This weekend the CON is ON! Nassau Coliseum brings back Eternal Con, Long Island’s pop culture convention Saturday and Sunday, where fans of comic books, film, TV, wrestling and cartoons come together to watch panels, shop at more than 200 vendors and meet celebrity guests, all under one roof.
“Our goal is to inspire a new generation of pop culture geeks,” says event founder Frank Patz. “We offer an intimate experience where you can speak to our celebrity guests one-on-one.”
Here are some of the stars on this year’s roster:
BILLY TUCCI (WRITER/ILLUSTRATOR)
Hailing from Bayport, this hometown comic book writer/illustrator is celebrating the 25th anniversary of his self-published comic, Shi, about a female samurai from New York City.
“Publishers told me, ‘Girl books don’t sell. You can’t have a lead female character.’ So I did it myself,” says Tucci, 52. “We ended up selling over 3 million copies in 10 years.”
PANEL Saturday on the Main Stage at 1 p.m.
MIKE ZECK (ILLUSTRATOR)
Drawing Batman, Captain America and The Punisher is just a taste of what Zeck has done in his storied career. However, he’s best known for creating Spider-Man’s famous black and white suit from Marvel’s Secret Wars No. 8.
“Spider-Man got his suit on an alien planet. My thrust was to do something streamlined,” says Zeck, 69. “Everybody thinks of a spider as a black insect so that’s how I started and then added the white elements.”
PANEL Saturday in Panel Room One at 1 p.m.
ANSON WILLIAMS (“HAPPY DAYS”)
Bring down your old “Happy Days” lunchboxes, board games, T-shirts, dolls and model cars to get signed by the man who played “Potsie Weber” on the hit ABC-TV show from 1974 to 1984.
“ ‘Happy Days’ showed the best of family values and priorities of friendship,” says Williams, 69. “It created a camaraderie around the TV set because it was relatable to both parents and kids.”
PANEL Saturday on the Main Stage at 3 p.m.
JAKE “THE SNAKE” ROBERTS (WRESTLER)
This infamous wrestling villain who rose to popularity in the 1980s used to bring a snake in the ring to intimidate his opponents. However, he has a confession.
“I’m terrified of snakes,” says Roberts, 64. “I’ve been bitten 25-30 times. Once, I had to get 35 stitches.”
Despite injuries, Roberts loved to go into battle.
“It’s the most amazing feeling to be in the ring and have total control over the emotions of the people watching you,” he says. “When the bell rang, I’d tap into the crowd’s energy and be on fire.”
PANEL Saturday on the Main Stage at 4 p.m.
EMILIO DELGADO (“SESAME STREET”)
Best known as “Luis,” Delgado spent 44 years on the legendary children’s program mixing it up with a cast of Muppets.
“Big Bird was always my favorite because he exemplified that child we were trying to get across to,” says Delgado, 79. “There was a sweetness and inquisitiveness to his character. My nickname for him was ‘pájaro,’ which means ‘bird’ in Spanish and it stuck.”
PANEL Sunday on the Main Stage at 2 p.m.
CAROLE & PAULA (“THE MAGIC GARDEN”)
Carole Demas and Paula Janis, who have been friends since age 14, got in front of a TV camera at WPIX in the '70s and entertained children with stories, skits and songs in “The Magic Garden.” Today they see those grown-up children at cons.
“It’s a dramatic experience to come face-to-face with the people you reached and hear how meaningful our show was to them,” says Demas, 79.
Janis, 78, adds, “They don’t just say hello. You get their life story encapsulated in three minutes that they’ve been waiting 40 years to tell you.”
PANEL Sunday on the Main Stage at 3 p.m.
WHEN | WHERE 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 22, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale
INFO 516-900-4748, eternalcon.com
ADMISSION $30 Saturday ($15 ages 8-12), $25 Sunday ($12 ages 8-12), $50 weekend pass ($25 child); children 8 and under are FREE, $5 parking
Noon on Saturday — Power Rangers Q&A
2 p.m. on Saturday – L.I. Geek presents Wheel of Fandom! game show
5 p.m. Saturday — Cosplay Cabaret
6 p.m. on Saturday — Cosplay Contest
Noon on Sunday — Kids Cosplay Contest
1 p.m. on Sunday — Jedi Academy