Fan favorite Chad L. Coleman (Tyreese, late of The Walking Dead), who will be in attendance at Walker Stalker Con this weekend, returns the favor.

First, he gives respect where it's due.

"[Sci fi and fantasy fans] are loyal," he said by phone this week. "That's the audience I like, one who engages and thinks."

Second, by showing his gratitude for the chance to entertain.

"This game's not easy," he said. "Some people are fortunate to never have to struggle. But for those of us who came at it from a blue-collar route ... we have a lot of gratitude. Sam Jackson says, 'Take the role'."

And he will show you love, even if you're in full zombie gear.

"It's like a call and response. As effusive as the fans are, that's how sincere I am," he said. "They wanna hug me? I hug them. I love you, I do."

And his fans have a lot to be excited about. 

"I didn't do it on purpose, but I've managed to be involved in iconic things," he said.

He played "Cutty" in The Wire, "one of the most amazing characters ever put onscreen," he said.

"Cutty represented the guy who went wrong to get it right," he said. He's sincere. "That almost becomes my brand. When people call, they say 'I want that'."

Tyreese was definitely "that." Watchers of The Walking Dead haven't been quiet about their love for the character, some coming right up to Coleman and saying, "I cried when you died." So many, in fact, that Coleman started a contest in which fans create T-shirts with the phrase as a hashtag.

"It's one of those iconic deaths," he said, "It's rare to see a death of that magnitude and people reacted it to it in a special way."

But Coleman, the actor, still has plenty of life in him. He is working on an interactive graphic novel and TV project called Treadwater. And he can next be seen as Mingo in the remake of Roots that will air in four installments on History, Lifetime and A&E.

"We knew the magnitude of what it was. I'm doing it because it's necessary. We have not evolved enough," he said. 

He says producers, which include the son of the producer on the 1977 series, "had to make it much more compelling to draw in the youthful audience." He points out that the original was shot on the back lot of Warner Brothers. But this one ...

"If you say you're in Africa, be in Africa."

For now, though, he'll be in Dallas, a city he loves from "the grassy knoll to the barbecue," He also loves the "energy and progressiveness and the arts" here.

Add in more than 30 cast members from The Walking Dead at the con, and Coleman might as well be home.

Walker Stalker Dallas 2016 will be from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday at Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, 650 S. Griffin St., Dallas.

For more news, views and reviews, follow @DawnBurkes on Twitter.

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