As the energy built for the release of “The Walking Dead” Season 7 Trailer on July 22, 2016 at the San Diego Comic Con, the TWD Fandom Community was and still is all a twitter. The countdown for the Season 7 Premiere on October 23rd has officially begun.
There are many other Fandoms out there, but I don’t think any can equal the camaraderie and love between the TWD Fans. Except maybe the Supernatural gang, but their fan base is predominately of the female gender so there is really no comparison.
Unless you’re a Walking Dead Fan, you’ll never understand the bond we all have. I have never experienced such a tight community even though we are all over the world.
My son and I recently attended our third Walker Stalker Con in Edison, NJ and it was a breath of fresh air after the rudeness we experienced in Disney World while chaperoning my Son’s school marching band last April.
Yes, fans of a zombie apocalypse show are hands down nicer and friendlier than any guest I encountered in the Magic Kingdom.
At the Con there were thousands of people, all ages and from all walks of life, who descended upon the convention center to see the stars from their favorite show, “The Walking Dead.” You have couples, families and best friends, all coming together for a weekend of everything “The Walking Dead.”
It was a TWD Love Fest indeed!
Some are cosplaying, dressed as their favorite characters, while others show their love by the t-shirt they chose to wear, or even with a tattoo or two. We gather to not just meet the stars, but to say thank you for all they do to make our viewing experience an amazing one.
We stand in line, sometimes for hours, but at no time do we complain. While we wait to see our favorite actor/actress, we discuss the show and compare our thoughts and feelings about some of the most gut wrenching episodes. We also get to know each other and often make new friends.
We are most definitely making memories that will last a lifetime.
And the stars reciprocate this love. Welcoming each fan with a handshake, a hug or both, as we come to their booth to get autographs, selfies or both. And, even a brief Meet and Greet for those whose budget is tight or have come baring gifts, which was me the past two conventions. Handing out t-shirts to promote this blog and much to my surprise, at this one, Iron E. Singleton was wearing the t-shirt I gave him at the last Con.
On a side note, please be aware that although Meet and Greets are allowed, if they get excessive, the powers that be will limit them to late in the day or cut them off all together. So please don’t abuse this fantastic opportunity. Remember these stars are giving up their weekends to come to the con. Some coming right from the set, taking red eye flights, and heading back late Sunday for an early set call on Monday. Yes, they are doing what they love, but they still deserve time off.
What an amazing feeling it is to chat with the stars about the show, your family, their family, past projects, future projects, whatever it is that you might want to discuss. For anywhere from 5 – 10 minutes, some even longer depending on the situation, it’s just you and your favorite actor/actress. This is most definitely the highlight of the convention. You cannot put a price on this.
For me though, in addition to that, I can’t put a price on this time spent just my son and me. It wasn’t until we got home Sunday night after the con that I realized how much these conventions truly mean to me. We were barely in the door and my son was on his computer, chatting with friends and playing games. I know, he’s a typical teenager, but after such an amazing weekend it would have been nice to have the camaraderie between him and I linger on, even if just for the rest of the day.
As my son gets older and slowly pulls away from me in search of his independence, these conventions become two days to have my son all to myself. These times are beyond special. Our day-to-day schedule can be so full, with the only time we have together being dinner, and even that can be filled with conversation about what needs to be tended to, so time away from home, doing what we both love, brings pure joy to my heart in more ways than I can count.
As I’ve said many times before, who knew a zombie apocalypse would help me make it through my son’s teens and allow me to get closer to him.
When my Son dragged me into the apocalyptic world of “The Walking Dead” back in 2013, I never thought the bond it created would be one that would be so valuable. At the time it was just something fun for the two us to do together. We would watch the show and discuss the episode. Since he reads the comics he always had/has insights that I would not pick up on. It created an open forum for discussions that sometimes would lead to subjects beyond the show. An open portal for territory we might not otherwise have discussed.
And here we are 3 years later completely immersed into the TWD Community, loving every minute of it and still going strong, if not stronger.
We are planning on heading to Georgia next Summer to do a repeat TWD Summer Road Trip, just as we did in 2014, but this time taking more time to explore. Hopefully my Son will have his license by then and can help with the driving.
Of course we will do all 3 Big Zombie Tours and include a visit to Nic and Norman’s, the restaurant opened in Senoia, AKA Woodbury, that is owned by Greg Nicotero, Norman Reedus and four additional producers. A TWD trip would not be complete without dining at this fine establishment. Who knows, we may just run into someone involved with the show?
I’m getting all a flutter just thinking about going back to Georgia. Planning this trip will bring light into the grey Winter days of January and February.
We have also decided once my Son turns 18 we will volunteer at one of the Walker Stalker Cons so we can experience things from the other side. This will take us up the end of my Son’s High School Years and usher in the next leg of his journey, College.
A journey that will most likely challenge both of us for different reasons. Let’s just hope the challenges are not of apocalyptic proportions.
I believe though, the toughest phase of the “Waking the Walker” Journey is still ahead of us. Dealing with all that’s involved in ones Junior and Senior Years of High School, plus all that goes into the process of selecting a career and college suited to get you prepared for that career, will most definitely test our stress and anxiety levels. Which in turn could pit us against each other, although I’m hoping the closeness we’ve achieved while bonding over TWD will help us sail through these years unscathed and create an even stronger bond.
The next two years will prove to be the real testing ground for my “TWD Apocalyptic Parenting Tactic.” Will it pass or fail is yet to be determined, but I can say so far it’s looking pretty good.
Why? Because I can most certainly feel the TWD LOVE, not just tonight, but every day!
© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2016. All rights reserved.
Photos from my Personal Collection