vowed to destroy Darth Vader and his evil empire.

"But I'm not just any rebel soldier," said Levan, a member of Rebel Legion, an international Star Wars costuming organization that he said had 3,000 members.

"I'm actually the very first guy who gets killed in Episode Four. (That's the 1977 classic, Star Wars Episode IV - A New Hope to the uninitiated.)

Levan's extensive knowledge of Star Wars minutiae was impressive, if a bit freaky. It's what separates the lay person from hard-core fans, whether their passion of choice is Star Trek (not to forget its many spin-offs), Batman, Superman, Wolverine, X-Men, or any of the dozens of comics, TV shows, movies, and games represented at the 10th annual Comic Con.

The celebration of all things pop culture, which organizers estimated drew 30,000 fans over its three days, ended Sunday.

"These events are a dream come true for me," said Gareb Shamus, founder and chief executive officer of Wizard World Entertainment, which produced the event, one of nearly a dozen it puts on around the country.

The New York native, who described himself as "Tom Hanks in the movie Big - a little kid in a grown-up body," founded Wizard magazine in 1991 while working at his mother's comic-book shop.

"It started as a newsletter for the store, and people liked it so much, it turned in a magazine." In 2000, the company began producing conventions.

Shamus, 41, said he was particularly proud of this year's celebrity guests, who included Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation, X-Men); Adam West, who played Batman in the campy 1960s TV show; Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead, Army of Darkness); and Brady Bunch star Christopher Knight.

Gil Gerard, 67, best known in the title role in the TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, said he was excited to be back in Philly.

"When I was a beginning actor in 1970, I starred in the first dinner-theater show in Philly," said the Little Rock native, who lives in Atlanta with his wife, Janet. "It was a production of I Do! I Do! at the Marriott on City Line Avenue."

Gerard said he was writing a series of four Buck Rogers novels that would provide "an alternative story line than the show."

Tara Ocello and Dan Roth, who run the fan blog "BuffyFest" (http://buffyfest.blogspot. com), said they had driven down from New York to see James Marsters, who played a baddie vampire in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

"The blog follows everything related to [Buffy creator] Joss Whedon, including Firefly, Angel, Dr. Horrible . . . anything he's done," said Ocello, a graphic designer in her "late 20s."

She said the blog, founded in 2008, had grown out of an annual Buffy costume bash she threw with her friends. It was a chance to experiment with Buffy cocktails, she said, including the Vampire's Kiss (Chambord, Champagne, and blood orange juice).

Lansdowne's Nate Pero, 27, came to see Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson - and to get the word out about his 20-member fan organization, Philadelphia Ghostbusters.

Pero, a doctoral student in psychology, was in full ghost-busting regalia. He said members of PG dressed up to raise money for charities, including Autism Speaks.

"We decided we could do a lot of good with our geekiness," he said.

Professional wrestler and actor Eric "The Smoke" Moran, of Mount Airy, was in full regalia as Captain Marvel nemesis Black Adam.

"What can I say? I'm a sci-fi geek," said Moran, 35, a former Marine who served in Operation Desert Shield. His girlfriend, Yahné Green, 37, nodded. Green, a third-grade teacher from Yeadon, was dressed as Black Adam enemy Mary Marvel.

Geekdom doesn't preclude love, as the many couples and families at the Comic Con attested. Porphyria Suicide, 22, of Bergen County, N.J., who staffed the booth belonging to the alternative adult lifestyle website SuicideGirls.com, said comic conventions were no longer a male-only event and attracted a growing number of female fans.

But, she said, she was there for the guys.

"It's a great place for girls . . . who are into nerdy guys."

Contact staff writer Tirdad Derakhshani at 215-854-2736

or tirdad@phillynews.com.