The first ever, and hopefully annual, Walker Stalker Convention was held this weekend (Nov. 1-3, 2013) at the Atlanta Convention Center at Americasmart in Atlanta, Georgia. The convention was the brain child of Walker Stalker podcast hosts, Eric Nordhoff and James Frazier. The WSC brought in around 10,000 visitors. Not too shabby for their first at-bat.
I would like to give a big round of applause to everyone who had a hand in this event. There were a few minor hiccups, as can be expected at any convention. I heard a few grumblings about the lack of limitations at autograph tables (apparently, a guest at Andrew Lincoln’s table had an obscene amount of items to be signed. A limit was later enforced as a result), and also some comments about the celebrity panels being conducted in a different building. Celebrity schedule conflicts are unpredictable and not the fault of any convention personnel. It’s all in how they handle such surprises. Guests like Emma Bell and Lauren Cohan, unfortunately had to cancel. Norman Reedus had to cut his Sunday appearance in half. And Andrew Lincoln could only appear for one day. However, Lincoln and Reedus stayed long after they were supposed to on Saturday evening, and didn’t leave until all fans in their queue had received and autograph. Class acts! Personal con experience and all things considered, those were indeed minor hiccups.
From the creators to the volunteers, you did a fantastic job this weekend, and I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to be a part of it. On behalf of Convention Scene and Walker Bait Productions, job very well done! Thank you!
The WSC featured more than 40 celebrity guests, including almost every member of The Walking Dead cast, as well as nearly 100 vendor booths. The vendors ranged from comic and toy collectibles to an on-site tattoo shop. A special VIP Meet & Greet and Zombie Bash were held on Saturday evening, along with a private concert featuring Emily Kinney, “Beth” on The Walking Dead. The WSC even provided a “Virtual Queue” for those who did not want to spend all day standing in line for autographs. You simply checked in at the Virtual Queue booth and when it was time for you to actually get into a celebrity line, a member of the volunteer staff would send you a text message. The concept reminded me of the “Fast Pass” access at Walt Disney World. Still, I chose to get the full experience, replete with eavesdropping and people watching, by standing in every line I could. Even with the wait time, the volunteers kept everything moving smoothly and efficiently. No complaints here.
Each celebrity guest that I spoke to had very positive things to say about WSC. “This Con is unique because of the focus on The Walking Dead and zombie culture,” said actor Daniel Thomas May ["Allen" on The Walking Dead]. “There are just so many cast members and spectacular fans. You know, we use the hashtag on Twitter #TWDFamily for the The Walking Dead Family, and that’s what this whole weekend has felt like. We’re all just a bunch of family and it’s so great.”
Andrew “Drone” Cossan, who has done illustrations for LUCASFILM and TOPPS, was on hand at Marc Draven’s Ink-Fusion Tattoo booth creating custom designs for guests looking for a permanent WSC souvenir. “I can crank out some pieces very quickly,” he said. “It’s easy to make con fans happy because you are giving them a character that they like and want.” When asked about his WSC experience, Drone said, “It’s been quite a trip. Compared to other cons, I am very impressed with the overall organization. They’ve been very accommodating and good about checking in on vendors and talent to make sure that everything is going smoothly and our needs are being met. And that’s a good sign.”
While I did have an opportunity to meet Greg Nicotero, one of my personal highlights was speaking with a different member of zombie culture royalty, the lovely Judith O’Dea. For the uninitiated, O’Dea portrayed the iconic “Barbara” in the film that started it all, George Romero’s 1968 classic The Night of the Living Dead. “I have had an absolute ball,” she gushed. “At the time, none of us who were a part of the film had any idea the effect it would have [on pop culture] and I am just in awe that we really were, and are a part of what has become The Walking Dead. And I would like to say how grateful I am to the fans for their long time support. It’s hard to believe, but it is all so exciting.”
Crissy Thomas, founder of fan site BitchinDixons.com met up with other Bitchin Dixon members who had traveled from near and far to meet Norman Reedus, “Daryl” on The Walking Dead. And for those members who couldn’t make the journey, Crissy collected gifts, cards, and letters that they had shipped to her and presented them to Reedus on their behalf. Thomas hopes to have even more Bitchin Dixons attend next year.
Did you hear that, Walker Stalkers? The fans and guests have spoken. It’s time to start preparing for next fall! Congratulations.
Daniel Clowes and Alvin Buenaventura sign at Quimby’s in Chicago this Thursday May 17, 2012 at 7:00pm.
