BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Local comic book fans and cosplay enthusiasts have a reason to celebrate as the second annual Wintercon: New York Comic and Sci-Fi Expo prepares to open at Resorts World Casino, located at 110-00 Rockaway Blvd. in South Ozone Park.
The convention will run from Saturday, Dec. 5, through Sunday, Dec. 6, and will feature a variety of special performances, costume contests, vendors, seminars and discussion panels.
The convention will feature a host of celebrities from television, movies and pop culture available for autographs and photo ops. Notable guests include wrestling legends Mick Foley, King Kong Bundy and Tito Santana, actors Steve Guttenberg and Michael Wright, and actress Nichelle Nichols, best known for her groundbreaking role as Lt. Uhura on the original 1960s “Star Trek” television series.
Guests are encouraged to come in costume and compete for big prizes during the Masquerade Cosplay Contest. The competition will include a pre-judging session and a catwalk display of the cosplayers’ original creations. Prizes will be awarded for excellence in craftsmanship in one of two categories: cosplay skits and costume contest.
This year’s Masquerade Cosplay Contest panel of judges will include celebrated cosplay stars Jennifer Rose, Ruby Rinekso and YaYa Han, star of the SyFy Network reality show “Heroes of Cosplay.” The expo will also feature special appearances from other cosplay groups, including the New York Cosplayer Network, Team Takeo Cosplay, Detty Cosplay, Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club and a network of Star Wars super fans known as the 501st Legion.
In celebration of the new “Star Wars” blockbuster set to debut later in the month, the convention will also feature a special appearance by actor Jeremy Bulloch, best known for his role as Boba Fett in the original trilogy. The main stage will also feature a performance by local Star Wars group New York Jedi, as well as a lightsaber performance by Empire Saber Guild.
Comic book art historian Arlen Schumer will host a special presentation based on his new book, “The Silver Age of Comic Book Art,” which highlights the evolution of comics amid the turbulence of the 1960s. Comic book historian Peter Sanderson will also be on hand to deliver a presentation about Marvel Comics’ first 75 years. A panel of comic book veterans, including Mark Mazz, Nelson Decastro, Tom DeFalco and Elaine Atkins Manley, will host a special “Careers in Comic Books” forum.
Sunday, Dec. 6, will be Kids Day at Wintercon. Children under 12 years old pay half admission. Special arts and crafts activities will be available courtesy of the Girl Scout project. Children will also be able to have their portraits taken with Santa Claus, as well as their favorite sci-fi characters. The Saber Guild Padawan Training Institute is offering free lightsabers and Jedi training to children between the ages of 4 and 15. Prizes will also be awarded during a special kids costume contest.
One-day tickets start at around $20 per adult and rise to $85 for a weekend VIP pass. Free parking and complimentary Resorts World shuttle bus service will be offered from Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn.
Tickets for Wintercon 2015 can be purchased here.