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Sci-fi and cosplay fans turn up for 8th annual Winter Con in South Ozone Park

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Cosplayers attend Winter Con at Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park on March 12, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Winter Con returned for the eighth year to the Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park on March 12 and 13.

The event featured two days of sci-fi stars of today and yesterday; panels with Q&A sessions; cosplay; celebrities; and vendors.

The fiction fans — many of them dressed up as their favorite characters — had the chance to chat with some of the artists, illustrators and writers who had prominently displayed their work in the Wintercon Artist Alley or to meet their favorite sci-fi actors.

Paul Varrachi, who hails from New York City, had a replica revolver from the movie “Tombstone” signed by Michael Biehn, who portrayed Johnny Ringo in the 1993 Western.

Paul Varacchi and “Aliens” Michael Biehn attend Winter Con at Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park on March 12, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

He thought it “pretty awesome” to talk to an actor who stared in what many believe is the greatest Western ever made.

“He [Michael Biehn] plays one of the greatest bad guys ever in this movie,” Varrachi said. “So it’s a pretty iconic role, pretty iconic movie, and then to have a replica pistol that was from his collection to have him sign it, and then for him to immediately recognize the pistol was also very cool.”

Mykal McCulloch and his brother Eric came all the way from Pennsylvania. Despite treacherous weather conditions, they had left early in the morning to meet their childhood hero.

“We grew up with these characters and these actors. And I had to be here,” Mykal McCulloch said. “I’ve never met them before, and childhood wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t actually meet him first.”

Celebrity guest Nick Castle, who portrayed “Halloween’s” Michael Meyer, attends Winter Con at Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park on March 12, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Legendary Nick Castle, who played everyone’s favorite slasher Michael Myers in John Carpenter’s 1978 horror film “Halloween,” said it was great to be back and say hi to the fans — something that he had missed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Castle shared that no one had expected the movie to become a blockbuster. Originally “Halloween” was supposed to be called the “Baby Sitter Murders.”

“And that’s really as deep as it really started out,” Castle chuckled. “John hit lightning in a bottle, and him and Deborah came up with a script that resonated. Tommy Wallace, the production designer, found the mask, a William Shatner mask, and converted it turned into this crazy iconic character. So you got to get lucky sometimes.”

When asked why he thinks the horror classic is still drawing such a large fan base over 40 years later, he said it was mind-boggling that the film was still getting so much adulation.

“For some people, it’s the first time they ever got scared, really scared,” he explained. “It becomes a primal link to your mortality somehow. And then some people just have fun with these kinds of things, you know, so it’s mind-boggling, really.”

“Halloween” fan Steven Barbato and Nick Castle, who portrayed Michael Meyers in the horror classic, attend Winter Con at Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park on March 12, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Michael Monsanto from Bayshore, Long Island, said he tried to go to every local show and meet the “heroes of the past.” He had a bunch of photos signed by the legend.

“They’re always so nice to speak to and it’s nice to see the people that you see on the screen,” Monsanto said.

Friends Steven Barbato and Felix Bones III were dressed from head to toe in “Halloween” swag. Barbato was about 4 or 5 when he saw “Halloween” for the first time and said Michael Meyers had been his “favorite” slasher ever since.

“The original from ’97 is my favorite one of all times,” Barbato said. “I must have seen over 1,000 times. Every time I see it, it’s like I’m watching it for the first time.”

Bones said he was 13 when he saw “Halloween” for the first time.

“It just gets better the more I watch it,” Bones said. “Because every time I watch it, there’s little things I don’t notice [before], and then I do.”

Shinnequa Clemente of Sheek Visual Arts attends Winter Con at Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park on March 12, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Shinnequa Clemente of Sheek Visual Arts was one of the artists displaying her work in the event’s Artists Alley.

The high school art teacher and Hofstra graduate shared that her stories tend to deal with children and she’s currently working on a children’s comic book about a young boy.

“I’m inspired by them,” the cartoon illustrator said. “The cuteness of them, like this little boy’s story. I got a whole story.”

Besides producing the past few years, “Alien’s” Ricco Ross also stars in the movie “Do Something,” about three generations of Black female activists. The film has already won multiple awards and was shot during the pandemic.

“Half of it was done with cell phones, but that’s in the story. So it works,” Ross explained. ” And during the time when they were doing all the marches and everything, we were capitalizing on that, so we got great production for that. So it’s good stuff.”

“Aliens” Ricco Ross attends Winter Con at Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park on March 12, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Denise Crosby, who, among others, played Lieutenant Tasha in “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and Mary in “The Walking Dead,” said it was great to see people coming back together. The actress had just returned from a seven-day “Star Trek” cruise in the Caribbean.

“It was so much fun, and people were so joyful and happy to be out with each other and it was it was great,” Crosby said.

She thought it was wonderful that the sci-fi classic was still popular among all ages.

“It’s such a profound message that people get from this show: That there will be a future, the future will be better, not dystopian, like so many are, and that we actually improve as a species,” Crosby said. “That’s an inherently positive message.”

“Star Trek: The Next Generation” actress Denise Crosby attends Winter Con at Resorts World NYC in South Ozone Park on March 12, 2022. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

See more photos below from the eighth annual Winter Con event.

 

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