There is nothing subtle about being a zombie. “Unlike a typical costume, a zombie costume requires a commitment for people to walk and behave like a zombie (without the brain eating, of course!),” says Christopher Spellman, founder of Comic Con Palm Springs.
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At last year’s inaugural Comic Con, Spellman tapped into that committed group and they responded in sizeable numbers for a walk down Palm Canyon Drive. “We had such an overwhelmingly positive response to our programing, so we knew right away we wanted to offer more events this year,” he says.
What that means for this year’s sophomore run, Aug. 25-27, is:
• A free Zombie Maze Room game is back and will run throughout the convention. Groups of players will work in a simulated laboratory where they have to avoid obstacles and zombies, while they chase clues to develop and test their zombie cure. Participants can return for another shot at this as often as they want.
• Seoul Station is a South Korean animated film in which people try to survive a zombie pandemic in downtown Seoul. Written and directed by Yeon Sang-ho, this is a prequel to Sang-ho’s live-action film, Train to Busan. The screening will take place at the Renaissance Palm Springs Hotel’s Mojave Room. Check the Comic Con website for exact time and date.
• Zombie-themed food and beverages created by The Renaissance Palm Springs culinary team will be served at the Zombie Café at the hotel. Visitors will have a chance to meet actor Khary Payton, who plays a key role in the popular Zombie-themed show, Walking Dead.
And oh yes, the Zombie Walk is back Aug. 25, but this year’s after party will take place at the Hard Rock Palm Springs. Spellman also brought back G Digger and the Arizona Corpse Crowd to lead the walk, noting they were a key to the success of last year’s.
The walk allows participants to creatively and either individually or as a group express their zombie enthusiasm, says Arizona Corpse Crowd’s Mike Aguirre, alias G Digger. “Anything scary attracts a lot of people for some reason,” he says. “It’s like the Day of the Dead. It’s the unknown of life after death.”
The Zombie maze proved to be a popular attraction last year and will return this year.
The walk’s popularity is also rooted in its participation of families. Married with children, including a son with Tourette syndrome, Aguirre says he enjoys helping people with disabilities to express themselves at the Zombie Walks, where they can safely act out around others. “There are not a lot of events any more where parents and kids go do something together,” Aguirre says.
Participation in the Zombie Walk is free, but zombies must register on the event’s website. The Zombie party at Hard Rock Hotel is free to everyone with a Comic Con Palm Springs badge. Non-badge holders may purchase a ticket at the door for $20, cash only.
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Comic Con Palm Springs’ lineup also includes Marvel Comics founder Stan Lee, who will display his extensive collection of Marvel memorabilia; Rob Lefeild, artist/creator of Deadpool, Cable, and more; J. Scott Campbell, artist of Danger Girl and Spiderman, and Tom Kenny, voice of SpongeBob Squarepants. Lynda Carter, known for her role as Wonder Woman in the 1970s TV series, will attend her first Comic Con event and perform a concert at 8 p.m. Aug. 26.
More than 10,000 people attended last year’s inaugural Comic Con Palm Springs.