If you’re on a booze cruise when the zombie apocalypse begins, you could do worse than count as fellow passengers Daryl and Merle Dixon from “The Walking Dead” -- or at least the actors who play them, Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker. But throw in Snake Eyes and Bane, and suddenly the odds of survival start looking pretty good.
That was the scenario floating around my brain last Friday night while I literally floated around on the three-hour Wizard World NYC Experience celebrity boat cruise with Reedus, Rooker, “G.I. Joe: Retaliation” actor Ray Park and a ship full of fans and a few cosplayers.
Since you’re reading this, the zombocalypse didn’t happen, but as I boarded our vessel outside of Manhattan’s Pier 36 at the Basketball City event venue, Mother Nature did initially give us choppy waters and rainy skies. But by the time the crowds crossed the gangplank and the boat dubbed Hornblower pushed off, the rain largely subsided for the cruise around the Statue of Liberty.
Kimberley Jane Margaret Lloyd from Canberra, Australia, waited in a photo op line with new cruise friends from Japan and New Jersey, and said she specifically traveled to New York City for Wizard World. As a fan of “The Walking Dead,” she waited in line to meet the actors, but said they weren’t her main reason for paying for the $200 cruise ticket.
“Honestly, it’s all about the fun, the excitement -- and the fact that it was a booze cruise,” she said. Although she added she did bring a chocolate pretzel to give to Rooker “per his role in ‘Mallrats’.”
Though the appearance by Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker were definitely a main draw for most, attendees quickly slipped into an overall party mode. Like a band of nerdy pirates, they ate, drank and were very merry on the dance floor.
That extended to Rooker who found himself mobbed outside the photo op area and hung out, taking cellphone pics with fans. At one point, he briefly shed his ballcap to reveal a mohawk, which one could speculate might be for his upcoming stint at Yondu in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Meanwhile Park, who also portrayed Darth Maul in “Star Wars: Episode I,” was casually hanging out at the below-deck bar with comic book artist Mike Miller.
At the same time, Cynthia Rock from New Jersey spoke about meeting Reedus – again. Though she had already met him and gotten his autograph before, she said she was still nervous to do so again. After the experience, she returned to the bar and said the actor called her “cutie” and that Rooker tried to photobomb their picture. For her, that was enough to warrant another drink.
Shannon Lafrance traveled to the con from Boston with her husband Keith just for the night, but said the cruise was enough of a “friggin’ awesome” experience. Wearing a “What Would Daryl Dixon Do?” tee and a necklace full of severed zombie ears, she notes that her highlight was Rooker was touching my waist. Keith joked that if the zombie apocalypse did happen while they were on the boat, she might now jump in the water and swim to safety to the nearby Liberty Island – which is likely where Rooker and Reedus might end up.
And then there was Bane. The backbreaking villain seemed ill-equipped to drink anything but behold, in his hand was the instrument of his liberation libation. After I saw the muscle-bound bat-foe make his rounds, he eventually claimed what was rightfully his: A plastic cup probably full of something stronger than Venom.
The Hornblower returned to the pier shortly after midnight without requiring anyone’s zombie-killing prowess -- though too much definitely led to some zombified appearances the next morning at the con.
Next up, Wizard World Chicago on Aug 8-11: http://vip.me/AAkw4Xy7BdI