Walker Stalker Con Atlanta is COMING!
UPDATE 10/17/2014: There are a few last-minute cancellations. The latest was Dania G, known to us hardcore The Walking Dead fan as the super hero ninja – Michonne! It’s a bit disappointing but there’s still much to check out and tons to do. See you soon!
With just a few days til Walker Stalker Con Atlanta, we figured it’s time to share some love with our fellow zombie fans, podcasters, and cosplay geeks! First and foremost, congrats to Eric and James on their 100th episode of The Walker Stalkers podcast. If you haven’t checked it out yet, we’ve embedded the MP3 player below:
Here are some of my favorite nuggets from The Walker Stalkers Episode 100:
- TWD companion series has been ordered for pilot. It’s official! Robert Kirkman can’t spill the beans (though he would love to) but he can confirm that it’s not in Georgia.
- TWD was one of many projects Kirkman was working in back in around 2003. He admits it was luck that TWD stuck. It was released under the Image label as part of a big horror push. Initial sales were abysmal. Storylines were rushed because Kirkman thought it would not last. By around issue 3, it started to gain traction, much like the show.
- Robert Kirkman says, “The Walking Dead is essentially the Twilight of zombie series… It’s essentially a soap opera.”
- Robert admits influence from Quentin Terentino, Stephanie Meyer, and others.
- The Kirman workflow: bouncing around projects. This keeps him invested and engaged so he does not burn out on any one project. If you are curious about Kirkman’s other projects, check out Invincible.
- Robert Kirkman despises cameos because it ruins immersion. He realizes people seem to love it but he can’t do it. He promises he will never do it because it feels arrogant to him.
- Kirkman says, if he had to cosplay as a TWD character, it would be Michonne. The poncho is the closest thing to his “dress for comfort” approach.
- Kirkman on clothing: “Pajama pants are to an extent my work pants… I like to feel to an extent I am naked.”
- Kirkman admits he is not a music aficionado. He does dig Neil Young. “My Top 5 is messed up Neil Young, Nick Cave, Presidents of the United States of America, George Michael (Faith album, not WHAM), and AC/DC.”
- Tori Amos, Marilyn Manson, and Natalie Merchant are the only three concerts he ever went to.
- Eric and James reminisce about the early days of The Walker Stalkers podcast and how far they’ve come along.
- The trolls of yesteryear are called out.. Where are they nowadays?
Robert Kirkman is an inspiration to me because he is an everyday kinda dude. He’s approachable, down-to-earth, and pretty darn humble.
What’s important here is that The Walking Dead wasn’t an overnight success but he stuck with it. That’s success in simplest terms: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Sometimes, you just get lucky.. So don’t give up, geeks!
Similarly, Eric & James experienced great success with their podcast and eventually turned a fan meetup into a massive event. It wasn’t always easy. Like many creative works that start off as a labor of love, there were critics and trolls. But here they are.. You guys did it – CONGRATS!
So what the heck *IS* Walker Stalker Con?
Walker Stalker Con is marketed as a zombie, horror, & sci-fi fan convention. Saying that sells it short, though. The beauty of WSC is that it is one of the few fan events that has maintained it’s essence, even after experiencing rapid growth. What started off as a simple fan meetup has become one of the most reknown conventions in the U.S.
Last I checked, Eric and James are based in Nashville, TN, yet they travel throughout the states to bring us a delicious geek culture experience from coast to coast. They truly love their fans, and the creatives behind the zombie content are mostly the same, too. In fact, AMC prioritizes fan access over press coverage. I’m okay with that; after all, they are the paying customers and likely the most passionate fans.
Walker Stalker Con has gone well beyond The Walking Dead and zombies as a whole. As you’ll see in the next section, there’s something for everyone: whether you like video games, fashion, vampires, and, of course, zombies.
Who will be there? Attractions, Vendors, Etc.
There are tons of attractions this year at Walker Stalker Con. The famous faces, panels, vendors, and other goodies are abundant. There’s too much to cover so here is a small sampling!
Greg Nicotero – Whether you are a hardcore zombie fan, aspiring effects/makeup artist, or just mildly curious about zombies and/or horror, Greg Nicotero is the one name everyone encounters. I can’t think of anyone else who has his experience and passion in the industry, really. Greg Nicotero can take the the smallest budget and do the biggest things with it. If you follow him enough, you can start recognizing his zombies and effects.
The man is brilliant but, more importantly, he is approachable, friendly, and helpful. Truly an inspiring person. I can’t think of a professional interview, fan photo, or enthusiast press video where Greg Nicotero’s energy and tone don’t come across as completely positive, authentic, and AWESOME. He is easily the one person to check out at the WSC events.
