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JUL
17
2 YEARS

'Walking Dead,' 'Arrow' Stars on Their First Comic-Con

Newcomers Danai Gurira and Stephen Amell tell THR about their inaugural trip to San Diego.

Danai Gurira Stephen Amell Comic-Con Split - H 2012
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
Danai Gurira and Stephen Amell at Comic-Con

Stephen Amell and Danai Gurira have a lot in common: both are starring in genre shows based on beloved comic-book characters and both just wrapped their first-ever Comic-Con.

"It was really good! I watched three-quarters of the pilot in the audience," Amell told The Hollywood Reporter after Friday night, following a day that saw the actor's Arrow meet thousands of fans in Ballroom 20. "We snuck out and I saw the width of the room but not the depth, so when I went out on stage, it was really awesome."

Amell will play hooded hero Oliver Queen/Arrow, the skilled archer/super hero, in the CW's take on the long-running DC Comics title -- a beloved character amid the comic set.

STORY: Comic-Con 2012: 'Arrow' Star Stephen Amell Says, 'If All Goes Well, We'll Be Working for the Next Decade'

In addition to screening and a Q&A for an estimated 6,000 people, Amell's Friday consisted of fan signings and multiple appearances at media events, where he met scores of reporters on red carpets and in press rooms. The day wrapped with parties including Warner Bros. Television's Con event at the nearby Hard Rock, where he rubbed elbows with stars and producers from Fringe, Revolution, The Vampire Diaries and more.

"I've seen some of the Twitter reaction and it seems good!" Amell says of the session.  "We did an autograph signing today and even people who had seen the preview screening were legitimately excited for the show. The enthusiasm and seeing everyone into the shows, it's super rewarding and it's fueling going forward."

The actor, who said he spotted one fan in a Justin Hartley-style Green Arrow costume from Smallville, looks forward to returning to San Diego -- as the hooded hero. "One-hundred percent," he says. "I can't wait to come back next year."

EXCLUSIVE PHOTOS: Comic-Con 2012: Behind the Scenes of CW's 'Arrow'

Gurira, meanwhile, is going from HBO's critically praised but modestly rated Treme and joining the third-season of AMC's The Walking Dead. Her character, Michonne, is one of the most beloved with fans of the Image Comics series on which the zombie drama is based.

"It was thrilling, exhilarating, celebratory and I'm sad I'm already done with it," the actress gushed at the Walking Dead's 100th Issue party at late Friday. The event, which featured zombies and fake sheriffs in a nod to the Robert Kirkman series, was held at a Petco Park transformed into an interactive obstacle course for fans to commemorate the issue.

"It's amazing, Michonne is her own entity and I'm just lucky enough to step into her bad-ass shoes," the young actress tells THR. "It's amazing to see that she has such a loyal following."

STORY: Comic-Con 2012 Video: 'Walking Dead' Season 3 Trailer, Premiere Date and More

Part of that following saw Walking Dead fans withstand long lines to take photos with a life-size model of the character and her trademarked chained zombies, where they each received collectible cards featuring the actress.

"It's very unusual, usually you create a character as with most comic stuff, she's already a full entity that everybody is already attached to, it's pretty amazing, it's like she's whispering in your ear, don't mess up!"

"People kept saying, 'You're not going to be prepared for it,'" she says of Comic-Con, where she participated with cast members in a panel inside the massive Hall H, among throngs of other industry and fan events. "I was baptized by fire."

Arrow and The Walking Dead will air Oct. 10 and 14, respectively.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit