We’re breaking with tradition here to interview the man responsible for creating a diverse and engaging show in the wild terrain of Long Island, NY. I present to you one man determined to educate and entertain you with artwork, cosplay, set designs, wrestlers and a regiment of Jedi, Mr. Frank Patz! Frank first came to my attention when I heard of his plan to throw a show at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in the spring of 2013. I’ve always had a huge interest in NASA and the space program, and I was shocked…yes, shocked to learn that the Cradle of Aviation Museum was a stone’s throw away from my residence! And Mr. Frank Patz was throwing a sci-fi, and comics show in my backyard. Turns out that I attended the show with my two girls last year, and they had just such a great experience they were begging me to go back and see “the Space Shuttle and Daddy’s artists friends!” So without further introduction, here’s the man who made that possible:
Frank, as the show-runner and event planner of Eternal Con what do we need to know about the event? Why hold it on Father’s Day weekend in the first place?
For a long time, no one wanted to run a show on Father’s Day. I thought it would be interesting to do. We did the event and it was very successful. Now, as you can see, everyone else likes my idea. LOL. Eternal Con is a Pop Culture event. We have a little bit of everything, and I think all shows should have something for everyone. Everyone does not like the same thing but we are all [fans of the medium].
Eternal Con seems to encompass several diverse interests of yours. Is there a reason it’s based on Long Island, as versus say…Westchester or the Javits Center?
Long Island needed a comic con. It’s a great place with very passionate fans. I live on Long Island also, so it’s close to home. It’s too bad that NY has only 1 real convention center.
There’s been quite a bit written about the clumsy, short-sighted scheduling of events for this date in the NY area. As someone who first staked out the date in 2013, do you think that it’s fair to the fans? Do you think they will support 3 shows on the same date?
I think it’s pretty shady of some “people” who decided to run their events on this weekend after we were successful last year. But I look at it as a compliment. I do think that there is enough room to schedule these shows far enough from each other where everyone can prosper. Just seeing that all these shows have exhibitors should let you know that there are plenty of people out there to support events like this.
It’s a well-known fact, that you have an enormous love of action-figures, and sculptures. What fascinates you about the very best of these? On the reverse, what’s a guaranteed deal-breaker?
I have loved toys, action figures, collectibles, since I was a child. I have a huge collection with a lot of my original toys. They are just something that has always interested me. I am a kid at heart I guess! I love the attention that goes into making these things, as well as the way opening a new toy brings me back to an 8 year old.
Do you feel that your love of Lucha Libre, and the Art of Wrestling will impact Eternal Con? Any guests we should look out for?
I would love to bring some more Lucha Libre elements to Eternal Con. Maybe in the future?
Is there a inciting incident that motivated you to start Eternal Con?
I have loved working on creating events for a long time. I got my start working in Pro Wrestling at 16 years old. I moved to Mexico where I lived for over 10 years, worked with the WWE and since then I have left the [Pro Wrestling] business. I still feel the need to create these types of events though.
The Cradle of Aviation Museum showcases the dreams of a generation. It’s fitting that the sons and daughters of the engineers who built the Lunar Lander, and watched SciFi movies with them should have this celebration at the museum. Did you always plan this to be the venue?
I was looking for a cool location for a long time. The last thing I wanted to do was hold a show in a broken down convention center or a crappy hotel. As soon as I saw the Cradle of Aviation, I knew this was the place. It is an AWESOME backdrop for the show. When you first get in, you see a giant F16 hanging from the ceiling!!! There is an actual Lunar Module in the place! It’s 2 experiences in one.
There was an amazing Planet of the Apes life-size display at the first Eternal Con, and swarms of Jedi. How are you going to top that cosplay for future events?
With MORE Apes and Jedis! LOL. We are having a very special cosplay contest this year that is a real big deal. It is in the IMAX theatre of the museum and will be simulcast on the giant screen so everyone gets a good look at all the contestants. We are also having a cosplay parade Saturday morning at 9am along Charles Lindberg Blvd. This is a free event for everyone!
Long Island has a long tradition of SciFi events, with I-CON having run for about 30 years. Do you feel that Eternal Con is the same audience? In your opinion, what separates the two events?
Eternal Con is a different event as we focus a little more on comics. And I-CON seems to have run into some problems for a few years…
You’ve been very supportive of professionals and local artists, writers and the community. What in your background brought you to this understanding of the community?
Understanding what it’s like to try to break into your dream job. I also have a lot of friends in the Comic Book industry so I have been around it for a long time.
Can you tell us about some of the panels you’ll be having at the event?
Lots of cool and informative panels. “Real Men make Comics” with Jimmy Palmiotti, Frank Tieri, and Billy Tucci should be a good one. LOL. Just make sure you don’t bring your kids [to that panel].
Since you scheduled this event a year ago and others have crowded the date, have the local media been receptive to the event? As the under-dog in the situation, Are you getting any press?
Everyone has been very receptive to Eternal Con. I have nothing but great feedback from all who attended last year’s event. As for the other shows that have “Crowded the date”, I can only think of a quote from a great book, “None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME.” They are in for a rude awakening.
Is there anything you want to tell the fans of your event, before the show?
If you want to have FUN at a show, come to Eternal Con!
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