Lauren Cohan – Ms. Cohan possesses a smile that can warm the heart of even the biggest grinch or grumpiest Oscar. I won’t pretend to know what sort of person she is off-air but, from what I’ve seen and heard, Lauren is a wonderful person to be around or work with. As a man, I have to admit that she is quite easy on the eyes.. As a TWD fan, I’ll be sad when they kill her off. I have a feeling Maggie and Glenn will be killed off next or at least they will be dying together. Both scenarios make me sad. Maggie must live!
Emily Kinny – Ever since Beth was introduced on The Walking Dead, a lot of us men felt dirty finding her attractive.. It turns out Emily is plenty legal but this baby-faced beauty pulls off the role of a teenager quite well. Emily Kinny is also a better singer IRL than on the show. That’s important because she will be in concert in Atlanta on Thursday, October 16th, unofficially kicking off Walker-Stalker Con Atlanta. Word on the street is that she may sing a bit in the convention hall, too!
Ian Somerhalder – This pretty male specimen plays Damon on The Vampire Diaries. My wife already preemptively threatened my life if I don’t get his autograph… Part of my soul died right then. *smirk* Vampires have an unfair advantage. I mean, come on, they can glamour people and turn them into mindless teeny boppers! Press will have no access so the Vampire Diaries guys will be there mostly for the VIPs. (Sorry, honey.)
Jason Momoa – Mancrush status right here. Jason most recently played Khal Drogo on Game Of Thrones (we won’t talk about Conan). I dug him on Stargate Atlantis the most. I’d say Ronon Dex and Dr. Rodney McKay carried that show. Sadly, there is no Stargate presence this year. I will keep the dream alive. Stargate and Firefly can still return… Really! Press will not have access to Jason Mamoa. A bit of a bummer but it happens.
Howard Sherman – Bub from Day of the Dead might one of the most ubiquitous or at least recognizable zombies out there. I don’t know much of Howard Sherman’s work but knowing he will be there makes me want to do more homework. After all, it’s rather embarrassing when fans lose their shit over famous people and you’re standing there clueless (this happens to me a bit too often, admittedly). Fun Fact: Howard’s real name is Sherman Howard but he was credited as “Howard Sherman” on Day of the Dead.
Jeff Kober – If you’ve seen enou movies and television shows, chances are you have seen Jeff a few times. He’s one of the most familiar faces I can think of in horror and suspense stories. Heck, Jeff Kober is a veteran in the entertainment industry. He’s been around since the 80s.
Hardcore geeks might recognize Kober from Tank Girl and The Hills Have Eyes 2. Us old farts may remember him from China Beach. Kober is the ubiquitous bad guy or asshole.. I would not get into a bar brawl with him.
ZNation – Craig Engler and the Asylum gang will be at the con to meet with zombies from all over. I really like what they’re doing with ZNation because you can tell they are just having fun with it and trying to carve out their own niche. The focus is more on zombies and survival so, in many ways, ZNation goes back to the basics. It’s a show that compliments The Walking Dead quite well. On one side you have depth, complex relationships, and intelligent dialogue and, on the other, good old-fashioned action and unapologetically campy fun.
Hasbro – Outside of the TV and film stars, most of the names on the “ticket” are small businesses, startups, and personal brands. Hasbro certainly sticks out for me. I’m a big fan of tabletop gaming so this may be an opportunity to set up some late-night sessions of Zombie Dice and Pandemic!
Castle Comics – I am always encouraged when I see smaller publishers at these events. I haven’t heard much of Castle Comics so I’d love to check them out. What’s particularly exciting to me is that there are still traditional publishers in this mostly-digital age. There are some things you can’t do outside of print media.
Internet Gal – WTF default text?? As an NISM-certified social media strategist, I need to make Internet Gal aware that here web site has tons of placeholder/default text. That does not look good for someone who professes they are an expert in all things online marketing and content. DOH!
MaddPropps – This is the first time I’ve heard of MaddPropps but their artwork is quite impressive. I’d love to shake hands and tell them to keep up the good work.. And perhaps I can help them do more with their web site and social media. This level of quality artwork needs proper promotion!
What can the press expect?
One thing to note is that Atlanta is essentially the main/flagship event for Walker Stalker Con so access to the stars will be very limited. AMC has been clear in stating that the press will not be able to interview or even approach current TWD stars (those that have not been killed off). It’s a smidge disappointing but it makes sense.
As I mentioned earlier, fans get priority access, especially if they paid for the VIP badges. For us press, we’ll be limited to two-minute interactions, unless we make appointments in advance. That’s not a bad deal at all.
For us here at the Geeky Antics network, this event will be more about the fans than the stars. This is my first romp at WSC so I want to enjoy it more as a fanboy while still being able to bring the event to you folks who couldn’t make it this time.
Here are some deets straight from the latest media update:
Media Badges can be picked up at the convention center as early as this Thursday from 12pm-8PM. These will be available at the will call booth of ticketing. If you cannot make it at that time to pick them up (I recommend doing so then if possible to avoid crowds) that is fine, they will be available all weekend during convention hours.
