By Tracy Dietlin
You would have to be living under a rock, if at this point, you haven’t heard about our first ever Comic Con Palm Springs that will take place at the Palm Springs Convention Center and Renaissance Hotel August 26-28. Being one of their Title/Media sponsors CV Weekly has featured them on a couple of our covers so far, and again this week, because there is just so much to talk about.
Originally, the event was going to be a two day event that grew into three, and now four, with special kick off events happening on Thursday night. The mastermind behind this highly anticipated event, founder and executive producer Christopher Spellman, wants to ensure that everyone attending walks away having had a fantastic experience.
“This may be the last time you get to see Stan Lee at a Comic Con and in Palm Springs,” shared Spellman, since Lee has recently announced his retirement. There are many other noteworthy celebrities being added almost daily and an inside scoop that Spellman just shared with me today that we won’t announce until next week’s issue. I can, however, share that The Incredible Hulk’s Lou Ferrigno will be making an appearance.
In this week’s issue we want to talk a little bit about the Zombie Walk, which will take place on Friday night at 7:30pm starting at the PS Convention Center and will go down Amado St. to Palm Canyon and end at Lulu California Bistro where there will be a Zombie reception with Zombie treats available. Everyone that wants to participate in the walk must be dressed in Zombie or Apocalyptic survivor attire.
Spellman is taking this Zombie walk to the highest level by having AZ Corpse Crew lead the pack. Creator of AZ Corpse Crew Michael Aguirre is also an FX artist and actor behind G Digger aka the Grave Digger, who has led over 75,000 corpses in the past 5 years as the immortal King of the undead.
Also in attendance will be Vincent Ward and Lincoln Castellanos, both cast members of the popular TV show “The Walking Dead.” They will be the apocalyptic leaders, while AZ will control and lead the Zombies.
There will also be four cars riding along including a 2001 Zombie Cop Car, 1991 Hearse, 1987 Zombie Wagon and a 1954 Ghostbusters Limo.
“The Zombie genre has become so big in the pop culture scene that it’s almost surpassed the vampire genre, partly due to the huge success and popularity of “The Walking Dead” TV show, which actually came from a graphic novel by Robert Kirkman,” shared Spellman. “It was then adapted by AMC into “The Walking Dead” and the genre has really taken off in the last 6 years. We wanted to make this part of Comic Con.”
Arthur Suydam who is a zombie artist will also be in attendance at Comic Con. Suydam has done artwork for magazines including Heavy Metal, Epic Illustrated and National Lampoon, while his comic book work includes Batman, Conan, Tarzan, Predator, Aliens, Death Dealer, and Marvel Zombies.
There is no doubt that this event is going to be spectacular in every way possible with so many components to it. But to put on something of this magnitude really requires a fearless leader like Spellman and a team of committed individuals and sponsors. Spellman can’t say enough about his team.
“I have a great team and it’s been that way since the beginning when CV Weekly came on board and it’s continued to grow within the community. It’s like there’s been no greed or selfishness or ego from anyone, just people and businesses that want to be involved and do anything they can. Palm Springs is a world famous city and we all want this to be a success.”
Spellman continues: “The first person who came on board who’s been helping us so much and hasn’t asked for a penny is Kelly Thorne, who has her own fulltime job at Colony Palms Hotel. She was in Hollywood around a lot of celebrities but before that she came out here from New Jersey and that’s what makes her so grounded is being a Jersey girl. She’s a real hard worker and has always given a thousand percent. She’s actually the one who booked Lincoln Castellanos for the Zombie walk.”
Speaking with Spellman on a regular basis I have been apprised of each new development as far as artists, events, etc., but also on the ever growing team. Most recently, Meachelle Campbell came on board, who along with her husband Craig, own the popular website Coachella valley.
“Meachelle has been fantastic dealing with logistics and operations and is heading up all the volunteers. She’s very organized and has taken so much off my plate. And she’s running the Zombie walk. Just another example of everyone working together!” expressed Spellman with gratitude.
“Other people who have played a big part of this are Rona Hill and Jennifer Blackwell at the Renaissance Hotel and Ron Palmtag and Ashley Yanez at the Convention Center. And Nadine Koehler with PS Resorts and Martin Greenwood with the Riviera Hotel have also been exceptional to work with. These people are continually going the extra mile to help brand this event properly,” shared Spellman. “And of course BB Ingle, who has been on board from the beginning continually promoting this event.”
On board also from the beginning is Lulu California Bistro who has been the hub spot already for pre event meetings and video shoots. And most recently a couple of high profile new sponsors have come on board including Renova Solar and Get Tested.
“I really appreciate what these sponsors are doing for us.There is so much that goes into all of this and it takes both financial sponsors and people doing the footwork. We have already had to change the floor plan so many times at the Convention Center because we keep growing. But there are airline flights and hotel rooms to book for all the talent coming in and so much grunt work behind the scenes that people don’t think about. So this team effort is what is making it happen,” shared the always humble Spellman wanting to make sure everyone feels appreciated for their efforts.