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The Doctor of the Dead at Walker Stalker Philly 2016

meavatarjessIt was back to the Walker Stalker convention for the first weekend in October, this time held outside Philadelphia, PA! We arrived on the 1st of the month – the 48th anniversary of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD – and had a wonderful time meeting new friends and reuniting with a few old ones. And best of all, it was time for me to meet up with the folks from Z NATION!

Brace yourself, because this is a huge photo-essay with over 40 pictures (including a few animated GIFs)…or is that 50?…and every one of them has a caption that tells part of the story! And that was pared down from over 700! On we go…

Let's DO this! We're about to head into Walker Stalker Philadelphia 2016... Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Let’s DO this! We’re about to head into Walker Stalker Philadelphia 2016…
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
First thing we did was locate the Z NATION team as they greeted fans, signed autographs, and posed for pictures.  Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
First thing we did was locate the Z NATION team as they greeted fans, signed autographs, and posed for pictures.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Doesn't Nat's photo make him look so sad? Aww. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Doesn’t Nat’s photo make him look so sad? Aww.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Russell signed his banner; what a collectible! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Russell signed his banner; what a collectible!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The Z Nation team have such a great rapport with everyone. Anastasia Baranova hugs a fan, while "The" Murphy meets...another Murphy! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The Z Nation team have such a great rapport with everyone. Anastasia Baranova hugs a fan, while “The” Murphy meets…another Murphy!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
There were all manner of vendors and organizations in attendance, including the Zombie Mud Run truck. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
There were all manner of vendors and organizations in attendance, including the Zombie Mud Run truck.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
In this collage you'll see a zombie keeper and his puppety charge, Fake Negan and Fake Daryl shooting the breeze instead of each other, zombies consulting a guide for where to shamble next, and a gleeful attendee sticking it to the undead. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
In this collage you’ll see a zombie keeper and his puppety charge, Fake Negan and Fake Daryl shooting the breeze instead of each other, zombies consulting a guide for where to shamble next, and a gleeful attendee sticking it to the undead.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Some of the dealers included the Evans City-based Living Dead Museum, Big Papa's Collectibles (where I bought some LEGO minifigs; more on that later), and - of course - "Stuff and Thangs." Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Some of the dealers included the Evans City-based Living Dead Museum, Big Papa’s Collectibles (where I bought some LEGO minifigs; more on that later), and – of course – “Stuff and Thangs.”
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Need weapons for the apocalypse? They've got you covered at Walker Stalker. Perhaps...TOO covered. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Need weapons for the apocalypse? They’ve got you covered at Walker Stalker. Perhaps…TOO covered.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Want to get a Lucasfilm-licensed tattoo on site? Yup, that appears to be a thing. Who knew? Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Want to get a Lucasfilm-licensed tattoo on site? Yup, that appears to be a thing. Who knew?
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
This laughing zombie was soliciting attendees to come into the fencing for a photo op, but he creeped the hell out of me.  Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
This laughing zombie was soliciting attendees to come into the fencing for a photo op, but he creeped the hell out of me.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Artist Rob Prior was back to work his phenomenal illustrative magic. This time around, we saw him beginning an extraordinary triptych of Catwomen! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Artist Rob Prior was back to work his phenomenal illustrative magic. This time around, we saw him beginning an extraordinary triptych of Catwomen!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The con began on October 1st, the official anniversary of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and Johnny himself - Russ Streiner - was in attendance, with pink hair no less! It was back to normal the next day, so I suppose this was a "birthday" color?  Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The con began on October 1st, the official anniversary of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, and Johnny himself – Russ Streiner – was in attendance, with pink hair no less! It was back to normal the next day, so I suppose this was a “birthday” color?
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
There he is folks, the man everyone is trying to see! Natalie was able to get a much closer shot of the man himself, Norman "Daryl" Reedus, in comparison to our long-distance glimpses at Walker Stalker NJ. And look, no sunglasses! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
There he is folks, the man everyone is trying to see! Natalie was able to get a much closer shot of the man himself, Norman “Daryl” Reedus, in comparison to our long-distance glimpses at Walker Stalker NJ. And look, no sunglasses!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
No...I don't think so. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
No…I don’t think so.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Zombies love me for my brains. I know, that's an old one, but I'm entitled. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Zombies love me for my brains. I know, that’s an old one, but I’m entitled.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Hey look, it's Kevin Kriess of the Living Dead Museum sporting a snazzy Rick Grimes hat and spinning the "Wheel of Lucille!" Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Hey look, it’s Kevin Kriess of the Living Dead Museum sporting a snazzy Rick Grimes hat and spinning the “Wheel of Lucille!”
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
On Saturday, I was joined by the "Nightly Nerd," Bailey Hyneman, to chat with THE WALKING DEAD's Tyreese, Chad L. Coleman! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
On Saturday, I was joined by the “Nightly Nerd,” Bailey Hyneman, to chat with THE WALKING DEAD’s Tyreese, Chad L. Coleman!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky

