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Signs of the Zombie Apocalypse in San Diego (Comic-Con)

By Lora Grady

Although some are freaking out over the Mayan Calendar's "expiration date" later this year, 2012 is clearly the year of the zombie.  And if anyone needed more proof, you couldn't walk 5 feet at this year's San Diego Comic-Con without running into the gruesome, ambling undead, albeit at a sluggish shuffle.  Leading the slow-paced zombie charge was The Walking Dead, AMC's hugely popular series based on the Image Comics title, which staked out prime territory with a huge booth presence on the Comic-Con floor.

Fans flocked to the TWD booth for periodic giveaways, and they also swarmed the booth for Anchor Bay, which is releasing the collectible The Walking Dead Season Two Blu-ray set, packed in a gruesome zombie head.  Anchor Bay's TWD promotional tote bags were a hot commodity, and being at the booth during a pre-scheduled giveaway was like being in the middle of a zombie horde as fans moved in for the bags, with many in the lead voicing the signature moan of the ravenous undead.

The Image Comics series that spawned the AMC television adaptation celebrated a huge milestone at Comic-Con: the release of the 100th issue of "The Walking Dead."  Pre-orders catapulted the release to a record-setting 383,612 issue sellout, making TWD's 100th issue the best-selling comic of the 21st century.  A second printing of issue #100 was announced on July 18.

The Walking Dead at Comic- Con.
The Walking Dead's Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus attend the TWD 100th Issue Black-Carpet Event Powered by Hyundai and Future US. Photo credit: Wireimage Alexandra Wyman

The achievement was celebrated at Comic-Con on Friday at "The Walking Dead" 100th Issue Black-Carpet Event Powered by Hyundai and Future US.  The celebration was attended by series stars Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan, Sarah Wayne Callies, and Norman Reedus, as well as a host of other actors and creative types.  Writer Robert Kirkman was honored at the event, where guests mingled with zombies in a special recreation of the post-apocalyptic world featured in the series.  Held at Petco Park, the event also featured a special giveaway: a 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT wrapped in the 100th issue cover, designed by longtime series artist Charlie Adlard.

Zombies also had the run of the city on Friday as the San Diego Zombie Walk took over the late afternoon streets in the Gaslamp District.  The Zombie Walk has been a popular feature of the last several iterations of Comic-Con, and this year's event followed suit.  The creepily realistic horde of zombies passing through the district made for fun viewing, though there were moments when their undead moaning reached raucous levels, and the sound was surprisingly unsettling.

The Walking Dead (and the hotties) at Comic- Con.
The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan and Sarah Wayne Callies attend the TWD 100th Issue Black-Carpet Event Powered by Hyundai and Future US. Photo credit: Wireimage Alexandra Wyman

Several lucky walkers wrapped up the event by attending the invitation-only Con of the Dead party at local club Voyeur.  Co-presented by FearNet, Capcom's Resident Evil 6, and Dark Sky Films, the party featured go-go dancers, appropriately ghoulish décor, and themed refreshments.  The post-walk zombies mingling with the well-dressed nightclub crowd added an appropriate thematic touch to an over-the-top evening, which ended with a handout of giveaway bags that included, among other items, a large plastic reproduction butcher's knife - just perfect for defending yourself when the inevitable zombie apocalypse finally happens.

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