Recently, I had the privilege of attending Heroes and Villains/Walker Stalker Fan Fest in Nashville. Billed as “Not just Fandom…It’s Family.” This year Heroes and Villains was combined with the Walking Dead Fan Fest into one mega con indeed different from other cons I’ve been to. It truly was different. On one side of the room you had comic heroes and villains, and on the other zombies and zombie fighters. It boasted only one panel running at a time, and a small guest list designed to give fans more time to interact with their favorite actors, but did it subvert expectations as set by the tagline? Here are my thoughts on the weekend:
The entire con was contained in one room, there were never two panels running at the same time and there were only a handful of panels per day.
Opening the weekend was an Arrow panel with Steven Amell flying solo with his wife moderating. It was a lackluster panel, where he just sat unenthusiastically and uncomfortably at times answering fans questions. The only good tidbit that we got out of this one was that when a fan asked what superpower he would like, he answered he would like to fly. And then followed up by saying “wouldn’t it be cool if Oliver had a power”, and then he stopped and said: “CW might get mad if I say anymore.” So we might get a superpowered Oliver next season.
Next panel was the Legends of Tomorrow: Brandon Routh, Courtney Ford, Franz Drameh
Nothing exciting came out of this panel either, just fans asking questions for 30 minutes.
Next up John Barrowman:
This is the panel to see. Anytime this man is at a con you have to get inline to see him. He is a show and a half, totally worth the price of admission. He tells humorous stories from his life in the business, answers fans questions, sings at the end, and does it all while wearing heels and a Tardis dress. Must catch him if you can.
We then took a break from the panels and went and looked at the vendors. Every vendor I encountered was very nice. From booths selling arts and crafts to t-shirts, to art, to Funko Pops, every vendor was personable and never made me feel pressured into buying anything, which was greatly appreciated.
You could mostly see and hear the panel that was running at any given time as the whole con was contained in one room. Granted, it was difficult at the far corners of the room, but if you were in the autograph area or lining up for the next panel, you didn’t feel like you were missing out on what was happening on the main stage.
The “live” stage was an intimate standing room only where a moderator would interview a guest. That was nice for the guests that didn’t have panels. But this year it was mostly used for cosplay, so that was a bummer.
Lines. Lines. Lines. You’re always standing in a line. We stood in line 30min to get in, and I know some people stood in line for over an hour or longer to get in. You stood in line to get autographs and photo-ops, and we even waited in line for 35min for a taco. It seemed a bit chaotic the way the food booths were set up, and lines were running every which way. I hope they can fix that by next year.
Despite some hiccups, Heroes and Villains/Walker Stalker was still a fun weekend. It is still a young con and as such, there are still some kinks that need to be worked out. However, I’m looking forward to seeing it grow and will definitely attend again if it’s ever back in Nashville for year three.