This past weekend (Saturday 4th / Sunday 5th March 2017), thousands of shambling fans of the undead shuffled their way toward this Nation’s proud capital for a fervent celebration of everything zombie. And somehow, AEISD Contributor Mark Searby somehow blended in, unnoticed.
…hmmm – how bizarre. 😉
Here’s his review of what Mark saw and got up to, amongst the walkers…
For the second year running, WALKER STALKER CON returned to London’s massive Olympia convention space for two whole days of zombie excitement. The return wasn’t bigger for 2017 – the same floor space was used as the previous year – but the attitude was most certainly badder with the addition of the bat-swinging, leather jacket-wearing, sardonically-smiling nasty of THE WALKING DEAD’s Season 7… Negan himself, aka the ever-charming Jeffery Dean Morgan.
Also making appearances at the event were a huge roster from the TWD cast, including Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Michael Cudlitz (Abraham Ford), David Morrissey (The Governor), Alanna Masterson (Tara Chambler), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene), Seth Gilliam (Gabriel Stokes), Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes) and more. (It wasn’t all TWD‘s party, mind: this year also featured guests from other horror-based TV shows including Denis O’Hare (AMERICAN HORROR STORY, TRUE BLOOD), Freddie Highmore and Nestor Carbonell (BATES MOTEL).
After a small f–k-up actually getting into the venue (a number of general ticket attendees – myself included – were guided off from the correct entrance and then, marching into the venue, were told we were now in the wrong queue; top brass security soon sorted it though), it was smooth sailing for the rest of the con. Guest tables were nicely spaced apart so none of the crowds were bleeding into each other, vendors had ample floor space and there was even plenty of room to sit on the floor and take a load off.
That’s not to say Walker Stalker Con wasn’t packed to the gills because it most certainly was. Once again, the event had sold out months beforehand, and it seemed most of the attendees were there for a photo and/or autograph with Messrs. Morgan, Lincoln or Reedus. Those queues stretched around the upper floors perimeter and never looked like they were moving – however, clearly they did as people were bouncing around the venue, excitedly talking about meeting and hugging the honoured guests.
The visiting talent cannot ever be accused of being stand-off at Walker Stalker Con. All of the celebs on hand had tables yet most were actually stood to the side of them, getting up close and personal with fans, talking and posing for photos. Whether spending thirty minutes in a queue or three hours, you want to know that you will get precious, ample time to talk to the guests. So it was delightful to see them all spending time with the fans and happy to chat away for several minutes with everyone. There were hugs aplenty as well – Iron Singleton seemed to be giving hugs out to everyone, even little babies.
Indulging a personal passion, Denis O’Hare let me talk about my love of TRUE BLOOD to him; I also tapped him up for details on his new film THE PARTING GLASS, which stars some of the actors from the series. (The film is written by O’Hare himself and is directed by TB star, Stephen Moyer).
This wasn’t the highlight of my day, however: my big excitement was saved for meeting Seth Gilliam. While a secondary character in THE WALKING DEAD, Gilliam gave a pivotal performance as Sgt Carver in HBO’s masterpiece THE WIRE, a show I can proclaim myself to be somewhat of an addict. So, as it became my turn to shake hands with Seth, I chose a different option, saluting and proclaiming, “Sgt. Carver!”
Thankfully, this broke the ice and made Seth crack up – we got to talking about the genius of THE WIRE. To get the opportunity to talk about that show with one of the main cast was my nirvana. I even wore my fav TW shirt in celebration!
In summery: for all of the masses in attendance, Walker Stalker Con is one of the most relaxed cons I’ve been to in quite a long time. There was no pushing or shoving; people were happy to wait in long lines without moaning or tut-ing; the entire vibe of the con was very upbeat. Normally, there is something to find fault with at every con, but apart from that slight cock-up of getting in, everything appeared to run perfectly smoothly for Walker Stalker Con in London. My salutes to the organisers and staff of this demon of an event.
I know, I know. Wrong monsters.
All photos by Sam Payne. Used with kind permission.