NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The New York Comic Con has always been a place where fans of all genres have gathered to celebrate each year.
With a growing focus across the country on mental health and anti-bullying efforts, the four-day event at the Javits Center saw many celebrities add their voices to that cause.
The crowded, costume-clad extravaganza hosted several panels and fan sessions devoted to spreading a message of inclusion among the fans.
It’s a message that resonates at Comic Con, where over 250,000 people – dressed as superheroes, robots, princesses, and even zombies – regularly come together as one giant comic book community.
Some are also partnering with New York institutions help local children live better lives in the face of adversity.
The Pop Culture Hero Coalition returned to New York, championing the anti-bullying movement.
Actress Chase Masterson, who is best known for her work on “Star Trek” and “Pandora,” encouraged the costume-wearing guests to act as “real life superheroes.”
Pop Culture Hero is using comic books to help teach children in schools around the U.S. about the harm bullying can cause in all of its forms.
“We teach mental health, we teach empathy, and resilience, and compassion, and other social and emotional skills children need in order to have a healthy life,” Masterson said.
New York lawmakers have added classes on mental health to the school curriculum in the state this year.
Masterson’s non-profit has partnered with the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx to create the first mental health comic book, written by a child trauma psychologist to help youngsters deal with issues they may be struggling with personally.
WEB EXTRA – Chase Masterson talks Comic Con connecting mental health awareness with children in the New York:
Actor Joe Gatto from the hit show “Impractical Jokers” was also on hand this weekend and talked about how the Comic Con always amazes him when it comes to spreading a message of acceptance.
“I’m always blown away at comic cons about how this message resonates with people because everyone here has been through something and is looking for somebody like them… This is our crowd!” Gatto said.
WEB EXTRA – Joe Gatto shares his Comic Con story and advocates for the “Be Kind” campaign:
Actress Felicia Day from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “The Guild” was also promoting her own self-help book. Day told CBS2 the book focuses on encouraging people to be creative and overcome anxiety.
WEB EXTRA – Actress Felicia Day talks Comic Con and her new book “Embrace Your Weird”: