"It's an idea of empowerment," says the woman dressed as Captain America. "You get to be a different person for a day."

Reason TV ventured to Comic-Con International in San Diego to check out the booming culture of cosplay, in which people dress up as their favorite superheroes, literary figures, or fantasy icons. Why do cosplayers dedicate so much time, money, and energy to their alter egos? It's fun, they say, and it's a powerful form of self-expression.

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About 2:30 minutes.

Produced by Tracy Oppenheimer. Camera by Zach Weissmueller, Alexis Garcia, and Oppenheimer.

Music by Blarsa, "Garden Party"; Giftedbuttwisted, "Ice Cream Man 2"; Solmire, "Batman Going Underground"; "Game of Thrones T1"