When I’d first heard rumors that a “Walking Dead”-centric convention was possibly coming to Boston, my curiosity was more than piqued. When the rumors were confirmed to be true, and the convention in question was actually the fairly new “Walker Stalker Con,” created by the wonderful minds behind the “Walker Stalkers” podcast– James Frazier and Eric Nordhoff- I was elated. I’d heard an overwhelming amount of good things about past Walker Stalker conventions in other cities- so I couldn’t wait to check it out. What better way to prepare myself for San Diego Comic-Con, and really kick off the whole Summer/Fall convention circuit in general- than by enjoying one centered around my favorite franchise- right in my own backyard?
It wasn’t until I saw the impressive full list of confirmed guests and the schedule for some of the panels and events planned that I had to refrain from throwing on my (nearly completed) Daryl Dixon costume a little too early and have a full-blown fan-girl freak-out. I grabbed my weekend pass and I headed down to the Westin on the Waterfront this past Saturday and Sunday to get my zombie aficionado on.
First and foremost, I really want to commend the staff involved in the Boston “Walker Stalker Con,” which includes both hired hands as well as the tons of eager volunteers I encountered during my two days in the hotel. Every single person I spoke to who was involved in pulling this off were so friendly, so helpful, and so, so funny- that I was at a loss for words more than once. I’ve been to various conventions over the past few years- and some of the people working different booths, panels, or photo areas- have all but ruined the experience for myself and others with their rude, condescending, and mean-spirited attitudes. That wasn’t the case with “Walker Stalker Con.” I was met with smiles, laughter, more than one high-five, and even patience at one point when I got lost trying to find an area of the convention I was supposed to be in at a certain time. The upbeat attitudes of the staff and volunteers didn’t falter once- which only helped to make my weekend even better. It’s always more enjoyable when EVERYONE is having a good time.
Secondly, not to sound too cheesy- but I consider it an honor to be a part of such a wonderful community of fans. You’d be hard pressed to find people more dedicated to a comic/show/game than “Walking Dead” fans. Best of all? There’s no competition or rivalries within the fandom. Generally speaking- everyone gets along. At least that was the case with this past weekend’s convention. I met so many interesting, talented, sweet, knowledgeable, and passionate people of all ages and from all walks of life over the past couple of days who inspired me with their creativity and who truly made me feel welcome during discussions- ranging anywhere from cosplay to post-apocalyptic survival preparation to what our predictions were for season five. Getting to know so many people with common interests was not only refreshing- it was ridiculously fun.
Lastly, the cast of “The Walking Dead,” past and present, who were able to come to Boston this past weekend were fantastic. Every person I spoke to (and there were a lot of them!) were kind, humble, appreciative, and definitely hilarious. It was an incredible experience to be able to ask questions and have some one-on-one time with each of them. Much like the fans of the show- the actors who have played a role in it are also some of the coolest people you could ever hope to meet.
Out of all the panels, I think my favorites were Jeff Kober’s (who played Joe near the end of this past season, and who never fails to scare the living hell out of me in nearly every role he takes on,) and a “Little Dead Girls” one that featured Madison Lintz (Sophia,) Addy Miller (Zombie Girl) and Meyrick Murphy (Meghan) which was absolutely adorable- and maybe a little morbid.
Sean Patrick Flanery was also in town for a “Boondock Saints” 15th Anniversary Celebration that extended through the weekend and included Q&A’s and a screening of the movie with Brian Mahoney and David Della Rocco. Sean had his own panel on Sunday afternoon- which was a pretty wild event in itself and included a lot of really funny stories from his days of filming different projects- including a few near-death experiences.
When I wasn’t checking out the panels, saying hello to friends at different local vendor booths (many of whom I see every October at the ‘Rock N’ Shock’ convention,) or snapping photos- I was posing for some, instead.
Me with Jon Bernthal (Shane Walsh)
And Chad Coleman (Tyreese!)
And Jeff Kober:
And Brighton Sharbino (Lizzie,) who had me “just look at the flowers.”
Sean Patrick Flanery, OF COURSE:
Lauren Cohan (Maggie,) who was even more stunning in person than she is on TV:
And Steven Yeun (Glenn!)
There were so many other people who I didn’t have time to photobomb with my ridiculous grin, but who were lovely none-the-less, including Alanna Masterson, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., Sonequa Martin-Green, Michael Cudlitz, and Jose Pablo Cantillo.
All in all, I had an absolute blast. If you’re a fan of “The Walking Dead” and this convention comes to an area near you, I highly recommend going. You won’t regret it. Between the guests, the incredible staff, and the other fans in attendance- this might be one of my favorite convention experiences ever.