The Atlanta Convention Center at AmericasMart (Building 2)
230 Spring Street NW,
Atlanta, GA 30303
We have partnered with Parking Panda, to allow visitors to purchase parking passes at several locations within walking distance to the convention center.
The after hours events – IronE’s one man show, Emily Kinney’s concert, and the Zombie Bash are all free to attend for you, your media badge grants you access to these events so you can cover them.
You CANNOT attend the VIP meet n greets, these are for VIP attendees only.
Outside of those rather boring details, I just realized that there are around 15-20 panels each day.. I doubt we’ll be able to cover all of them (thoroughly, at least) but we will try! Here are the panels that stood out for me:
Walker Stalker Con Panels – Main Panel Room
- The One Man Show with IronE Singleton – Friday 3pm – Remember T-Dog from TWD? Well, the man that goes by the stage name “IronE” will be doing one-man shows. We have not received much information here but I am curious what he will bring. Here’s IronE’s web site – http://www.ironesingleton.com/
- KNB EFX with Greg Nicotero – Saturday 10am – Dig the behind-the-scenes and “shop talk” of zombies and special effects? This will be the panel for you. Greg THE MAN Nicotero will be there!
- Bromance Panel with Andrew Lincoln & Norman Reedus – Saturday 1pm – Unless you are one of the weirdo Governor/Shane fans, this is where you’ll want to be for #TeamRick and #TeamDaryl love. Bromances are beautiful.. But you still can’t have my beer.
- The Vampire Diaries with Ian Somerhalder & Paul Wesley – Sunday 11am – I don’t really watch the show but I will be here to represent the teeny boppers in my family… Heh.
- ZNation – Sunday 3pm – If Craig Engler will be there, so will I! Craig is all about supporting the community and I think that is important in this age of social media. ZNation may not have the depth and polish of TWD, but they are doing something fresh and daring with the show.. Keep it up, Asylum!
Walker Stalker Con Panels – Convention Hall
- The Walker Stalkers Podcast LIVE – Friday 1pm – Eric & James will kick off the convention officially with a live podcast. I hope to make this because it’d be great to see them in the flesh doing what they do best! As a podcaster that prefers live broadcasts to pre-recorded sessions, I can’t wait to see how they involve the audience.. The bantering will be REAL!
- Zombie Ethics by Emory University – Friday 2pm – Ethics matter every day but, during an apocalyptic event or crisis scenario, I’d argue that they matter even more. I wonder how deep Emory University will go with this or if it will just be a cheap ploy to sell coursework. I believe in you, Emory! Tell us about how ethics keep us honest and human.. And we need to maintain humanity if we are to truly survive!
- Jeff Kober – Friday 3pm – I want to shake Jeff’s hand.. Just because.. But I am scared he might crush it. Can Jeff Kober beat Chuck Norris? We should ask him that.
- The Walking Dead Podcasters, Live Joint Podcast Recording – Friday 6pm – A joint podcasting session? AWESOME! I’m hoping we’ll get invited to join this session next year; otherwise, I’m fine with begging.
- Writing Dead with Jay Bonansinga – Saturday 2pm – Creative writing meets the undead? Yes, please. I wonder if this will focus on screenwriting or writing as a whole. It seems there are so many writers trying to cash in on the zombie resurgence right now yet few delve into “zero hour” or the “after the cure” scenario. I hope this panel/workshop addresses that.
- The Haunted Spirituality Of The Walking Dead with Father Danny Bryant – Saturday 4pm – This seems like a bit of a stretch.. What spiritual lessons does TWD teach us? All the characters spend time in a very spiritually gray area, no? Father Bryant, I’d love to hear your thoughts here.
- Comic Book Men – Sunday 11am – I don’t particularly keep up with CBM or comics at that, but I am curious to see how much the industry has changed over the past decade. I’m SO out of touch… And old. YIKES!
- Zombie Go Boom – Various Times – Exploding zombies? Wait, what exactly is going on here? Do we need to wear rain coats and pretend this is Gallagher?
There’s also the famous Zombie Bash party (that might be redundant) at 9:30pm Saturday. Should be lots of fun though I wonder if that will be a conflict with Emily Kinney’s concert. For more press coverage, go here:
Let’s hang out! GeekyAntics & AllGames Meetups
Copious notes and fan reactions. That’s what we’ll be mostly doing. Late-nights we’ll be enjoying pints with our friends from AllGames.com, GeekyAntics network, and the Twitch communities.
If you’ll be at WSC are in the Atlanta area, look out for #TWTT and follow @GeekyAntics on Twitter. We’ll be doing impromptu meetups throughout the weekend. I will try to keep the tweets floating all day and all night, too (when I’m not taking copious notes). Oooooh, maybe we can get a live photo blog going, too!
Well, there is still much to be done before I depart on Wednesday. Looking forward to meeting and hanging out with everyone!
BTW, what did you guys think of the TWD Season 5 premiere?
Can they keep this momentum and quality going?