IT was a parallel universe of superheroes and villains, many in dazzling costumes...

For several hours on Saturday, Carlisle’s Richard Rose Central Academy was turned into a goldmine for lovers of fantasy and video gaming as fans immersed themselves into the imaginary lives and fantastical characters they love.

They came from across Cumbria to take part.

For many, the Carlisle Megacon event is a chance to meet like-minded people - and show off the fruits of their hard work.

Among the more eye-catching costumes was that worn by 13-year-old Harvey Morrison, impressively playing the part of Groot, the living tree from the film Guardians of the Galaxy.

It was the result of weeks of ten-hour working days - and a 24-hour effort, by Harvey’s mum Emily. “I was working on it until 3.45am this morning,” she said.

She explained: “This was his dream so I did it. It’s the most sowing I’ve ever done.”

Dad Kelvin, 43, took on the cooking to give Emily the time to complete the project.

Just as impressive was the outfit created by Workington based textiles teacher Corinne Carrick, 37.

The mum-of-three created a replica of the clothes worn by the Phantom Menace Star Wars heroine Padme Amidala.

“She stood out in the film,” said the mum-of-three.

“She was glamorous and flamboyant. Of all the Star Wars woman, she had the nicest dresses.

“This costume has taken months and months of work, but I teach textiles and I’ve loved making it. I love making things and I’m also passionate about film and TV, so this event brings all of those things together.”

For eye-catching attention to detail it was hard to beat Wigton woman Katrina Jackson-Dugdale, who came as Killer Frost, radiating definite chill.

She travelled to the event ‘in character’ on the bus. “I got quite a few stares from the older people on the bus,” she said.

She explained how a friend once gave her the nickname Caitlin Snow, referring to the original name that was taken by the supervillain she was impressively impersonating.

The event brought together two versions of the fantasy DC comic character Bombshell Harley Quinn. “I love her bright colours and crazy hair,” said student Kelina Marshall, 18.

“It brings a little bit of colour to life. I was always told I had a crazy imagination.”

“Before I was interested in cosplay, I was shy, and couldn’t talk to people.This gives you confidence.”

Also at the event as Bombshell Harley Quinn - this time on roller-blades - was 15-year-old Aimee Byrne.

“It does help your self-confidence,” she said.

“Once you’re in here, it’s all one big massive family and you meet new friends.”

Nathaniel Crabtree, 20, from Bassenthwaite, came as Game of Thrones hero Jon Snow.

“I like making people smile,” said the charity worker.

“I’ve been doing this for a couple of years. You get a lot of fun and friendship out of it.”

One of the youngest taking part, supported by dad William, was nine-year-old Annan schoolgirl Emily Harrison, who arrived as a real life Hatsune Miku - a blue-haired Japanese heroin of video games.

“I like to look out for people’s different creations,” she said.

The event began in 2011.

Organiser Levi McGlinchey described it as a “nerdy gathering”, attended by scores of creative, arty, lovers of sci-fi fantasy. As well as costume play (cosplay), there were numerous stalls, comics, workshops, console competitions, trading card tournaments, and much more.