As a Dark Horse representative snapped gold VIP wristband around my wrist, my cosplay companion and I were told in our Umbrella Academy gear, “this is for a secret signing. That’s all I can tell you.”

photo: Leonardo Rivero

For about two days, my friend as The Seance and I as The Horror wondered who we’d find in the middle of the show floor. Having been “strongly encouraged” to wear our same costumes should have been the hint that gave it all away.

photo: Leonardo Rivero

All New York Comic Con 2019 attendees who visited the Umbrella Academy publisher’s booth- SPECIFICALLY dressed as characters from the comic or show– received VIP access to an exclusive signing with Robert Sheehan (Klaus Hargreaves, Number 4, The Seance) and Justin Min (Ben Hargreaves, Number 6, The Horror.)Crowds watching the pair enter the stage erupted in cheers while Dark Horse booth reps ran around the back end of the line delivering the surprise. While the line itself was a bit slow (my photographer and my Klaus were playing patty-cake halfway to the stage) everyone waited with surprisingly patient, smiling faces. Reports show that Sheehan and Min actually snuck into the Convention using masks worn by the characters Hazel and Cha-Cha, both in the comic and show.

Fans in and out of their cosplays for the VIP signing filed slowly around the Dark Horse stage, sharing glitter, anecdotes, and laughter as each got the chance to speak with Sheehan and Min. The latter was extremely friendly towards visitors, offering to sign extra goodies beyond the complimentary stills and posters, maintaining a very genuine, warm presence that helped even the most anxious attendees feel welcome.

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Sheehan, according to sources, is known to be rather “eccentric.” This is not to say he’s unkind, far from it. Every interaction with the pair was unique without question, though particularly because the Irishman is particularly carefree and rambunctious. When Min offered to sign the poster given to me by Dark Horse reps, I graciously placed it in front of him, wherein Sheehan casually took my hand and began writing on my knuckles. “If I had knuckle tattoos, they’d say ‘LOVE and HATE’ on them.” No part of this was invasive, in fact I couldn’t stop laughing; this amusement continues to the time of writing as my much faded sharpie tattoos read LOVE and HEAT.

So Dark Horse arranged a fantastic surprise for Umbrella Academy cosplayers, the likes of which none of us are sure to forget. Season 2 of Umbrella Academy is in production, the release date has yet to be confirmed.

Author’s Note: I’d also like to take an opportunity to give a shoutout to those working at the booth; the staff members were all incredibly hospitable, especially to myself and my companion, not even for knowing my status as press. Every single representative was pleasant, engaging, and thoughtful.