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Hudson Valley Comic Con: A Different Kind of Con

Linda Marie Linda Marie
Expert Contributor
May 13th, 2017

Comic Cons stole my life!

Hudson Valley Comic Con: A Different Kind of Con
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ComiConverse contributor Linda Marie visited Hudson Valley Comic Con, a homey event where celebrity guests, creators, and fans could mingle.

Hudson Valley Comic Con: A Different Kind of Con

Hudson Valley Comic Con (HVCC), held May 6-7 in Poughkeepsie, NY, was a delight for local fans. This homey convention brought forth some surprises while also providing a traditional comic con experience. Rather than focusing on any one area during HVCC, I meandered, taking in the spectacle with the eyes of a fan. I walked, talked, listened, and observed. From celebrity guests and fans to merchants and creators, I met some fascinating and inspiring people. I kept my expectations to a minimum upon entering this cozy convention but, I must admit, sometimes size doesn’t matter.

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Fans lined up to get into Hudson valley Comic Con. Credit: Heroes Unlimited

 Homey Hudson Valley

As soon as you enter the convention floor, you can’t help but smile. Why? The floor. HVCC was held on a turf field inside a Gold’s Gym and the surface made you feel like you were walking on air! I know that sounds silly, but anyone who has spent hours on their feet at a comic con knows the importance of comfort. When your feet are happy, you are happy. It almost made me forget about the less than stellar Wi-Fi connection. The upside to a lack of technological connectivity? People talked to each other. It made for a much more intimate setting as con-goers engaged with what was around them. The only time phones came out was to snap a picture.

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Ming Chen poses with the ladies of Superheroes Unlimited. Credit: Superheroes Unlimited

 Magnificent Munchies

With all the running around, a fan can work up an appetite. This was an area where Hudson Valley Comic Con shone. The food was awesome! I tell people all the time that if I could change one thing about conventions, it would be the food. I want healthy options at affordable prices. Fans pay lots of money to obtain experiences, artwork, and memorabilia; they deserve to be properly fueled throughout the day without breaking the bank. Thankfully HVCC offered everything from tasty wraps and gyros to Asian noodles and herbal teas at surprisingly minimal cost. My personal favorites were the empanadas served from a food truck just outside the con entrance, The Empanada Sonata. Absolutely delicious! Another special mention must go to Quigley’s Cakes, a yummy fandom decorated treat that hit the sweet spot.

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Tasty fandom treats at Hudson Valley Comic Con courtesy of Quigley’s cakes. Credit: Linda Marie

Gracious Guests

I am always pleased to see new and familiar guests at a convention. Hudson Valley Comic Con featured an array of fandom favorites. Ming Chen from the AMC hit TV show Comic Book Men, season 3 Face Off reality star Nicole Chilelli, Power Rangers alumni Johnny Yong Bosch and Barbara Goodson, The Last Dragon’s Taimak, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show’s Patricia Quinn were just a few headliners.

Spending time with the ever-charismatic Ming Chen is never dull. Fans were even able to interact with and observe Ming in podcasting action with friend and fellow pod-master DW from Earplug Podcast during the HVCC event. The guys also held a fun and informative Q&A specifically designed to help fans wanting to break into the podcasting realm.

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Ming Chen and DW interact with aspiring podcasters at Hudson Valley Comic Con. Credit: Linda Marie

For those seeking the best in make-up transformation, guest Ms. Nicole Chilelli  was on hand working her magic. Fans watched in wonder as she put her skills on display in changing a handsome guy into a frightening zombie right before your eyes. It’s easy to see why she was chosen as the season 3 winner of Face Off. To learn more about Nicole, check out her interview during Hudson Valley Comic Con on Earplug Podcast.

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Nicole Chilelli shows her skills at Hudson Valley Comic Con. Credit: Linda Marie

After absorbing some of the action on the Main Floor, I decided to sit in on The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers panel. Having interviewed Jason David Frank (JDF) back in March, I now had a bit of Power Ranger knowledge under my belt. To my delight, Black Ranger Johnny Yong Bosch shared great stories about him and JDF working on set, hanging out, and making crazy dares. From JDF falling on his face to Johnny wind-surfacing atop a moving vehicle, it was clear that these guys were loving life.

