By Ken Stone
Nearly 300 signed up, an organizer said, but at 7:30 p.m. only several dozen showed up under the Gaslamp Quarter sign downtown to sing for their selfies.
What else would you expect of the walking dead?
America’s Finest Zombies, dressed as bloodied Santas and scarred elves, revived an annual Comic-Con tradition Saturday.
Once called the Zombie Walk — with hundreds of foot-draggers escorted by San Diego motorcycle police — this year’s “12th annual” event was more of a Zombie Flash Mob. (It also served to promote the coming holiday zombie movie “Anna and the Apocalypse.”)
“This year we had participants pre-register and split the group into multiple ‘hordes’ to assure more opportunities for people to see us, as well as easier management,” said Jennifer Muzquiz of Long Beach, who oversees the Facebook page Zombie Walk: San Diego.
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She said the group was grateful to the San Diego Police Department for its “generous cooperation and support of an ongoing activity for both Comic-Con attendees and locals, which remains free and family-friendly.”
“Yes, zombies ARE family-friendly!”
Muzquiz said she wrote two carols they sang — “Wreck the Halls” and “Walking Through an Undead Wonderland.”
Lyrics from “Wreck” included:
Block the doors with nails and boards
Advancing slowly, undead hordes
We are hungry, you should run now
Quickly sprinting up the street now
We will eat you, try to stop us
Downtown officers quizzed by Times of San Diego were mostly unsure where the zombies would walk or end up. Some even directed reporters to a wrong staging area.
The lack of coordination was fallout from a 2014 traffic accident during Comic-Con that injured a woman photographing the event and forced the cancellation of the 2015 walk.
A lawsuit against the city was thrown out in 2016.
Asked about those incidents, Muzquiz said via Facebook: “Sorry, I don’t discuss that on the record.”
She couldn’t discuss much out loud either.
“My voice is completely gone right now from growling and singing,” she said. “Our hopes are to continue doing what we’ve done for 12 years — sharing the community we’ve built with San Diego and beyond as America’s Finest Zombies.”In October, Muzquiz said, her group would stage its annual collection of socks for homeless people — “date and details pending.”
“And we’re looking forward to our 13th year walking during Comic-Con in 2019,” she said.
AFZ will probably “play with the formatting from this year a bit, now that we know it works,” she said several hours after at least a “couple dozen” zombies decamped to The Dubliner, an Irish pub on Fourth Avenue.
This year, participants pre-registered and were split into multiple “hordes” to assure more opportunities for people to see them, she said, “as well as easier management.”
Muzquiz wasn’t yet able to estimate the turnout. She needed time to review registration check-in sheets, she said.
“He passed shortly before Comic-Con last year,” she said. (Three days, in fact.)
A Comic-Con badge-holder who attends “every year,” Muzquiz called herself “extremely happy” with this year’s zombie festivities.
“I couldn’t have hoped for a better walk, with better zombies,” she said. “They continually impress me all around, every year. … I’m just glad our community is still going strong and still has so much support — especially from the crowd reactions tonight.”
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