At the end of our panel, I presented Chad with a custom LEGO minifig of Tyreese (courtesy of Big Papa's)! Photo by @FeatherMishap
At the end of our panel, I presented Chad with a custom LEGO minifig of Tyreese (courtesy of Big Papa’s)!
Photo by @FeatherMishap

(See @FeatherMishap‘s entire album of the panel here)

On Sunday, it was time for the main event (for me anyway): A panel with the Z NATION cast! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
On Sunday, it was time for the main event (for me anyway): A panel with the Z NATION cast!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
There were smiles all around as we talked about everything from the big Season 2-set movie, "No Mercy," to recent episodes in the newly premiered Season 3. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
There were smiles all around as we talked about everything from the big Season 2-set movie, “No Mercy,” to recent episodes in the newly premiered Season 3.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Russell "Doc" Hodgkinson promises a special strain of Z Weed for your local dispensaries. I don't doubt him. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Russell “Doc” Hodgkinson promises a special strain of Z Weed for your local dispensaries. I don’t doubt him.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
It was a fast-moving and eventful hour; why, we didn't know where to look first! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
It was a fast-moving and eventful hour; why, we didn’t know where to look first!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Keith "Murphy" Allan delights in his newfound dedication to leadership in the post-apocalypse! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Keith “Murphy” Allan delights in his newfound dedication to leadership in the post-apocalypse!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
There's something so mesmerizing about The Murphy... Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
There’s something so mesmerizing about The Murphy…
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Nat "10K" Zang looks like he's about to lose control as Anastasia "Addy" Baranova tells it like it is! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Nat “10K” Zang looks like he’s about to lose control as Anastasia “Addy” Baranova tells it like it is!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
We eagerly await the next question from a huge and really engaged audience of devoted Z NATION fans. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
We eagerly await the next question from a huge and really engaged audience of devoted Z NATION fans.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The question came up: "Where was Vasquez during the events of 'No Mercy?'" Nat tells me to "just let it go, man!" All right!  Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The question came up: “Where was Vasquez during the events of ‘No Mercy?'” Nat tells me to “just let it go, man!” All right!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
A fan teaches the Z NATIONers how to dab! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
A fan teaches the Z NATIONers how to dab!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Me and the Z NATION team after the panel, #StrongerTogether! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Me and the Z NATION team after the panel, #StrongerTogether!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The end of Sunday brought my panel with Jason Cabassi on the "Evolution of the Zombie." Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The end of Sunday brought my panel with Jason Cabassi on the “Evolution of the Zombie.”
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
During the panel, we fielded questions on the origins of the zombie genre and what we prefer - shamblers or runners? So you know, the usual. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
During the panel, we fielded questions on the origins of the zombie genre and what we prefer – shamblers or runners? So you know, the usual.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
It's always great fun chatting with Jason and fans about how this whole crazy zombie thing got started. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
It’s always great fun chatting with Jason and fans about how this whole crazy zombie thing got started.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
A powerhouse Walker Stalker team! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
A powerhouse Walker Stalker team!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
And here's a look at the woman behind the camera, Natalie Litofsky, with her "apoca-pants!" Photo by Jason Cabassi
And here’s a look at the woman behind the camera, Natalie Litofsky, with her “apoca-pants!”
Photo by Jason Cabassi
On the way out, I was struck by how much this reminded me of the doorway at the Haddonfield hospital at the end of HALLOWEEN II.  Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
On the way out, I was struck by how much this reminded me of the doorway at the Haddonfield hospital at the end of HALLOWEEN II.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
So I mentioned LEGO minifigs. I bought a group of custom zombies and zombie fighters, including takes on WALKING DEAD characters like Carol, Andrea...and Daryl! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
So I mentioned LEGO minifigs. I bought a group of custom zombies and zombie fighters, including takes on WALKING DEAD characters like Carol, Andrea…and Daryl!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
...And yes, Daryl has his wings printed on the back too! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
…And yes, Daryl has his wings printed on the back too!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The zombie minifigs are formidable - they've beheaded other LEGO minifigs and carry the trophies! Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
The zombie minifigs are formidable – they’ve beheaded other LEGO minifigs and carry the trophies!
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Lurking behind them is the Headless Horseman from a SCOOBY DOO set, just because. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
Lurking behind them is the Headless Horseman from a SCOOBY DOO set, just because.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
With ribs exposed, this LEGO minifig is a macabre image in plastic. Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky
With ribs exposed, this LEGO minifig is a macabre image in plastic.
Photo by Natalie B. Litofsky

