Traveler, writer, reviewer, all-round observer. I like anything cool & fast, but occasionally sit at a cafe watching the world go by.
When I first heard of the Eternal Con, my eyes widened with exhilaration. Especially after I found out that Frank Patz – founder of Eternal Collectors – had put this Expo together on extremely short notice. It was officially announced in March that in 3 months time the first annual Eternal Con, featuring a vast array of pop culture from all types of media, would take place at the Cradle of Aviation Museum on Long Island, NY. I wasn’t sure what to expect – except for some fun-loving, costumed fans dressed up as their favorite characters, as well as some icons from the industry. This convention faced some definite obstacles, like the opening weekend of Man of Steel, Father’s Day weekend, and then there was the short notice.
On the other hand: It was opening weekend for Man of Steel (after all, it goes hand-in-hand with this event), it was Father’s Day weekend (what father wouldn’t want to share with his kids something as special as this, and not to mention the mother’s wanting to give a little gift to the father of their children), and to top it off, Frank Patz had managed to put together a long list of guests, exhibits, and specials during this one day event.
Putting together a team to represent Comics Crux, we managed to cover most of the event with exclusive interviews, tons of pictures, and insights to cover different aspects for our readers. Some of the people we had the pleasure of speaking with are icons in the industry, like Frank Patz himself, Billy Tucci (Shi), members of the 501st Legion, martial artist and actor Taimak Guarriello (The Last Dragon), the Zombie King – Arthur Suydam – as well as other experts such as Joe Ciminera, the folks at Pronto Comics and Silver Age Comics, and successful start-ups like Francis Bonnet of Suburban Fairy Tales, and MARS Photography.
To begin, I’ll confess that I dressed up in costume -well, sort of. I went as a 1950′s reporter -a camera in one hand, and a notepad in the other, I wore a white shirt, skinny tie, wingtip shoes, and a fedora hat with a label sticking up with the words “PRESS”. On three separate occasions throughout the day, people actually asked me if I were really with the Press or just dressed as one. Smiling and enjoying the moment, I said, “both.”
The line to get in was long -Frank Patz happily told me that he didn’t expect to have such a turn out. The expected numbers were about 1000 – after all, it’s just a one day event, and there was only 3 months of preparation. The count they wound up having was over 2000. Alluringly displayed, parked right outside the doors were a 1966 Batmobile replica, KITT from Knight Rider, and the Interceptor car from Mad Max. As I wandered inside, some guy dressed in a brown wool suit, bow tie, and sneakers quickly stopped me and demanded, “Quick, what year is this?!?” Thinking about my costume and looking the part, I hesitantly replied, “1954.” “Oh good, it’s not too late!” he said and ran off. I suddenly realized he was holding a sonic screwdriver. I saw him again later and asked if everything is okay now. He answered, “Do we still have Tuesdays?” “Yes, we do.” “Great, it worked!” And off he went looking for his TARDIS. My colleague and I glanced at each other and burst out laughing.
As I snapped away taking pictures, I was able to speak to some of the costumed fans. One impressive character was a Colonial Marine from Aliens – in uniform, carrying his gear and a massive gun (the very same type that attaches to your torso for support as you’re holding it up and moving around). I tried warning him that there was a ‘Facehugger’ on his shoulder, but he paid no mind. Matt Render donned the costume because he absolutely loves the Alien movies. In a previous Con, he dressed up as an Aliens Warrior. Putting the costume together was no easy task. It started as a scavenger hunt of sorts, collecting parts he found from around the world including Australia. Last year he joined the website The Aliens Legacy to share his interest and open up the discussion about the films, stories, costumes, etc.
Other great characters I met were Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Black Widow. Alisha Richard, aka Black Widow, has done several different costumes for the past 3 years. Her recent one was White Rabbit, and she is currently working on Cat Woman. Dean Amsler, aka Obi-Wan, is part of The 501st Legion and The Rebel Legion – worldwide organizations dedicated to Star Wars. He joined the organizations in 2005 in Rochester, NY. On occasion, he also dresses up as Anakin Skywalker (after he turned to the Dark Side of the Force) as part of the 501st, but today, with beard, robe, and light saber, he was Obi-Wan, part of The Rebel Legion. Having the pleasure to speak to this group, they informed me that this is an all-volunteer organization whose purpose is to promote interest in Star Wars. If you ever have the chance to look them up on youtube, some of their antics and play-actions are hilarious – you can also watch them, as well as get more information about this worldwide, huge but still growing group at their website.
One notable mention is Soviet costume-wearing character Ivan and his puppet General Grunt. Dressed in a Soviet-era high ranking official uniform, Chris Addolorato, aka Ivan, is an inspiring entertainer trying to get into mass media. He started his website, gogrunt.com, and has made several videos on youtube. His goal is to get on Comedy Central or Adult Swim.
I also managed take pictures of Iron Man, Captain America, Mario & Luigi, Darth Vader with his ominous shiny-black helmet (giving me a warning to respect the Force while menacingly holding his light saber) as well as Darth Vader without the helmet (scarred face and all), another Dr. Who, Boba Fett, the 501st Legion Storm Troopers, Star Wars forest Rebel soldiers posing next to an Ewok, the Ghostbusters gang, one of the Star Wars musicians from the Mos Eisley Cantina, G.I. Joe and Cobra members, Rorschach (Watchmen), Batman, Cat Woman, and a kid that was either confused or was his perspective of a future superhero -wearing an Iron Man mask, with a Superman shirt and comics-crux-eternal-con-ghostbusterscape, carrying the Captain America shield – I dubbed him ‘Captain Super Iron Man.’
I briefly mentioned above the Ghostbusters gang. This group, actually called The Real Ghostbusters of Long Island, started out doing something for fun in 2003, but turned out to do this for the good and betterment of humanity. The majority of their appearances are for charity. With 8 current members, they appear at Comic Cons and events, donating their proceeds to the March of Dimes, Sandy Relief Fund, The Wounded Warrior Project, Toys for Tots, and the list goes on. This July 13th, they will be appearing at the Long Island Toy Show, and in August at the Holbrook County Fair. For more information, you can visit their website.
At the end of the day, my team and I were exhausted. Wrapping it up, and gathering our belongings, it was time to go. Pausing outside, taking one last picture of Batman and Cat Woman posing in front of a Batmobile, we hesitated as we wanted to linger some more.
The event was a huge success and it’s a shame it lasted only one day. Congratulations Frank on your First Annual Eternal Con. We’re looking forward to seeing more of it in the years to come.
To see more pictures from this day, you can view them on my Pinterest, twitter, or Facebook album…