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EVENT: Walker Stalker Fan Fest 2015 “Brings Out The Dead” for Walking Dead Fans at San Diego Comic-Con

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The Outlaw and the Farmer. A sitcom not coming soon to a TV near you.

 

You heard it hear first, the dead are officially rising from the grave. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not referencing the recent announcement of The Rolling Stones international tour dates for 2016, but instead bringing awareness to Walker Stalker Fan Fest.

The Walking Dead inspired zombie fest is a convention that celebrates all things that were at some point alive before coming undead, only to be permanently killed… again. The zombie-themed fan gathering was held at Petco Park this past July in concurrence with San Diego Comic-Con 2015.

 

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I was born to wear this stuff. Unless it’s really muggy and hot out in which case I prefer shorts and a t-shirt.

 

Before I continue, let me assure you I do realize that roughly a quarter of a year has passed since the event and I’m just getting around to write about it now. Outside of having as much free time as a broken clock, my reasoning for the time gap was based on a judgment call more than anything else. With the sixth season premiere of The Walking Dead upon within 48 hours and its sister show Fear the Walking Dead having just wrapped up its season finale mere days ago, I felt like the iron was dead hot for this this specific posting. As you can now see, despite your legitimate concerns for my well-being, there was actually a method to my madness… this time anyway.

That’s enough about my graceful choice of timing – or lack thereof – as I’d prefer to share with my fellow Outlaws what made the Walker Stalker Fan Fest (WSFF) a truly unique experience. At its core, the convention makes it’s bones (pun creatively intended) by being the con where the dead and dead undead go to become re-undead. If I lost you, don’t fret, it only means you are an official part of the Outlaw community. In layman’s terms, WWSF is in large part a gathering where those killed off of AMC’s The Walking Dead TV series can come to spill their guts. See what I did there?

 

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Looks like Gareth (Andrew J. West) would like seconds at the Bob-B-Q (Lawrence Gilliard, Jr).

 

This is all made possible simply because the former stars of the shows that attend the event are no longer contractually obligated to the series, and in turn not beholden to AMC. Thus, ex-cast members are free to speaketh their minds without fear of a large cable network serving them with a lawsuit for saying something outside of the series’ confidential topic boundaries. You might think it a bit tedious listening to actors no longer associated with The Walking Dead speak about their time on the series, but that couldn’t be any further from the truth. Having the chance to sit in on a panel featuring Tyler James Williams (Noah) proved surprisingly entertaining as he recounted some stories from the set sans filter.

 


The man you never want to walk behind while entering a revolving glass door.

 

Fortunately, the victims of AMC’s his series were not confined to the stage either just to tell tales of the past either. Several booths were setup to give fans the chance to get autographs, take pictures and relieve any worries their favorite past characters still had their real skin and heads fully intact.

 

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Chad Coleman (Tyreese) is all smiles seeing as he doesn’t have to deal with zombies in real life (TV executives not included)

 

The biggest highlights of the past players included the likes of Scott Wilson (Herschel Greene), Michael Rooker (Merle Dixon), and IronE Singleton (T-Dog). All three of them graciously accepted to briefly chat and photograph with The Outlaw free of charge, and each meeting was distinctive and irreplaceable in how they played out.

My first quick meet and greet was with everyone’s favorite farmer, the man who played Herschel Greene, Scott Wilson. I immediately thanked Wilson for portraying my favorite character on the series (behind Rick) and for bringing such a beautiful on-screen daughter into the apocalyptic world. The actor was incredibly grateful, classy, and even reminded me quite a bit of my late grandfather in many ways.

 

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Mr. Wilson in all his glory, head and leg fully intact.

 

The second star on my docket was the talented Michael Rooker, also known to most as Daryl’s BBBB (Bad Boy Big Bro) Merle Dixon. Rooker was a big fan of the Outlaw getup and came across like a drinking buddy the moment I started chatting with him. He also playfully ribbed me by carelessly throwing the Outlaw sticker swag to the ground, to which I quipped “you aren’t the first to do that.” Laughing, he picked them up and put them in his pocket as he gave me one last handshake.

 

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Guardian of the Dixons, Mr. Rooker was the terminator of The Walking Dead world.

 

The most interesting and pleasantly eye-opening encounter occurred with T-Dog himself, IronE Singleton. It seems like forever since T-Dog graced the scenes, but the selfless acts of heroism he performed in his final moments made the loss of his character one of the emotionally roughest on the series up to that point. What made my time with Singleton so memorable was how incredibly genuine and full of love he was not just to me, but every single person in line. The wait to meet “T-Dog” was actually the longest not because he had the most people, but because he took at least 5 – 10 minutes to speak with everyone that visited his booth. He absolutely loved the Outlaw and I had to the chance to chat with the actor for at least 10 minutes. In addition, he must have hugged me at least three times during our entire conversation. I can’t say enough positive things about Mr. Singleton as I not only walked away impressed, but I walked away feeling good about life.

 

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IronE “T-Dog” Singleton showing that Outlaws need love too.

 

Possibly the most bone-chilling part of the festivities took place when I sat down to chat with Krisztian Majdik (Editor) and Joseph Pilato (voice of Harry Cooper) from the new animated film, Night of the Living Dead: Darkest Dawn. Without mincing words, it may have been the most bizarre interview I’ve ever conducted, and may ever conduct as the Outlaw. And mind you this is coming from someone who straps action figures to his body while walking around in boots and spurs. Click the link below to check out the “interesting” Q&A:

 

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While finger guns won’t stop a zombie, they still look pretty cool (especially the double barrel model.)

 

https://youtu.be/f9-6vFEWZiQ
For inquiring minds I present the zombie interview of the year.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Walker Stalker Fan Fest 2015, and that’s not just because the crowds were small and it provided a place for the Outlaw to wipe his brow under the shade of the Petco Park baseball stadium. Free drinks at the undead after party didn’t hurt either. Hopefully my liver will eventually re-animate from the dead as well.

 

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If you’ve ever seen the Padres play, you’d pray for a zombie apocalypse too.

 

 

(Of course what’s a zombie convention without actual zombies and zombie slayers. I present to you the best of the undead costumes at this year’s WSFF.)

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Hollywood’s newest target demographic.

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Rick responding to negative reviewers on “Rotten Tomatoes for Brains”.

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No one takes the last outdoor patio table from Grimes.

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Rick showing you can teach an old zombie new dance movies.

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Inside Comic-Con, but figured I’d sneak this in anyway.

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It’s a Ricktator sandwich as old Rick and New Rick surround a creamy undead filling.

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It was like Norman Reedus was right there with me… minus a few inches or 12.

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Why do the cute ones always have to be undead?

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Rick finally found “Coral”. Now he can get back to creating hilariously cheesy internet memes.

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If Daryl dies, I sense an opening for the Outlaw.

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Rick (aka the Outlaw’s best friend Jerry) trying to look tough as his Colt Python is spews ever color of the neon rainbow.

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If you’ve met my friend Jerry, that “Safe Zone” sign would seem like a misleading sales pitch.

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I’m a sucker for a girl with red lips… and face, and teeth, and forehead…

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When Michonne requests a photo with you, you say “how many”?

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Red Vines (aka the Vegan diet plan for zombies.)

Mini Zombie

You know someone’s infected when they actually ask for MORE than one Geek Outlaw sticker.

 

 

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