When it comes to conventions, there are two categories. They either appeal to the general masses by having a little bit of everything or they target a niche market. Walker Stalker Con falls into the latter category, and they do so with style.
One of the chief complaints at larger conventions are the endless lines to meet the one or two celebrities from a favorite movie, comic series or television show. This is not the case with Walker Stalker Con. Three-fourths of the core The Walking Dead cast was in attendance at Walker Stalker Orlando, and, what’s more, they were readily accessible. Actors from fan favorite episodes of TWD and other films/shows were within arms reach of the shows’ devotees.
Said fans could shake hands, take photos and share a memory or two with celeb guests in short order. The lines at Walker Stalker moved lightning fast and I found the staff to be beyond courteous: many of them being fans themselves. When Josh McDermitt (aka the magnificent mullet sporting Eugene Porter) walked out from behind his table and started shaking hands with random fans I realized this was no ordinary convention.
The open-air setup for the celebrity panels gave the convention even more of a tone of accessibility. Normally, if you aren’t one of the forty or so people, with the time and determination to camp out in front of a panel room, you don’t get to sit in on the panel. By having the panel seating roped off in the same space as the regular convention floor, spectators were able to see and hear speakers they would have zero chance of seeing at a similar event. Large screens were setup on the sides of the panel area, thus making every seat the best seat in the house.
I sat in on the discussion with Giancarlo Esposito and RJ Mitte, of Breaking Bad fame, and it is easily in my top three favorite panels to date. Both men deftly navigated the questions posed by devotees of the series. RJ’s response, to one impassioned fan’s question about why Walter Jr. eventually voiced his clear distain for his father on the show, was inspiring.
Mitte took a brief moment to collect his thoughts and enthusiastically replied, “What did Walt even give his family? Money? Sure but ultimately that was taken away by the DEA and all Walt Jr. ever wanted was love and the truth. His father could never give him either.”
Let’s not forget the merchant tables. Instead of boundless searching through a labyrinth of booths, in hopes of finding a dealer of interest, every shop is potentially of interest to visitors. To whit, you have much less distance to travel around the promenade to unburden yourself of your funds in exchange for must have items.
Walker Stalker is definitely on to something by appealing to a niche market and I for one cannot wait to attend next year.