I had the honor of emceeing this past weekend at Walker Stalker Con – a sci-fi and horror convention here in Atlanta. The event not only gave fans exceptional access to the cast members of AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead, but it also provided a venue for thousands of fans to geek out over all things zombie related!
I had many memorable moments from the weekend and prepping the celebs backstage before they went on stage for their panels. I caught up a bit with IronE Singleton (who played T.Dog on The Walking Dead), and I even chatted a different sci-fi genre with him – aliens! He also told me about the one-man play he is launching this month based on his new book. Singleton has an incredible life story, and he has such great passion for the transformation he made. The man is truly an inspiration and one of the most incredible people I’ve ever met.
Meeting Judith O’Dea was also a wonderful experience. Any fan of the zombie genre knows that O’Dea is a legend. She starred in George Romero’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead – a film that truly was the dawn of a new era in horror film-making.
I also had the pleasure of meeting and introducing Greg Nicotero to a room full of enthusiastic Walking Dead fans! Nicotero brought a slideshow of images to show on the big screen of never seen before images – which of course were accompanied by stories of how certain scenes were shot.
Andrew Lincoln’s panel started a little late due to him wrapping up autograph signings, but the audience didn’t care – when I finally introduced him on stage – they went wild. 1,500 fans screamed for Lincoln as he walked up on stage and waved to them. It was the highlight of the convention for many – and that was truly apparent from all the smiles that stretched across each and every fan’s face.
After Andrew Lincoln’s panel, I had the honor of being one of the ten reporters selected to attend a roundtable interview with him. I asked him what his most memorable fan moment has been to date, and he admitted to me that it was actually still the first Comic-Con he attended (which I also had the pleasure of interviewing him at that year!)
“I think it will always be the first Comic-Con. We were in the belly of the beast. It was one of the most wild and extraordinary days of my life. I had been so isolated in those first three episodes… I mean I was alone for the first two, and we’d only shot that. So it was sort of revealing that to the world.” Lincoln answered. “One of the most fervent, intelligent and loyal fanbases we could ever wish for… if you get it right. So when I heard the roar of approval 30 seconds into the first show trailer – people responded to it. I don’t know if it was joy, but it was more relief than anything else.”
“When I’m not working my weekends are sacred, and the podcasts are fantastic – I did some in-between seasons. I loved having a direct relationship with the fans. And also everyone else is here as well. A lot of grateful undead, there’s a lot of people that have died – so it’s quite nice to see everyone. It just felt like the perfect storm, ” Lincoln commented on being a part of the convention. “Contractually, we do an east coast and west coast thing, but I just think it’s very important that we celebrate this city. I think this city and this state are integral to the success of the show for many reasons.”
Steven Yuen was the first panel on Sunday morning, and while he wouldn’t give fans any spoilers as to Glenn’s fate on the show – he did answer a number of fan questions such as if Glenn and Maggie were to have a baby – what would he want to name it?
“Dale Shane or Jon Dale,” Yuen joked.
A little later on Sunday, I hosted a panel with Jonathan James from The Daily Dead. Our panelists included a number of truly iconic zombies – Leonard Lies and Mike Christopher from Dawn of the Dead, Eugene Clark from Land of the Dead, and Melissa Cowan from The Walking Dead. We chatted with them about what they though about the evolution and current popularity of the genre – and also what moment they knew they were apart of something truly iconic.
While this was the first convention for Walker Stalker Con, I think I speak for many fans when I say I look forward to more conventions from them in the future. It’s been a wonderful weekend of geeking out and making incredible new friends!
And to the team of volunteers I had with me in the Peachtree Ballroom – especially Alona – thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping me! You guys were incredible and amazing – I hope our paths all cross again!