Winter Con Comic and Sci-Fi Showcase Debuts at Resorts World Casino

Winter Con Comic and Sci-Fi Showcase Debuts at Resorts World Casino

Zach Bravo (r.) met with Marvel's Captain America on Saturday at the inaugural Winter Con expo at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park. Photo By Richard Valencia

Zach Bravo (r.) met with Marvel’s Captain America on Saturday at the inaugural Winter Con expo at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park.
Photo By Richard Valencia

For comic and sci-fi fans who couldn’t get enough at the recent Comic Con event in Manhattan, Winter Con, the comic and sci-fi expo, landed at Resorts World Casino in South Ozone Park on Saturday, featuring an array of comic artists, celebrities, vendors and attendees decked-out in their favorite comic character costumes.

Billed as the newest and largest such convention in the New York area, Winter Con’s inaugural event drew several thousand comic, sci-fi and cosplay (costume play) fans.

Special guests included Yaya Han, a popular costume designer, model and cosplay entertainer who stars in the Syfy Channel’s docu-series, “Heroes of Cosplay;” Brian O’Halloran, star of the popular “Clerks” movies; as well as an eclectic assortment of ECW wrestlers, comic book artists and illustrators. Frank Patz, a Queens-native who studied film-making and production at New York University, is a co-promoter/founder of Winter Con, said that the show was basically modeled after the larger Comic Con show.

“It’s more intimate, but we still have all the main elements such as cosplay, comic books, sci-fi and tons of collectibles,” he said. Patz, who also is behind the annual Long Island Comic Con event Eternal Con, said that he’s been promoting similar events for the past 15 years but “always wanted to do a show [in Queens],” he said.

Among the numerous attendees dressed as their favorite comic book characters was Rafael

Vargas, 30, an employee of Brookdale Hospital and resident of Ozone Park, who was in character as Venom, one of Spider-Man’s fiercest enemies.

“This is my first show dressing up, but it’s great. I’m nervously excited,” said Vargas, whose words were muffled by his mask. “It’s awesome to see all these artists come together. It gives people who are into comics and sci-fi a reason to leave their house.”

In addition to cosplay and sci-fi fans , scores of comic book dealers, artists and illustrators also attended Winter Con.

Vincent Zurzolo, who grew-up in Rockaway Beach and now heads Metropolis Collectibles, one of the world’s largest dealers of vintage comic books and original comic art, said that he came to the show mainly to meet with Queens’ comic customers, collectors and fans.

“It’s a very nice show and our first in Queens,” Zurzolo said. “The comics market in Queens is great and this show drew dealers from across the country, including North Carolina and Michigan.

Noting that Wintercon was “mostly a comic convention,” Zurzolo said that elements such as cosplay, sci-fi and pop-culture are also very important.

“You need the costumes, they add the ‘geek aspect’ to it,” he noted.

O’Halloran, who said he appeared at NY Comic Con about two years ago, was on-hand to meet fans, sign autographs and plug some upcoming projects. He gave Winter Con a big thumbs-up.

“I like the layout, there’s plenty of room for fans and Resorts World is close to all mass-transit,” he said. “Next year, they should make it two-day event.”

The veteran actor/director’s upcoming projects include “Hindsight 2020,” a political thriller now in post-production; a soon-to-launch podcast on director Kevin Smith’s network called “The OHalloRant;” and

O’Halloran said he will being shooting “Clerks 3” in June 2015. The sequel will likely hit theaters by 2016.

Asked about his autograph seekers at the show, he said, “I get a lot of ‘Clerks’ fans, they’re very devout.”

Zach Bravo, 18, a Richmond Hill native who attends LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts, said he was impressed by Winter Con.

“I liked how Winter Con had the guest panels and the booths showing off awesome toys, props and most importantly comic books,” Bravo said. “I also like that it’s located in Queens.”

Asked about his own interest in cosplay, Bravo said he’s now a passionate fan.

“I’m really into cosplay now, I even dabble in putting together my own costumes,” he said.

Other cosplay characters included Batman and Harley Quinn, the Joker’s girlfriend, Blackbeard the Pirate, and Cammy White from the “Street Fighter” series.

By Alan Krawitz


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