Oh, one last thing. My father, Marvin Blumberg, is as big a Z NATION fan as DOCTOR OF THE DEAD co-host and producer Scott Woodard and I are, and since his birthday was just days earlier on September 29th, I asked the cast if they wouldn’t mind recording a brief greeting…

And that’s all from Walker Stalker Philly 2016! Until next time!

Top 10 Announcements at E3 2016

avatar-brandonE3 2016 is now in the history books! From new consoles and intellectual property announcements to a huge push for virtual reality, this year has arguably been one of the strongest in recent memory.

To those unfamiliar with E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo is an annual conference held to celebrate and sell upcoming visual entertainment. First and third party companies such as Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, Ubisoft, and Bethesda use the conference to advertise their upcoming products to consumers and retailers. Normally the conference is only open to industry insiders, but don’t worry; below I have your inside scoop to the Top 10 Announcements from E3 2016!

10) Xbox Announces Two New Consoles

Only Microsoft can unveil a brand new console at the start of their press conference and then announce that it’s outdated by the end of said conference.

The opening moments of the Microsoft press event began with a trailer revealing an entirely new console. August will see the release of the Xbox One S – a 4K-enabled, 40% slimmer system. Starting at $299, the Xbox One S was going to be a great jumping-in point for anybody who has yet to purchase an Xbox One.

Then, as the conference came to a close, a second trailer was shown. Microsoft revealed that the 2017 holiday season would see the release of the Xbox Scorpio, with over 4x the power of the current Xbox One and Xbox One S consoles, leaving audiences with little reason to buy the newly revealed Xbox One S system!

Xbox One S Announcement:

Xbox Scorpio Announcement:

9) After 10 Years, Prey Makes a Return

PREY 2 was originally announced in March 2011; the proposed sequel to the 2006 cult classic PREY was then never heard from again. Fans waited with bated breath for any word on the sequel, but were met with only silence from developer Bethesda.

Over five years passed until E3 2016, when Bethesda treated their fans to a mysterious and jaw-dropping trailer introduced with little fanfare, confusing audiences for its entire run…that is, until in its final moments, a logo appeared: PREY.

The sequel has been reworked from the ground up as a reboot to the 10-year-old original title. However, only time will tell if fans of the cult classic will embrace this series restart.

Watch the Prey Trailer Here:

8) Bound Proves Games are Art

The late Roger Ebert published an infamous article in April 2010 titled “Video Games Can Never Be Art.” The renowned film critic wrote “Let me just say that no video gamer now living will survive long enough to experience the medium as an art form.”

Although I have long believed Ebert was proven wrong in 2012 with the release of JOURNEY (the first Grammy-nominated video game soundtrack in history), I would also posit the upcoming release of BOUND, an experimental game which utilizes a modern art visual style and balletic character movements to tell a deep and mature story. View the trailer below, and ask yourself if Ebert may have been mistaken!

Bound Trailer:

7) Star Trek and Star Wars Race to Virtual Reality

Earlier this year, both the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and the Valve/HTC-owned Vive released virtual reality headsets. On October 13th, Sony PlayStation will release its own VR headset; at this point, it’s safe to say virtual reality is here to stay.

This was further proven over the past week with the announcement of two upcoming VR experiences, the Ubisoft-produced STAR TREK: BRIDGE CREW and the EA-led STAR WARS BATTLEFRONT: X-WING VR MISSION. These titles will arrive this fall, and with their release the dreams of millions of geeks everywhere will finally be achieved!

View the Star Trek: Bridge Crew Trailer Here:

View the Star Wars Battlefront: X-Wing VR Mission Trailer Here:

6) Enjoy a Nice Grog with Sea of Thieves

Have you ever wanted to share some grog with a few friends and then drunkenly board and pillage a peaceful passing ship? Look no further than SEA OF THIEVES!

Shown during the Microsoft press event, this was easily the highlight of the show. The online game places you and a group of friends at the helm of your very own pirate ship. Each player has a job, from captain to crew, and it’s up to you to sail and pillage your way across the high seas. If you encounter another ship of live players, then let out your best “Arrr!” and prepare to attack; when the cannon fire subsides, only one ship will remain afloat!

Watch the Reveal Gameplay Here:

5) We Happy Few Just Wants You to be Happy

The E3 2016 trailer alone earns WE HAPPY FEW a place at #5 on this list. The Orwellian nightmare presented in Compulsion Games’ upcoming release is simultaneously intriguing and terrifying.

The premise? A fresh take on the oft-used dystopian world, where pills of “Joy” are used to blind the populace from the horrors around them. The trailer, linked below, is a must see.

We Happy Few Trailer:

4) Zelda Gets a Title

ZELDA WII U was announced back at E3 2014. Since then, we have seen only bits and pieces of the new release in the genre-defining series. That ended this year, as we not only got a title but hours of in-game footage!

ZELDA: BREATH OF THE WILD takes the next logical steps for the franchise. The player once again controls protagonist Link as he enters a large formidable world filled with dungeons, dangers, and pots that need breaking.

In a change for the series, the world has become as much of a character as the people and monsters that inhabit it. Survival is a key aspect of BREATH OF THE WILD, and players will need to hunt, cook, and eat to stay alive.

Watch the Trailer Here:

3) Son of the God of War

What journey could possibly surpass a six-game series which culminates in the brutal deaths of the entire Greek pantheon of Mount Olympus? This is the question Sony had to entertain, as one of their leading franchises began to grow stale; the answer, we found out this past week, was fatherhood.

Taking the franchise away from its ultra-violent solo killing roots, the new GOD OF WAR places you from start to finish with your AI-controlled son. Its intention is to show a vulnerability to the god-killing Kratos as well as a present the anti-hero with a challenge he cannot simply tackle with his weapons.

Watch the Reveal Gameplay Here:

2) Resident Evil 7 Reinvents the Series

RESIDENT EVIL 6 was not a good game; in fact, it was almost universally despised by both fans and critics. This year, to mark the 20th anniversary of the original RESIDENT EVIL, something needed to change…and change it did!

During Sony’s E3 press conference, a trailer began for an unknown virtual reality game. Told from a first person VR perspective, the trailer was as deeply horrifying as it was fascinating. Just as the trailer brought the audience to the edge of their seats, it dropped a metaphorical hydrogen bomb: the game was RESIDENT EVIL 7!

No single part of the video looked remotely like the previous six games in the series. Capcom has taken critical feedback to heart, and has entirely reinvented the franchise from the ground up. This culminated in a grand reveal, and a demo was quickly online for the world to try. Having played the demo, I can personally say that I am both thrilled and terrified to dive into this VR experience in January!

