XCON attendees look forward to ‘Walking Dead,’ ‘Star Trek’ cast members at May convention

mprabhu@thesunnews.comFebruary 14, 2013 

— Comic and science-fiction enthusiasts are gearing up for this May’s XCON in Myrtle Beach, featuring some scheduled appearances from “The Walking Dead” and “Star Trek: Into Darkness.”

Michael Rooker and IronE Singleton – who play Merle Dixon and Theodore “T-Dog” Douglas, respectively, on AMC’s “The Walking Dead” – have signed contracts to appear at the comic convention and show, said event organizer Robin Roberts, president of Palmetto Studio Arts Alliance.

“I hear that a third major cast member might be coming,” Roberts said. “And lots of supporting characters are coming as well.”

“The Walking Dead” is in its third season.

Singleton’s character died in the third season and Roberts said he is a fan favorite. The character played by Rooker is the villain of the show.

“[Rooker] is a really good actor. He’s been in a lot of really cool movies,” Roberts said.

Roberts said people travel from other nearby states for the comic convention in general as well as to see some of the bigger name cast members.

Aaron VanPatten-Steiger said he plans to make the trip from New York to Myrtle Beach to attend this year’s XCON. He moved to New York from Myrtle Beach in August and attended the last three conventions. He also has traveled to conventions in Indianapolis and Baltimore, but said XCON is his favorite.

“Of all the conventions I’ve been to, XCON is the only one where you feel like you’re a part of everything,” he said. “At other conventions it feels like going into Wal-Mart, they just want you to shop and get out.”

And the actors who attend the convention in Myrtle Beach are an added bonus for him. He said it’s exciting to have actors like those from “The Walking Dead” in attendance.

“And you get to talk to these people. They don’t just sit there for an hour signing autographs and then leave,” he said.

David Waslicki of Murrells Inlet said he’d never attended a comic-themed convention before XCON came to the Grand Strand. He said he knew about the conventions in San Diego and New York but getting there was difficult.

“If there’s one that’s right here, that makes it easier,” he said.

But Waslicki said more than any actor he’s just excited to see all there is to be offered.

“My draw to the conventions is to be around other people who are into the same things,” he said. “When I make comments about a TV show or a movie, they know what I’m talking about.”

City spokesman Mark Kruea said the convention is still in its early years and has room to grow.

“The appeal isn’t to everyone but it’s something different that you can experience right here in Myrtle Beach,” Kruea said.

In addition to the actors from “The Walking Dead” Deep Roy, who played Keenser in the 2009 “Star Trek” movie, also is scheduled to appear.

“Contracts always give [actors] the ability to get out of it if they have to shoot a movie or something,” Roberts said. “But I’m confident they’ll be here.”

Last year Giorgio A. Tsoukalous from “Ancient Aliens,” which appears on the History channel, drew a large crowd during the convention.

“He was very popular,” Roberts said. “People drove from several states away to see him. ... We were the first comic book convention to invite him.”

This is the sixth year the three-day event has been held in the Myrtle Beach area and its second year in the convention center. Previously it was held at Springmaid Pier. The convention will be held May 17 to May 19.

For more information on XCON, visit the event’s website at www.xconworld.info.

Contact MAYA T. PRABHU at 444-1722 or follow her at Twitter.com/TSN_MPrabhu.

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