About the book:
Throughout his twenty-five-year career, Daniel Clowes has always been ahead of artistic and cultural movements. In the late 1980s and 1990s his groundbreaking comic-book series Eightball defined the indie aesthetic of alternative comics, with wit, venom, and even a little sympathy. His breakthrough success, Ghost World, convinced mainstream readers of comics’ literary potential. In the new millennium, with works such as Ice Haven, Wilson, Mister Wonderful, and The Death-Ray, Clowes has redefined the graphic novel as an art form.
Now, for the first time, the award-winning, New York Times bestselling graphic novelist, cartoonist, and screenwriter opens his archives. The Art of Daniel Clowes: Modern Cartoonist, the first monograph on one of America’s most innovative cartoonists, collects Clowes’s best-known work alongside seldom-seen illustrations, personal photos and memorabilia, behind-the-scenes drawings and sketchbook pages, and unpublished comics and original art. This lavishly illustrated celebration of Clowes’s work, edited by Alvin Buenaventura, designed by Jonathan Bennett, also features essays by noted contributors such as Chip Kidd and Chris Ware.
1854 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622
Dan Clowes signs on Monday, May 16 at 7:30 pm.
Originally serialized in the New York Times Magazine, Daniel Clowes’s Eisner Award-winning story, “Mister Wonderful,” has finally been collected and published as a graphic novel. Now with 40 pages of new material, captivating, bittersweet, and hilarious Mister Wonderful (Pantheon) more than lives up to its name.
40 Northwest 10th Avenue, Portland, OR 97209
Daniel Clowes appears on Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 from 6:00-8:00PM
Join us at the Coolidge Corner Theatre for a reading, Q&A, and signing with award-winning author, screenwriter, and illustrator Daniel Clowes (Wilson, Ghost World, Art School Confidential).
Tickets for the reading are just $5. Call 617-566-6660 to order yours.
Sponsored by Brookline Booksmith
Coolidge Corner Theatre
290 Harvard Street, Brookline, MA 02446-2908
Dan Clowes and Chris Ware sign at Gosh! Comics – Tuesday 25th May 12 – 2pm
A rare and delicious treat is in store for indie comics fans this May! Of course there’s the usual late-May ritual of casting aside our cardigans and dreary Winter coats to look forward to – all full of old sweet wrappers and forgotten pennies to surprise ourselves with next year – but there’s also a Gosh! basement signing to bring joy to your freshly Spring-cleaned lives. Why not dampen a sunny Tuesday lunchtime by getting some classic graphic novels signed by two masters of misanthropic misery? I’ll be there. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. Make sure you’re in the Gosh! basement between 12pm and 2pm on Tuesday the 25th of May.
Dan Clowes embarks on his tour this week in support of his first ever original graphic novel. In each city, Dan will be talking with a special guest moderator complete with slide show. (and it’s a great slide show) And in Boston you get to see Ghost World after the event, with an introduction by Dan himself.
05/03/10 | 7 PM Washington DC POLITICS & PROSE With Dan Kois
05/04/10 | 6 PM Cambridge BRATTLE THEATER & HARVARD BOOKSTORE With Hillary Chute
05/05/10 | 7 PM NYC THE STRAND With David Hajdu
05/07/10 | 7 PM Toronto TCAF & TPL With Mark Medley
05/08/10-05/09/10 Toronto TCAF & TPL
05/13/10 | 7:30 PM San Francisco THE BOOKSMITH With Glen David Gold
05/14/10 | 7:30 PM Los Angeles SKYLIGHT BOOKS With Dana Gould
05/16/10 | 7:30 PM Portland POWELLS With Greg Netzer, Director of Wordstock
06/03/10 | 7 PM Oakland DIESEL With Eli Horowitz
06/12/10 | 7 PM Chicago QUIMBY’S (signing only)
06/13/10 | TBA Chicago PRINTERS ROW With Ray Pride
ABOUT WILSON: Meet Wilson, an opinionated middle-aged loner who loves his dog and quite possibly no one else. In an ongoing quest to find human connection, he badgers friend and stranger alike into a series of one-sided conversations, punctuating his own lofty discursions with a brutally honest, self-negating sense of humor. After his father dies, Wilson, now irrevocably alone, sets out to find his ex-wife with the hope of rekindling their long-dead relationship, and discovers he has a teenage daughter, born after the marriage ended and given up for adoption. Wilson eventually forces all three to reconnect as a family – a doomed mission that will surely, inevitably backfire.