Fandomfest was a zombie filled weekend, complete with celebrity sightings, over-the-top costumes, and the best zombie T-shirts I’ve ever seen. The convention was in Louisville, Kentucky, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect, because I’ve never been to Kentucky on purpose before. But everyone in Kentucky was extremely nice, the fried chicken was amazing, and the zombies were swarming the downtown area. What’s not to love?
I stayed at the hotel that was connected to the convention center, which happened to be where all the cast members (living and dead) from The Walking Dead were staying, so I got to enjoy seeing them without paying $50 each for autographs. On the first day of the event, I was walking through the skywalk from the convention center to the hotel, and I passed Lew Temple (Axel), who started playfully pounding on the window when he spotted the Starbucks that was across the street (so close but so far away). I also passed Michael Rooker (Merle) and Scott Wilson (Hershel) at the hotel bar on Saturday night. Rooker had his arm wrapped around a cute young woman, and she looked like she was on cloud nine (good for Rooker!). Then on the last day of the convention, Scott Wilson walked right past my booth before the convention doors opened. For some reason, I thought it would be a good idea to yell, “Zombies are people too!” as he walked by. He just smiled and raised his fist in the air. Apparently Hershel supports zombie rights as well.
These fan conventions attract two of my favorite types of people: costume wearers and people who wear clever T-shirts. I spotted some of the funniest T-shirts I’ve ever seen. But the best one had a picture of a zombified Jeff Bridges from The Big Lebowski with the words, “The Walking Dude” written across the front. I pointed at the shirt-wearer and yelled, “I want your shirt!” I had to give him a Jordan’s Brains button as a token of my gratitude for showing me the best T-shirt of all time. I’m definitely buying one for myself!
Of course, I went to Fandomfest to sell my books and promote Zombie Guide Magazine, but I had such a great time people-watching from my booth that I would have been happy to just sit around watching people walk by all day. There were costumes from The Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Star Wars, and a bunch of different anime costumes that I didn’t recognize (but most of them were happy to stop by my booth and explain their costumes – I learned a lot that weekend!). But the best costumes were the zombies! I spotted several of the undead shuffling around the convention, but my favorite was Spot the Zombie. You should check out the awesome photo gallery on his website: http://spotzombie.com/ (his pictures show him posing with several cast members from The Walking Dead). He’s a friendly zombie who can be controlled with cotton candy. Here is a picture of me posing with Spot.
The most dedicated fans seemed to be those who were obsessed with The Walking Dead. People go nuts for the zombie show, and I think I met the The Walking Dead’s biggest fan at the convention. She had a large handbag with a picture of Merle on one side and Daryl on the other, and when I spotted her Dixon bag, I said to her, “You must like The Walking Dead.” Then she turned around and showed me a tattoo of Daryl Dixon’s face on her back with his signature right under the picture. Apparently she got Norman Reedus to autograph her back right under the tattoo at Horror Hound, and then she got a tattoo artist to go over the signature to make it permanent. And then she pulled down her shirt even further and revealed a tattoo of Merle Dixon’s face with his autograph freshly tattooed on her back. They have tattoo booths at fan conventions for this purpose (who knew?). Now that’s a dedicated fan!! If I got a tattoo of any of the characters from The Walking Dead it would probably be Lil’ Ass Kicker because she’s the smallest, so it would be the least painful choice. Or maybe I’d get a Michonne tattoo because she’s super badass. Hmm…I shouldn’t though, because my husband would probably serve me with divorce papers if I got a The Walking Dead tattoo. I’ll just have to live vicariously through the other super-crazy-awesome The Walking Dead fans.
Even if I hadn’t sold a single book or passed out any Zombie Guide flyers, I would have had a blast at Fandomfest. I met some amazing zombie fans, and I made friends with some awesome authors. I picked up two great zombie books before the convention doors even opened. Speaking of which, you should check out Christian Jensen’s Zombies…The Beginning of the End and Michael Carr’s Dead Factions: The Zombie War Narratives.
Here is a fun video of Fandomfest shot by Michael “Masodo” DeBurger. Not only does it include footage of Michael Rooker, but there’s a shot of the Zombie Guide Magazine flyer around the ten-minute mark. Check it out: