BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Comic book fans, sci-fi enthusiasts, gamers, cosplayers and pop culture aficionados gathered at Resorts World Casino in Ozone Park over the weekend to celebrate the second annual WinterCon: New York Comic and Sci-Fi Expo.
Costumed convention-goers dressed up as their favorite heroes and villains, with many striking poses for photos with fellow fans. An array of celebrities, including legendary “Star Trek” actress Nichelle Nichols and SyFy Network “Heroes of Cosplay” star YaYa Han, greeted eager fans. Wrestling legend Mick Foley dressed up as Santa Claus and posed for photos with fans for a charitable donation.
The action on the main stage included a host of panels, workshops and performances, including an action-packed battle from “Star Wars” groups New York Jedi and the Empire Saber Guild. Cosplayers took to the stage on Saturday for the Masquerade Cosplay Contest, which included original skits and a fashion show.
In advance of the theatrical premiere of the eagerly anticipated “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” local cosplay and prop organizations Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club and the 501st Legion created an interactive display for “Star Wars” fans featuring a recreation of the Sarlacc pit, as well as a life-sized version of Han Solo frozen in carbonite.
Hundreds of comic book, collectibles and merchandise vendors filled the floor of the convention, selling everything from handmade goods and accessories to hard-to-find back issues of comics and trade paperbacks. Scores of artists were also on hand to display and sell prints of their original artwork inspired by comics and pop culture.
WinterCon organizers Michael Carbonaro and Frank Patz will host their next comic book convention, Big Apple Con, in Manhattan on March 5, 2016.