It’s no secret that Trevor and I are big fans of The Walking Dead, and of zombies in general. Well, not fans of zombies, but, of, like, getting prepared for the zombie apocalypse by watching as many zombie-preparedness specials (or “fictional” t.v. shows, as you might call them) as possible.
And since we moved to Camp Crystal Lake three years ago, we enjoy Sunday nights during The Walking Dead‘s regular season with viewing parties. Now, to be clear, “parties” is a relative term and in our context means that my friend Lisa comes over and we all hang out watching our favorite zombie-fighting crew on t.v. as we eat cookies and drink tea. ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE TEA! (no, it’s just regular tea.)
So last spring when Lisa heard that the Walker Stalker Convention would be in Chicago at the end of May, she and I knew that we had to go. And we went. And it was fantastic.
Lisa’s brother Jason joined us (Trevor decided to sit it out [he might have been a little scared that there would be real zombies there (that’s just my speculation but is probably 100% true)]) and we three headed to the convention without knowing what, exactly, to expect.
We figured we’d see some good Walking Dead cosplay, and we were not disappointed.
Once we realized just how fun the whole place was, Lisa, Jason, and I got a little bit in on the action by taking pictures with some stars:
But those two weren’t as lively as we wanted. So we got a little closer to the action and approached some of the photo-op and autograph tables, where people waited in line to get a snapshot and a 30-second chat with their favorite stars. We almost bit the bullet to meet Sonequa Martin-Green, but I was too intimidated by her face. Because her face is the most perfect face ever. I thought it’d be like looking into the sun, and I wasn’t prepared for that.
But then, Lisa and I saw a table…and we knew who we needed to meet, whose hand we needed to shake, and whose handle-bar moustache we needed to be within breathing distance of:
And meeting Michael Cudlitz was absolutely worth waiting in line. I’ve love-hated him since he recited his awkward poem to John Cusack in a high school hallway in Grosse Pointe Blank:
And just plain loved him since his role as Officer John Cooper in the gone-too-soon Southland, easily one of the best police dramas ever to air on television. Ever.
Meeting Cudlitz was a hot minute of super-duper fun in the form of a rushed handshake, some babbling from Lisa and me about what big fans we are, and a few selfies. And after our Abraham-encounter, we did some more wandering, bought some souvenirs, and wound down the afternoon with a newfound love of conventions in our hearts. And some special time in the VIP Lounge.
Lisa and I immediately Googled to see when there would be other conventions coming to the area, and we saw that August was bringing Wizard World to Chicago. Of course we made plans to go. Lisa roped her daughters to join us for a proper girls’ day out, and yesterday, in a perfect summer book-end, we hung out at one of the friendliest social events I’ve ever attended.
I mean that honestly; conventions are so friendly. People come together to celebrate in their shared love of all things nerd-culture: comic books, action figures, superheroes, video games, cartoons, zombies, creatures of all shapes and sizes…And everyone wants to celebrate together. People who dress up love to pose for pictures; their faces light up when you tell them how great their costumes are; no one pushes or gets testy about crowds; and everyone is just there to have fun. I love it!
And of course we did some shopping and I got some things for other people and some things for myself, my favorite being a set of bad-guy portraits from South Carolina-based Jellykoe Studio.
Clearly, Kelly and J. Spencer of Jellykoe are the greatest duo to ever create adorable things. I had to seriously control myself from getting one of everything.
But, as with all good conventions, Wizard World eventually wore us out. We’d taken some breaks, but our feet were tired and not even chocolate-vanilla twist ice-cream cones could bring us up to full energy levels.
So we hauled ourselves to the car and hit the road home, tired, and very happy.
Now that Lisa and I are two-time conventioneers, we’re hooked. We’re already talking about the big fish of the Chicago comic scene, Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, coming in April. But while at Wizard World, we also entered a raffle to win tickets to Comic-Con International, the biggest of the big. We’ll probably win. I’m sure our odds are good. Right? Right.
We’ll see you next summer, San Diego.