Written by: Abel S. Pinedo
July 13th, 2015
I'm a very big fan of The Walking Dead on AMC, so naturally
I was excited to take part in the Walker Stalker fan fest. Billed as a two day alternative to San Diego Comic Con, this was
a great opportunity to get up close and personal with some of your favorite character actors from the show in a way that San
Diego Comic Con really cannot provide.
The Walker Stalker fan fest has been around
for several years but this was its first venture to San Diego. With The Walking Dead Escape taking place at night, this made
for a much less physical and intense experience. You don't run the risk of getting bit by a walker here. Of course, there
were still a few roaming around.
As you made your way through the entrance, up several ramps, there
were signs of carnage around. Blood splatters and police tape blocked off certain areas. Once you made it upstairs, that's
where the fun began. There were several vendors selling all kinds of zombie and horror themed merchandise, right down to katana
swords just like Michonne's. There was also a game for kids of all ages to play where you had to shoot Nerf darts at mini
zombie heads. If you hit the target, you got a sweet reward in the guise of red licorice.
As for the celebrity guests, I have to start with Scott Wilson.
I have been a big fan of the film Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon for a long time. So, when Scott Wilson was cast
as Hershel, I was thrilled. I had the chance to tell him how much I loved his work in that film and he was very appreciative.
He was warm and welcoming as he greeted most of the fans with hugs, fist bumps or high fives. A classy gentleman.
Next up, I spent a moment with Chad Coleman (Tyreese). He was just
a big lovable bear of a guy to all the kids. He did seem a bit under the weather but he was a trooper. Immediately after,
I met Andrew J West who played the deadly Gareth. He was all smiles here though as he gladly posed for pictures. I had to
compliment him on the cockiness he brought to the role which just made the character of Gareth all that more chilling in his
Easily the biggest draw of the day was for Michael Rooker. He was
really getting into the act doing his best Merle as he snarled in his photos. I mentioned that I'd been a fan of his for a
long time and admired the intensity he brought to his roles, particularly when the role didn't necessarily call for it. He
was much taller than I anticipated as well.
The highlight for me though was meeting IronE Singleton (T-Dog).
T-Dog to me was the character you always wanted in your corner and I was bummed when he was killed off. IronE was just the
nicest guy in person. He posed for so many photos with each fan, making sure they got the shots they wanted. He took the time
to tell me his most exhausting moment from the show. IronE mentioned the scene where T-Dog fell and cut his arm was filmed
50 times until they got it right! That's dedication to the craft. As we parted, we hugged and I realized that no one left
him without a real personal moment. IronE is the definition of fan friendly. He was also promoting his new autobiography,
Blindsided by the Walking Dead which chronicles his struggles growing up in a rough neighborhood in Atlanta till sports and
faith and acting led him down the right path into the zombie killer we know and love today.
There was a stage where the various talent was being interviewed
through the event as well as answer a few questions. At the conclusion Saturday, there was a zombie cosplay contest. All in
all, a few minor hiccups aside as this was the first Walker Stalker fan fest in San Diego, I think the possibility
for the event to grow is there. I'd like to see more of the stars from the show able to stop by even if it's just for a shorter
time window. I would also like to see better signage with information/schedules posted throughout. The app needs to be updated
as well. Like I said, there is definitely room for this to grow into a bigger event. Time will tell.
About the Author: Abel S. Pinedo a.k.a.
"Honest Abe" has written reviews for Dark Horizons, JoBlo and MusicTap. He has worked in the entertainment
industry for over a decade. He can usually be found at his keyboard ranting and rambling about the human condition or watching
Beavis & Butthead.