Walker Stalker Con definitely isn’t the first zombie/horror convention in existence and it won’t be the last – but there is one huge thing that sets it apart from the others, one thing you feel when you enter the room – one thing the artists all share just as deeply as the fans that come to see them.
It’s all about the enthusiasm.
Walker Stalker was created by fans, for fans, and it focuses on more than just celebrity meet and greets. WS brings forward the passion of the pop culture obsession with the undead and allows you to experience it with kindred spirits.
James and Eric are the brains and operation of Walker Stalker Con and the story of how it came to be what it is today is quite incredible.
The pair experienced a rare trip to the set of The Walking Dead where they met Melissa McBride – among other cast members – and they were inspired to share their trip with others and turn it into something bigger, not just for themselves, but for other fans.
The two started up the Walker Stalker’s podcast and their first episode was a glimpse into their trip to Georgia, what they saw, and what they thought it meant for the future of The Walking Dead. The pair had been friends for a while and it’s evident that their passion for the show brought them even closer together.
James and Eric struck gold as they began their podcasts when other fans had theirs on hiatus. This gave them the upper hand to grow and reach out to fans that still wanted to interact and talk about TWD even after the show ended for the season. The pair set up a website and began their interactive journey – what happened next was more than either one of them could have imagined.
Melissa McBride became a fan of their podcasts, and the rest is history.
We spoke with James during Walker Stalker Nashville and his passion for the convention, the show, and the interaction between fans and the celebrities they brought in was easy to see. James not only had the time to chat with us, but through the weekend he walked around the convention, helped with panels, and experienced it too – he was interested in being part of the journey. This not only allowed James to have fun for a weekend and meet incredible people – it allowed him to see first hand what the fans liked, what they wanted more of, and what his first trip to Georgia with his friend started.
During the first 10 podcast episodes, James and Eric were already interviewing celebs from The Walking Dead. It was almost unheard of, but the pair had a natural charisma that made it easy to see their passion and talent and it was recognized easily.
Walker Stalker started as a way to commemorate their first trip. Their 25th podcast celebrates a cast party with Melissa, Daniel Thomas May, and E Roger Mitchell – along with 80+ of their closest friends. Walker Stalker’s mission, to this day, is to recreate the experience James and Eric had that first weekend for all the fans of The Walking Dead – and they’ve managed to do just that, and then some.
The pair had a kickstarter that Lauren Cohan and Norman Reedus became part of and within a month they were able to raise enough money to make Walker Stalker Con a reality, and from that first convention – they saw their vision happen right before their eyes.
Among Melissa, Norman, and Lauren backing the Walker Stalkers – Andrew Lincoln (who had never been to a convention sans the original comic con in California – came to Walker Stalker and from there – things blew up! James said the amount of interested fans went from 1,000 to 10,000 in months and from there, the numbers have only continued to grow.
We took a moment to chat about Atlanta’s Walker Stalker also, and how even though it’s a bigger convention, it’s more personal, more like what the pair envisioned, and it’s close to the set of The Walking Dead so there are more opportunities for fans who get to make the trip!
They’ve grown to have a team of over 15 employees and a number of volunteers that help make Walker Stalker a reality each year and James said they’re not just coworkers, they’re a family – and what is more important than that?
If you’re a fan of The Walking Dead or the pop culture world where the undead rule, we advise you to find a date and weekend close to you and get there. It was easily the best convention we’ve ever gone to, certainly the most interactive, and we left with memories we’ll keep with us forever.