Reality has intruded upon Comic-Con, the fantasy-centric pop-culture fest returning this weekend to San Diego.
The unofficial but highly anticipated Zombie Walk has been canceled.
For nine Comic-Cons, hundreds of zombie fans in frighteningly realistic costumes and bloody-looking makeup marched through the Gaslamp Quarter in stumbling, menacing style.
But this year, the walk was placed “on indefinite hiatus due to legal matters stemming from the vehicular incident following last year’s walk,” according to the Facebook page of Zombie Walk.
Matthew Pocci Jr., 48, is set for trial Oct. 13 on a charge of felony reckless driving causing bodily injury.
Pocci was driving with his girlfriend, her sister, and the sister’s 9-year-old son during last year’s Zombie Walk near the Convention Center when the incident occurred.
Pocci, who is deaf, said he accelerated at an intersection when zombie marchers began pounding on his car and his passengers became frightened. A 64-year-old woman who was taking pictures of the marchers was hit and injured by his car.
Pocci has filed a claim against the city, asserting the San Diego Police Department did not adequately supervise the march to prevent accidents. The injured woman has filed a similar claim.
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman was mingling with costumed marchers during the event -- as shown in a picture tweeted out by the department.
“The walk may return next year,” a Facebook post said, “but speculation is not invited at this time.”
Whether marchers pounded on Pocci’s car is one of the disputed points that will be key to his trial.
Although the march was canceled, an unofficial “horror cosplay meet-up/photo op” is set for 5 p.m. Saturday at Children’s Park near the Convention Center for “those who just HAVE to zombify,” according to the Facebook post.