Watch the Trailer Here:

1) Death Stranding and the Return of Kojima

For fans of Hideo Kojima, E3 2016’s greatest moment was when one of gaming’s foremost creators spoke the words, “I’m back.”

This past year saw Kojima separated from parent company Konami after 30 years of creative development on their flagship series METAL GEAR. It was a long and bitter breakup which saw the creator forcibly removed from the franchise he had birthed on the original Nintendo. This story came to a positive conclusion though, when Sony PlayStation offered to produce Hideo Kojima’s next solo project, now unveiled as DEATH STRANDING.

Built using in-game assets and a stark naked Norman Reedus of THE WALKING DEAD fame, DEATH STRANDING tells the visually striking tale of Kojima’s next project. Many fans also believe the video acts as a parallel for Kojima’s own life and the loss of his creation, METAL GEAR.

Watch the Trailer Here:

Do you agree or disagree with the list? If so, we would love to hear from you! What other moments from this year’s E3 Electronic Entertainment Expo caught your attention? Feel free to reach out on Facebook and Twitter, or comment right here to let us know your thoughts!

14: Zombiemania!

In our final Halloween-themed installment for 2013, The G2V Podcast welcomes a special guest – an internationally recognized zombie expert that co-authored ZOMBIEMANIA: 80 MOVIES TO DIE FOR (with a revised edition titled ZOMBIEMANIA RISES: 100 MOVIES TO DIE FOR on the way, cataloguing about 1,000 films!), teaches a course at the University of Baltimore called “Zombies in Popular Media,” contributed to volumes like TRIUMPH OF THE WALKING DEAD, BRAAAIIINNNSSS!: FROM ACADEMICS TO ZOMBIES, and THE UNDEAD AND THEOLOGY, and lectures on “Zombies: Monsters with Meaning” at symposia, conventions, and festivals. Who is it? None other than G2V co-host Arnold T. Blumberg!

Scott and Arnold look back at the history of zombies in pop culture, where they started, where they shambled (and occasionally ran) in the years that followed until they infected every medium and genre, and what this whole undying zombie craze might actually mean.

Monsters_of_Legend_coverWe also have a special contest this episode! Midnight Syndicate has graciously provided us with a copy of their phenomenal new album that pays tribute to the Universal and Hammer legacy, Monsters of Legend! We’re giving a copy away to the listener who can answer the following trivia question (also presented in the episode). E-mail, post on our Facebook page or in the comments below, send your answer through the post-apocalyptic wilderness, and if you get it right, the CD will be yours!

This movie was the first to introduce the idea that zombies specifically want to eat brains:
A) Night of the Living Dead
B) Dawn of the Dead
C) Nightmare City
D) The Return of the Living Dead
E) Re-Animator

Good luck!

NOTE: This episode was uploaded by an unknown party that discovered the file on a server after being unable to contact either Scott or Arnold. Listeners should be warned that some of what they may hear might be considered…alarming…

As always, we welcome all feedback at contact@g2vpodcast.com or on our Facebook page!

You can also subscribe to us via iTunes!

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SHOW LINKS:
Illustrations from William Seabrook’s THE MAGIC ISLAND

WHITE ZOMBIE (complete film at Archive.org)

WHITE ZOMBIE (novelization by Stephen D. Sullivan)

PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE (complete film at Archive.org)

THE LAST MAN ON EARTH (complete film at Archive.org)

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD (complete film at Archive.org)

ZOMBIE (original trailer presented from Blue Underground)

The “Video Nasties” (Wikipedia)

“The Trioxin Theme” from THE RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD

AMC’s official THE WALKING DEAD page

Run For Your Lives: The Original Zombie Infested 5K Obstacle Course Race

Zombie Video Games (Wikipedia)

Zombies!!! (Twilight Creations Inc.)

Last Night on Earth (Flying Frog Productions)

All Flesh Must Be Eaten RPG (Eden Studios Inc.)

LEGO Zombie Minifigure Bio! (“Briiiiiiiiiicks…”)

The Walking Dead “Sassy” Rick Grimes Halloween Costume!