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Blast from the past. Power Rangers featuring Jason David Frank and Johnny Yong Bosch. Credit: womenofthe-90s.tumblr.com

All guests at HVCC seemed to enjoy interacting with their fans. In fact, upon Sunday’s entrance onto the convention floor, the ropes in front of the autographing area were taken down. I inquired as to why and was told that it was to make the guests more approachable to the fans. Often times fans get intimidated by barriers put between them and their favorite celebrity. Removing the ropes went a long way toward offering a relaxing atmosphere, it was like receiving a warm invitation to interact. I do recognize that this is not possible at all conventions, but it was a sweet gesture on Hudson Valley Comic Con’s part to show the fans some love.

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 Creators, Cosplay, and Kids…Oh My!

I am a huge proponent of the creativity shown at all comic cons. I was thrilled to see some of my favorite artists as well as to meet new ones. Painting, writing, sketching, creating — these are the people who make a con special. Whether a guest or newcomer, they all have a story they wanted to share. Taking time to speak with the talented individuals that work so hard to bring bring your favorite characters to life is always a thrill.

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True talent at Hudson Valley Comic Con – Eddie Avila, Rob Taylor, C.L. Schneider, JaCo Tartaruga. Credit: Linda Marie

I would like to give a special shout-out to fantasy writer C.L. Schneider who I had recently met at Big Apple Con. Her trilogy Crown of Stones has me hooked. I was halfway through the series by the time I met up with her at HVCC. It was so cool to actually speak with her about some of my favorite scenes and characters. Ms. Schneider has graciously agreed to an interview in the near future so keep an eye out for that!

Something else that took center stage at Hudson Valley Comic Con were the endless activities. An entire Kid Zone, complete with fandom workshops, helped to keep the little ones engaged and excited. There was even a Nerd Magician on the Main Floor Stage to amuse fans of any age. Of course one can’t talk about comic cons without mentioning the incredible cosplayers. So many elaborate costumes on display, it never ceases to impress.

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Cosplay strong at Hudson Valley Comic Con! Credit: Linda Marie.

Wacky, Weird And Wonderful

One question I get asked a lot is: What do I love best about attending a comic convention (aside from the artwork)? Meeting people. All kinds of people from all walks of life meet at cons. I literally chat up everyone from celebrity guests and volunteers to artists and food vendors. The amount of inspiring, humorous, and sometimes dirty tales I hear could fill a book.

A perfect example of cool connections came while checking out the screen accurate replica of  Supernatural’s infamous Impala ‘Baby’, put on display by Experience Entertainment LLC. Experience Entertainment LLC is run by husband and wife team Jimmy and Kim LeMay. They filled me in on all the intricacies of the classic Impala (which they refer to as ‘Thor’), including stories of the Supernatural cast members signing and posing with the vehicle. We went on to discuss how heart-warming it is to watch as excited fans take photos with the car as well as with the display they had set up from Stranger Things and Harry Potter.

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Exact replica of Supernatural’s infamous Impala, Baby – Experience Entertainment LLC. Credit: Linda Marie

Seeing people having so much fun gave me an idea. I asked the lovely LeMay couple permission to take a group shot of my misfit HVCC con-family in their Stranger Things set. Not only did they say yes, they were over-joyed to do it. I quickly gathered together two celebrity guests, a podcaster, a photographer, an artist, a merchant, a promoter, a writer and a zombie for what turned out to be one of my most cherished con moments ever! THIS is how you have fun at comic con.

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Con-Misfits: JaCo Tartaruga (Artist), DW (Earplug Podcast), John Brightman (Brite Star Promotions), Linda Marie (ComiConverse), Buddy Beaudoin (Photographer), Ming Chen (Comic Book Men), Zombie, Nicole Chilelli (Face Off), Jimmy LeMay (Experience Entertainment LLC) Credit: Kim LeMay

Thank you Hudson Valley Comic Con for the great memories. Hope to see you all again next year!

Linda Marie is a contributor to ComiConverse. Find her on twitter: @LindaMw87

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