Comic Cons stole my life!
Walker Stalker Con 2016 is in the books and our very own Linda White was there to catch all of the glam and gore. Here, Linda gives us a run down her 2016 Walker Stalker Con experience in this complete post event review.
Walker Stalker Con: Fright Filled Philly Fun
Whether you ‘walk’ or whether you ‘stalk’, a frightfully great time was had by all that attended Walker Stalker Con (WSC) in Philadelphia this past weekend. Horror enthusiasts from near and far gathered to get their fix of all things gory and gruesome. WSC did NOT disappoint!
Walker Stalker Con Gives The Fans What They Want
Lines formed early as eager fans awaited opening onto the convention floor. People flocked just to catch a glimpse of the charismatic Walking Dead bad-ass Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon). The Walking Dead (TWD) AMC TV hit series was well represented by several stellar cast members in attendance at WSC Philly. Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes), Laurie Holden (Andrea Harrison), Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon) and Michael Cudlitz (Abraham Ford) are just a few examples of the star power on hand. As if The Walking Dead were not enough, Walker Stalker Con also provided fans with cast members from Z Nation, Gotham, and even the legendary actor/producer Russ Streiner from Night of the Living Dead. The full line-up can be found on the Walker Stalker Con website. With so many talented actors, actresses, and creators on hand it was difficult to maintain focus while walking through the actor’s area.
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The feeling was absolutely electric as you tried to take it all in!
Walker Stalker Con Guests Show They Value Their Fans!
It was easy to get caught up in the thrill of seeing a fan react to meeting their favorite actor/actress for the very first time. Some laughed, some cried, some were speechless! As I looked around, I saw that not only were all the celebrities truly engaging their fans but they provided a party-like atmosphere that made waiting in line actually entertaining and fun. Since I wanted to get a feel of the true fan experience, I decided to join in and get an autograph from Mr. Reedus myself… best decision of the morning! Being surrounded by so many passionate fans was absolutely heartwarming as was witnessing spontaneous moments of fun such as Michael Rooker leaving his table to walk amongst the crowd on his way to greet his former fellow The Walking Dead cast members. Mr. Rooker moved from table to table as fans cheered, with the biggest crowd reaction coming as he hugged Mr. Reedus, brothers indeed. It was a moment to remember. I also must give a shout out to Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (TWD Bob Stookey). Mr. Gilliard gave his patient fans tons of entertainment, love, and laughter… joy absolutely emanated from his area. It was a pleasant distraction to see all the happiness among the fans in the area and before I realized it, I was quickly approaching Mr. Reedus. I was able to see first hand just how caring and appreciative he is with his all his fans. He not only graciously accepted compliments but took the time to ask fans about themselves, truly humble. On behalf of all his fans, I would like to thank Mr. Reedus for being so down to earth and approachable.
Come In ‘Stalking’, Leave ‘Walking’
While Walker Stalker Con surely had a star-studded guest line-up, there were many other activities, vendors, and artists to be seen throughout the convention floor. No worries though as there were friendly and helpful Walker Stalker Con staff members and volunteers available to assist and guide any lost ‘zombies’. In fact, if you were not a zombie as you entered the convention, there were talented make-up artists on site to make sure you left as one. Once ‘zombified’, you could take your chances by immersing yourself in The Walking Dead Experience, get your photo taken with some truly fantastic Walking Dead look-alikes, or simply ‘walk’ the floor and frighten your fellow fans. Want to kill a zombie instead?
Stop by Cecil Grimes Cosplay and get behind the fence to join in on the fun. Looking to find Negan, Daryl, and Abraham all in one spot? Stop by the Zombie Charm School to have your photo taken with all three! Kids need to burn off some energy? Take a trip over to the Kid Zone for inflatable slides and obstacle courses. Feel daring enough for a more permanent change? Ink Fusion Tattoo will hook you up with a design of your choice!
Before I knew it, the first day was coming to a close. I had just enough time to make it to the Tate Steinsiek make-up demonstration which was quite detailed and fascinating. Whether you are a make-up artist looking for tips or a fan wanting to know ‘how they do it’, this is definitely the place to be. The whole day seemed to go by so quickly and I only wish I could have split myself in two so that I could really sink my teeth into everything Walker Stalker Con had to offer. Speaking of teeth, bloodsucking fans will be happy to know they can stop by Horror Show Jack Smith Production, LLC to obtain their own set of fabulous fangs.
