Metal Life Coverage: Walker Stalker Con 2015 San Francisco
Unless you have been living under a rock, you know about the smash hit “The Walking Dead.” From the Comic Book, to the award winning AMC television show, The Walking Dead has taken the zombie horror genre and given it steroids. A couple of big fans started their own podcast which turned into them hosting their very own convention, “The Walker Stalker Con.”
But it developed into something so much more. Fans of all horror come and join the fun. Robert Englund, Freddy Krueger, was there signing and doing photo-ops. Even Ming Chen from AMC’s “Comic Book Men” showed up. “I am a HUGE Walking Dead fan,” says Ming, “when I found out that we were premiering after the show I couldn’t believe it.” He goes on to tell me how much he enjoys working the Walker Stalker Con, “It’s just a great vibe and I love being able to see the cast of the show.”
He wasn’t the only one that felt that way. Row after row of people lined up to meet the cast. They were all there and were just as nice as you would hope. The fans really seemed to like Michael Rooker, Merle Dixon, and lucky for me I got a chance to talk to him about his career. “Some of my favorite projects I have worked on are Days of Thunder and Guardians of the Galaxy,” says Rooker, “but the character development I did for Merle Dixon was by far the funnest thing I have done yet.” Nice guy and a great actor. I remember when he did an episode of “Burn Notice” years ago. He played a bad ass gangster, of course, and did it well.
The lines to see the different cast members of The Walking Dead were pretty big but I think the Whovians outnumbered the Zombiephiles. That’s right, the cast of 11h Doctor Who showed up and were signing autographs and doing photo-ops. “We got to the convention around 6:40 AM and got in line to get a photo with Matt Smith,” tells attendee and big time Doctor Who fan Nicole, “we got our passes at 8 and then we stood in another line. At 11:45 we finally got to see Matt and it was totally worth the wait. The line was around the corner by 7:30 so it was a good thing showing up as early as we did.”
If you are my friend, then you know that I am not a big zombie movie fan. I feel like the zombies in movies are either too dumb, too silly or WAY to crazy. However, there is one exception and that is “Land of the Dead.” In that movie, one of the zombies learns how to use tools and even picks up a jackhammer. That zombie was played by a giant of a man named Eugene A. Clark, and I couldn’t believe it when I saw him. I thought he was great in the movie so I just had to talk to him. “I love coming to conventions like this,” Eugene says, “it’s so much fun being able to connect with fans.” I than asked him about different things he’s done since Land of the Dead and he tells me about some on-stage work he’s done. “I was Mufasa in The Lion King and I was also in an on stage version of The Full Monty,” he tells me, “doing that part I was so focused om hitting my ques I would forget I was on stage only wearing a G-string.”
My favorite part about The Walking Dead is how they are able to have comic book, novel and television series all told from different perspectives but still in the same universe. All the stories are separate but still connected, I love that. The novels are written by Jay Bonaninga, who is an accomplished writer. He has written twenty-two books, five of which are The Walking Dead with three more on the way. I asked him what was his favorite thing he had done. “The Killers Game,” Bonaninga replies without hesitation, “It’s about a hit-man who finds out he has a terminal disease and decides he doesn’t want to go out that way. He then puts a contract on himself and puts up ALL his money to whoever can take him out. But, the night before the contest is set to begin, the doctors office calls and tells him they messed up and he isn’t sick. So now he has every hit-man in the word gunning for him.”
This was a fun event and just like The Walking Dead itself it’s always growing and bringing in new fans. I wonder how they are going to out do themselves next year.
All Photos By: Chadwick Minor