Walker Stalker Con is the world’s biggest celebration of The Walking Dead, AMC’s hit TV series that focuses less on the zombie apocalypse and more on what happens to the world when it happens. It’s a unique spin on the zombie trope that brings special attention to humanity and heart, and it’s been wildly popular since it’s debut. Based on the comics by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard the television adaptation has become one of the biggest shows worldwide, spawning a spin-off titled Fear The Walking Dead. Walker Stalker Con (WSC) is dedicated to the fandom that has made the success of the show possible with celebrity photo-ops, TWD panels, merchandise and more.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I hit the floor of the Walker Stalker Con Atlanta this past weekend but I wasn’t wholly disappointed. From the get-go, there was an air of excitement and fun surrounding me as fans of literally every age converged on the Georgia World Congress Center to celebrate the fandom of undead that’s been spreading across the world for the past several years.
The staff was very friendly if a bit disorganized, and they were all very helpful in navigating the hundreds of con-goers towards the appropriate lines and rooms for tickets, accessibilities, and general information. Once my pass was acquired and my bag was checked at one of the surprisingly many bag check lines, I was off! The con floors open up to a large space of booths and vendors, and the first look at it can tell you everything you need to know about a convention for seasoned con-goers. Immediately inside to the left was this awesome set-up for photos, where people could snap a picture in front of a few props, a creepy backdrop, and some questionably bloody vehicles.
The con floor was a small but spread out area filled with merch and photo-ops, and I was really happy to see how wheel-chair friendly it was. With wide aisles, it seemed easy for the numerous chairs to navigate the floor without being backed up or crowded, and it was also fairly stroller-friendly as well. I loved the different art tables, paintings, and lithographs and jewelry dedicated and centered around The Walking Dead, showing just how specialized and dedicated the WSC fans are to their fandom.
Some booths had photo shoots set up with amazing backdrops and Walker cosplayers that were more than willing to take a bite out of unsuspecting patrons who stood too close. The celebrity photo-op section was definitely the highlight and main focus of the con, with the most spacious set-up and attention. Set to the side and near the food court, which is ingenious if you plan on standing in line for hours and will be able to send a friend for a drink, the celebrity meets were the draw of most of the crowd. Unlike many other cons, though, none of the celebrity guests hung out at their tables, so there was no chance to sneak a peek at them, which was probably the point.
To be honest, if I had to have a single drawback for the con I would say it was the panels. We attended the Telltale TWD: Lily and Clementine panel where we got to listen and interact with Nicki Rapp and Melissa Hutchinson who are the respective voice actors for the popular characters in the game. Though it was a fun panel and seemingly interesting, the reverb from the speakers was so loud that it was very difficult to hear, the lighting so bright that I had to watch most of it through my phone’s camera in order to see more clearly and the panelists DEFINITELY could not see the audience. It was also located on the con floor, right next to the food court and the merch booths, and I found the residual noise from there to be overwhelming and distracting.
This proved true at the subsequent panels afterward, and eventually, I gave up hope of trying to enjoy them. It may not have been as bad in the immediate few rows, which were close to the stage, but they were reserved for VIP con attendees, so I can’t speculate. I was also disappointed that WSC seemed very accessible until it came to the panels. The section designated for wheelchair users was towards the middle of the set up for panels and off to the side. Standing by it later, I’d be surprised to hear if they were able to see or hear anything at all.
Overall, WSC Atlanta was a pleasant experience, especially for the fans immersed in the fandom and with interest in purchasing merch and meeting celebrities. The staff, by and large, was the most friendly staffing I’ve encountered at cons. The interactive photo-ops and small size of the panels gave it a very intimate feeling like you truly were there as guests rather than paid attendees. I was a little bummed not to find some The Walking Dead comics available for purchase, but that’s a small point of contention with me since it’s marketed towards the television series.
I highly recommend this convention for The Walking Dead fans and enthusiasts and want to thank WSC for having us there! It was a unique experience and my first specialized con so it was truly like another world to me.