Walker Stalker Con Cares!
Finally leaving Walker Stalker Con after an exciting first day, I was eagerly looking forward to day two. Again, Walker Stalker Con did not disappoint! My first stop was Michael Cudlitz’s autograph area to drop off some items for his Bisquick Challenge. All items are donated to food banks to help those trying to make ends meet. Be sure to bring selected items the next time you are able to attend Walker Stalker Con as there are always people in need. Russ Streiner also got involved in some charitable activity as he sat at his table looking pretty in pink (hair that is). Why?
He tweeted a challenge. If his tweet received 400 retweets, he would dye his hair pink in support of breast cancer awareness. Needless to say, thanks to some amazing Walker Stalker Con social media, it happened! To see the incredible Russ Streiner donning his pink hair was a sight to behold. Truly a good sport for a great cause!
WSC Guests Keep The Fans On Their Toes!
My focus on the second day was to experience one of the many fun-filled panels listed on the agenda as well as speak with some of the incredible artists in attendance. Of course the panel I chose just had to be Merle Dixon because one just never knows what can be expected from the always entertaining and sometimes deflecting, Michael Rooker. The panel area was packed as the talented Mr. Rooker arrived on stage. He was as witty, sarcastic and humorously engaging as expected. For example, when asked about his favorite role he replied, “The one that pays the most!”. To the fans shock and delight, he even jumped off stage and entered right into the crowd to take questions. Sometimes he answered, sometimes he didn’t, often times he simply laughed… you just never knew. One thing is for sure though, the man knows how to keep your attention.
After Mr. Rooker’s panel I chose to pay a visit to guest artist Rob Prior and watch his amazing skills in action. Well, it just so happened that I was in the right place at the right time because the WSC staff chose Mr. Prior’s area as a place to take their group photo. It was during this time that I was able to meet even more of the incredibly hard-working people functioning behind the scenes to put together such an amazing event. Not only that, but a dance party spontaneously broke out and none other than Lawrence Gilliard Jr. showed up to bust a move! What a treat! I just kept my video rolling as he danced his way on through. Moments like this are what makes Walker Stalker Con stand out as the best. By fans, for fans.
When the impromptu dance party was over, I did indeed get to meet and speak with several artists and creators throughout the convention. Anyone that knows me, is well aware that finding unique artists and artwork is what I consider a highlight to any convention. I encourage fans to visit these incredibly talented and creative people, most have quite interesting stories to tell behind their works of art. In my eyes, there is no better way to remember your awesome convention experience then by bringing home a piece that speaks to you. I want to give special thanks to Rob Prior, Scott Straka, JaCo Tartaruga, AJ Moore, Will Torres, Christian Espiritusanto, and Michael L. Stewart (Pyro Painter) for taking time to speak with me sincerely about their work. I hope to feature all of you and more in the very near future.
Interviews On The Way!
I must say, having attended several conventions both big and small, Walker Stalker Con is one of the best organized events I have experienced. The way in which WSC manages the fan/celeb interaction is simply fantastic. I was even honored to have been given the opportunity to interview the very outgoing, off beat, and humorous Michael Rooker. We spoke about a few of his roles from his extensive resume including Days of Thunder, The Walking Dead, Guardians of the Galaxy, and The Belko Experiment to name a few. He (Mr. Rooker) discussed why he likes to portray specific characters and even what he likes best about attending comic conventions. In addition, I was fortunate enough to have amazing artist Rob Prior take time out of his busy schedule to sit and talk with me about his art, his life, his advice to fellow artists, future projects, and his involvement with Walker Stalker Con in particular. Having been given more time than I had even expected with both Mr. Rooker and Mr. Prior, I decided it best to feature both of these interviews as a separate piece. The information I obtained from these two fascinating personalities is definitely worthy of having its own space and I only hope to do them justice. Keep an eye out, that article is in the works! I want to thank Walker Stalker Con, specifically Mr. Michael Guthas, for arranging the interviews… what a pleasure!
Kudos to all the staff and volunteers responsible for an unforgettable weekend! Please feel free to visit my Instagram or Twitter to check out more fun photos from Walker Stalker Con Philly and I will be posting more throughout the week.
Let’s not forget that Walker Stalker Con Atlanta is coming up soon and sure to be the bigger and better than ever!
Yet again, calling all connoisseurs of carnage.
Keeping You Comi Con-nected!