Talent-wise, the Sacramento event goes heavy on “The Walking Dead.” In addition to Reedus, “Dead” veterans Michael Rooker, Laurie Holden and Jon Bernthal also will appear at the con.
The AMC horror-drama series, based on a comic book, embodies the 21st century merging of cult and mainstream that allows a company like Wizard World to put on 16 pop-culture fan conventions in a year.
“Dead” drew 15.8 million viewers to its mid-fourth-season premiere Feb. 9, including more viewers ages 18-49 than watched the Sochi Winter Olympics that night.
“Dead” and genre shows like it have generated new and ardent online fan communities and thus produced more customers for conventions.
When “Evil Dead” star and author Campbell (“If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B Movie Actor”) began appearing at conventions in 1988, only comic books, horror films, “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” inspired a level of fan enthusiasm great enough to start or populate conventions.
“They used to be really small and some of them were embarrassing,” said Campbell, 55, who ranks up there with Lee and Shatner among fanboy beloveds. “Now, they are almost corporate. You feel like, ‘Man, if I don’t perform, my promoter is going to drop me.’ Before, I felt like they were lucky to have me.”