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Zombies to Walk WVU Parkersburg for Pop Con

by Jessica Madison

Zombie Jerry Ambler joins Tim Shinn and Rusty Shackles as part of the lineup for the second annual Parkersburg Pop Con at WVU Parkersburg on Sept. 30, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pop Con is a celebration of all popular culture from comics, sci-fi and gaming to costuming, cyberculture, music, film and so much more. It showcases all those who help create the national and local pop culture, such as authors, publishers, designers, and artists.

“We’re offering a lot more than we did last year. I’m looking forward to seeing our attendance grow and many in our community having a blast!” said Peshka Calloway, program specialist for Alumni Relations at WVU Parkersburg, who leads the event with the help of many volunteers.  The first festival brought 600 people to the campus. This year, organizers expect an increase to 800 – 1000 people.

Pop con fans will see special guests to include Jeremy Ambler, an American actor who portrayed two walkers (zombies) on AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Other notable performances by Ambler include appearances in “What Lies Ahead” and “Beside the Dying Fire.” He’s also an actor and director, known for “Killing Lincoln (2013)” and “Child of God (2013).”

Tim Shinn, from Elkview, W.Va., will return to his home state for Pop Con. He is a graduate of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, starting his professional art career in NYC. Shinn works as a freelance illustrator with over 20 years experience creating artwork for the advertising, film and comic book industries with clients to include:  Hasbro, Mattel, Topps, and Disney. Shinn’s illustrations appear in comic books with DC Comics (colorist on Green Arrow Rebirth, Batman Rebirth, Kamandi Challenge and Deadman), Dark Horse (Sakai Project, Neal Adams’ Blood), IDW (G.I. Joe, Batman/TMNT), Valiant (X_O Manowar, Bloodshot), Alterna (IF Anthology) and Dynamite (Grumpy Cat, Mighty Mouse and The Shadow). The native artist also sketches for Upper Deck.

A third guest for the event is Rusty Shackles, an illustrator from nearby Dayton, Ohio, who is best known as the most frequent Hardcore Gaming 101 cover illustrator. Shackles’ reputation also stems from retro gaming arts created for his sites Paletteswap and InsertQuarterBin, and for being a veteran of ComicsAlliance, 1up, GameSpy, Oni Press, Antarctic Press, MonkeyBrain and numerous Nerdcore music acts.

More than 50 vendors will be part of the Parkersburg Pop Con event, traveling from Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky and throughout West Virginia. The vendors will provide handmade crafts and a variety of artwork genres such as comic books, paintings and anime. A highlight of the event will be podcast panels, cosplay panels and a unique event called BRoll, which is inspired by Mystery Science Theater 3000. BRoll will put the movie criticism in the hands of the attendees, with attendees tweeting their thoughts using a unique hashtag. Tabletop games will be provided by Industry WV Games. WVU Parkersburg Vice President of Student Services Anthony Underwood will host trivia and video game competitions. Get your game on and be ready to battle in Super Smash Bros and Injustice League 2.

Admission is $5 for adults. Kids 10 and under will be admitted free with the purchase of an adult ticket. Tickets can be purchased prior to the event or at the door. Visit parkersburgpop.com for more information or check it out on Facebook @ParkersburgPop.

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