The weeks leading up to the 2003 Pittsburgh Comicon were a tumultuous time in my life.  Senior year of college was coming to a close and many things in my life were up in the air.  But one thing was certain, I was headed to the 2003 Pittsburgh Comicon come hell, high water or even the zombie plague.  

Day 1: April 25th, 2003
    Headed out (alone) to Pittsburgh from Shippensburg at around 7am.  Grabbed some Red Bull and some Sheetz MTOs and started out.  Got there around 10am and headed to get my tickets.  Got my tickets and hung out with my friend Mike at the one booth that sold the 25th anniversary prints for charity.  After hanging out with him it was time to see some old friends.  I of course had to say hello to Nick Tallo, Nick is a hoot and a holler when we talk, he was happy to see me and vice versa.  Sitting right next to him was Ken Foree, every time I see this man he always likes to give me hell about being at the same shows he is.  After giving me a big hug and chit chatting I moved to see David Emge and David Early.  Then Jim Krut and Lenny Lies had a booth together and I stayed there for a while, it was nice to talk to those guys, Lenny, Jim and myself always have a good time talking.  Most of that day was hanging out with those guys and finally meeting my friend Markus from Germany.  I was so anxious to meet him because he kept talking about this weekend for as long as I had known him and finally we met.  I also met up with my friend Lee from GA.  He was there and actually had a gift for me.  It was a Dawn of the Dead logo/Monroeville Mall logo polo shirt.  I liked it so much I put it on right away.  
    There was the usual Q and A session around 4:30, I stood in the back and taped it.  It was mostly stuff I heard two years earlier but with the addition of Clayton Hill, Greg Nicotero, Sharon Ceccati, William "Butchie" George, G. Joe Butler, and Tommy Lafite they added some new stories to the mix, and I was glad to meet them.  After the show closed down, I went up to the penthouse and had some drinks with the cast members and Kyra from Night of the Living Dead showed up and I got to talk to her, it was nice that she remembered me from other shows and online :).  
Around 9:30 it was time for the mall tour.  I was in the first group that Ken led.  It was funny because he sometimes couldn't remember where scenes were filmed and us fans helped him out.  My friend Lee and myself kept thinking of ways to get pictures of places we weren't allowed to go, and we never did get caught.  The tour took us around the usual places and then we went into the broiler room.  Which is located on the first floor and is really tiny.  We saw the little office where they turned on the muzak.  The stairs that go up to their "hideout" are actually on the first floor right behind the broiler room.  Nice trick photography George!  
     That should have been the end of my night after the tour, wrong.  Heading through the lobby to my car to grab some stuff I meet up with Greg and Ken who ask me if I was coming with them to grab a drink and something to eat.  Like I was going to say no, so I said hell yeah.  We piled into the car with Mike from the Comicon and two other guys whose names I forget and if they are reading this, please email me.  We headed right down the road to TGIFriday's and from the start, our waitress never had a chance with Ken and Greg.  They picked on her about every little thing and she fought back with them which was even funnier.  Ken, Greg and myself decided to all get Long Island Ice Teas, big mistake, damn there is a lot of liquor in those things.  Then I had a few beers while Ken and Greg did a few shots.  As if that wasn't enough, we closed down the bar in the hotel as well.  Hanging out a little after that was enough for me and called it a night.  

Day 2: April 26th, 2003:
    This day didn't start out too well.  That hangover was probably the worst ever, LIIT's mixed with Budweiser doesn't do a body well.  That is why some of the pictures of the show with me in I look like I was a zombie.  Not too much happened that day, I hung out with the guys at their booth, especially Nick Tallo and Ken.  They had me watch over their booths if they went somewhere to do something, I felt honored that they let me do that.  Later that day I went to eat with Lee and his girlfriend and I believe that is when I got food poisoning.  I felt so horrible the rest of the weekend and I mean terrible, it was a long night.  We were shown a 16mm print of DOTD provided by Greg Nicotero, which only made halfway through because of my illness.  Later I walked around the hotel, saw some people and hung out and called it a night. 

Day 3: April 27th, 2003: The Last Day
    Still not feeling well by the time the airport tour started but I was a trooper.  Ken and I sat next to each other on the bus over and had some really deep conversations about the stuff that was going in my life.  We got to the airport and this was David Emge's time to shine.  He lead the tour around the airport which basically looks the same as it did.  The small shack is still there, as well are the pumps and buildings were Flyboy checks out the junk airplanes.  Jim then told us of his scene the how and where it was done.  Very informative and something very nice to have seen.  We then walked around for about another 20 minutes taking pictures and asking questions.  After that it was back to the showroom floor to hang out until the early afternoon.  About 4pm, I said my goodbyes to the cast and all of my new and old friends at the show.  I hated to leave but school was calling, I had a ton of work due the week after the show and I had to start cracking on it.  After the show, graduation from SHIP and real life started.  That is why it's the end of July and I'm writing this now.  
    Also I believe the reason I have neglected this was because I felt burnt out with Dawn of the Dead.  I had been immersed in it for so long I needed a break to let it have some meaning again.  I'm starting to become more active again because of the remake sparking some interested and buzz again so it's like a fresh breath has been breathed into Dawn of the Dead and myself. 

Comicon '03 Pics page 1
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Pictures from the Mall Tour with Ken Foree

Pictures from the Monroeville Airport