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We Are The Walking Dead!

November 16, 2010

Marvel Zombies...

This past October at New York Comic Con I attended the Walking Dead Panel. I’ve attended preview panels before, and the thought of the room reaching capacity never occurred to me. My friend Paul and I wandered down to the IGN theater in the Javits Center about 25 minutes before the scheduled start. I told him it “wouldn’t be a problem getting in. This room seats thousands.”

Sorry folks, park's closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya.

Arriving, we saw the doors to the room were shut. A person in an NYCC volunteer shirt told us “You have to go to corridor C. That is where you get into the theater.” I thought it would have been  more appropriately renamed corridor Z for the day. So we walked over to corridor C, which seemed to be a massive indoor parking lot for loading and unloading. Upon entering, it wasn’t the size of the area that was daunting, rather the number of people waiting to go see some zombies. The line was a geek melting pot. Horror fans, comic fans, super hero fans, Mad Men fans, anime and manga fans. We were all there. This zombie thing seems to cross all geek boundaries and brings us all together. At ten minutes before show time, the line began to move. The queue lurched forward. We were ten across and thousands long. We were all dragging our feet for fear of stepping on the person in front of us. The show’s schedule allowed little time for eat and drink, so we were all famished and dehydrated. Basically, We WERE THE WALKING DEAD!

A geek horde ready to do the unexpected and devour a zombie, if they see one, and it isn’t bigger than them.

About fifteen minutes later, we found ourselves about fifty people from the front of the line, when the NYCC security guards stopped us.

“No more! No more! Room is full!” They told us.

“What the Hell?!” We were so close. There were still a thousand people behind us.  One thousand angry geeks is a frightening thing, because they’re smart.  Smart people are scary when they want to be.  You know what to expect from an angry weightlifting meat-head, but this was — unpredictable.  Like zombies.  Nobody moved.  Nobody dispersed.  We were moments away from  a nerd herd transforming into a geek stampede.

One lone tiny volunteer walked out and whispered to one of the guards, who then declared “Okay! I can let twenty in! If I tap you, you can go inside!”

He stepped forward and began hitting people on the shoulder, and they ran into the dark theater like they won a new car. Then he stopped. “No more!”

It happened again. He let fifteen in. Paul and I were right there. We were thirty or so feet from getting into the theater!  And, I was ten seconds from pulling a “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” which I have gotten very good at over the years. (Remind me to tell you all the story of how I talked my brother and I into a sold out screening at an internationally renowned festival. I think I might be a Jedi…  It’s really all in the eyes.)  I can generally bluff my way into anything.

Suddenly the guard declared that there was standing room only for another twenty or so people. Paul and I were among the last FIVE let in. *Whew.*

So we got in. And these are a few of the things I heard:

Some of the primary influences Robert Kirkman, writer and creator of the comic version, calls upon when approaching the zombie genre are Dawn of the dead and Shaun of the dead, which are both very evident in his writing. He is going to be writing the fourth episode of the season, Vatos, which he said was “a lot of fun because he gets to revisit some characters.” The cast of the comic has changed so much over the years, that many of the original cast, like David Lean,  are unavailable.  As a result, he is able to explore different aspects of characters that he hasn’t had the opportunity to play with in a while.

The character that Kirkman can’t wait for the show to introduce? The Governor.

King of the County. Lord of the Manor.

Frank Darabont is no stranger to horror. He wrote one of my favorite horror films EVER, Nightmare on Elm Street Three: The Dream Warriors.  In addition, he was a writer of multiple episodes of one of my favorite TV shows of all time, The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles. He revealed some his zombie favorites as Day of the Dead, Night of the Living Dead, Peter Jackson’s Dead Alive and 28 Days Later…

The character that Darabont can’t wait to get to on the show? Michonne. He described her as the “Pam Grier role.” He imagined her introduction on the show to be like that of a Samurai walking out of the desert with a pair of zombies chained to her.

Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd , Frank Darabont

Robert Kirkman, Gale Anne Hurd , Frank Darabont

One of the most amusing Darabont moments during the panel was when the Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile director realized that the Walking Dead Storyline (If it makes it past the first season) will bring him back to jail at some point.

When asked how the Walking Dead compares to the other programming on AMC Darabont shared this statement, “Were going to make Breaking Bad look like pussies.”

Here are some pics from the panel, taken standing in the dark as far as you can possibly be from the stage, so they might be a little out of focus…  Sorry.

Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori), and Jon Bernthal  (Shane)

Andrew Lincoln (Rick), Sarah Wayne Callies (Lori), and Jon Bernthal (Shane)

All that were in attendance

This is what it really looked like from where I was standing—->

It was dark and scary. I had not eaten in hours. Zombies could have stood right next to me.

And lastly, Frank Darabont in wonderfully shaky HD (reiterating that I was standing very far) explaining the path that Robert Kirkman has provided.  It might be best to just listen to it…

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. November 17, 2010 11:03 am

    That is a great story, I wish I could have seen your ‘DO you know who I am?!’ speech.

    • November 17, 2010 11:28 am

      Thanks! The speech will have to wait for another post. It is too much for this zombie entry. It is a whole adventure unto itself.

  2. November 21, 2010 10:07 am

    I love reading your struggle to get inside the theater, the way you tell the story reminds me of my favorite Indonesian writer, I don’t know how to express it in English.

    By the way, I write about zombies today 🙂 would love to know what you think about those 2 zombie movies.

  3. rickcarrion permalink
    December 4, 2010 12:00 pm

    hey man, i was at the con as well. i arrived at the IGN theater about 45 minutes before the panel thinking i’d get in. the line was WAY too long for my tastes. i heard it was an awesome panel and really wished i would have braved the lines instead of heading back to artists alley.

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