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At Eternal Con, fans pay tribute to Adam West, Batmobile

Comics, sci-fi and pop culture character enthusiasts came ready to live out their imaginations and showed off the art of costuming at the annual Eternal Con on Saturday, July 1, 2017.  (Credit: Newsday / Jeffrey Basinger)

There was one draw above all others at Eternal Con for Justin Restifo of Levittown: the 1966 Batmobile.

“It’s one of the most iconic cars ever made,” said Restifo, 38, staring reverently at the convertible’s sleek black body stamped with red Batman logos.

“I would love to take this thing out.”

He was one of thousands to descend on the new Nassau Coliseum on Saturday for the annual celebration of comic books, fantasy, sci-fi and other pop culture subgenres.

Organizers estimated that more than 10,000 people will attend the fifth annual convention this weekend, drawn from across the Eastern Seaboard by a deep roster of celebrities and vendors, a long slate of panels and events, a tribute banner for the late TV “Batman” — actor Adam West — and a chance to revel in shared passions, however eccentric.

“Geek is hip, finally!” proclaimed Spat Oktan, one of the event’s coordinators.

“It’s safe here to be whatever you want to be,” he added, as a man in a full-sized shark costume waddled by.

Siblings Emily and Steve Burch of Bristol, Connecticut, were among many who turned up at the Uniondale venue in costumes inspired by “Star Wars,” but few had been as carefully and lovingly crafted as theirs.

Emily, 30, spent weeks creating her linen-and-cotton recreation of the outfit worn by Rey, the protagonist of the recent “Star Wars” films, and even longer making her brother’s stiff pea green get-up as an Imperial line officer.

“She talked me into it,” said Steve, 35, shifting his weight between heavy black boots.

“He’s a good big brother!” she replied.

A kaleidoscopic array of goods were for sale at hundreds of booths — including comic books, artwork, stuffed animals, and bobblehead dolls.

“There are a lot of die-hard collectors,” said Andrew Hazen, 44, of Jericho, who owns a bobblehead manufacturing company, as dozens of miniature Batman, Donald Trump and Betty Boop figurines nodded in apparent agreement in his booth around him.

A major appeal for some was the chance to meet celebrities such as David Harris, who acted in the 1979 cult classic movie “The Warriors” about belligerent gangs in New York City.

“I met one guy who saw the movie over 2,000 times!” Harris said of a previous public appearance. “It’s fun to come out and meet the fans.”

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