Episode 190: Anyone Else Make It?

Zombie Cliché Lookout: Did Anyone Else Make It?

When characters reunite, they swiftly transition through a  number of different feeling. The first is shock to see someone they assumed was dead. The second is relief at finding a still-living connection to their previous life. The third is apprehension. When you see a former friend, family member, or coworker has survived, you invariably start thinking about all the others they might have known. Did they make it? Is everyone safe and sound, holed up somewhere secure?

Being the zombie apocalypse and all, the likelihood of your friends and family making it through unscathed is unimaginably low. Regardless, the question has to be asked, “Did anyone else make it?” But the answer is generally along the lines of “No, just us.”

Discussion Question: Mentality of a Survivor

So in the last comic I asked you what the most important physical characteristic was to surviving a zombie apocalypse. This time around I want to think about what sort of mental state a person needs to have to make it through the world of the walking dead.

I went through a phase of watching a lot of shows like Survivorman and Man Versus Wild. Primarily for entertainment, mind you. But one thing that I always found fascinating was that they kept talking about mental state and how important that was to survival. If you aren’t strong mentally, you’re not going to make it.

So what sort of mental capabilities do you need to have for this particular, undead, crisis? And furthermore, let’s say the plague of zombies is completely eradicated and life goes back to normal. Are the people who managed to survive the carnage going to be able to re-acclimate into society, or is society forever changed? Inquiring minds want to know.

Other News:

The 16×16 Challenge is over. Long live the 16×16 Challenge.

We got a ton of fantastic entries; so it might take the judges a bit to make a final decision. Once we do I’ll make an announcement on the blog. Thanks to everyone who entered. You did amazing work!

63 Comments

Digihuman

Well I can tell you one thing you must NOT have in a zombie apocalypse; Asperger’s. We…don’t do well in situations we’re not confortable with. I’d probably have a breakdown. At the same time, assuming zombies were eradicated, I’d say there wouldn’t be a society to rejoin. I’m pretty sure it would need to start from scratch.
I’d assume a new society would become twisted, with anyone from outside being immediately regarded as an enemy…

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Dave

I have a cousin with Aspergers (although many of us suspect that it’s a little more severe in the Autism spectrum). I just can’t see him doing well in that sort of situation.

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Bob

One thing I know for certain: Society would be changed. You can’t just flip it off for months if not years, and then expect it to come together just fine afterward.

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Dave

Don’t be so negative. I’m sure Denny’s would open right back up once that zombie problem was taken care of.

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BrickVoid

Hmm so now Murphy’s group has to join in with even more people. Who are already rationing food no doubt, I can hardly wait to see what happens when the two mix together and fights start breaking out! 😀 In a way, poor Sam’s been spared much of this, unless the hazmat group has already found the civilians this pair speak of! 😀

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BrickVoid

Always remember: If the tension doesn’t start out like you could cut it with a knife, it’s not tense enough in there! 😀 Eventually they’ll get down to sharing of information and will be able to calm down but there certainly should be a lot of initial tension between everyone! 😀

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L3m0nm4n

I personally think if you are a lone survivor that isn’t with people it would payoff to be a cold-blooded killing machine, but if you are with people you should try to be a little more level-headed.

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Dave

Solid points there. Being a cold blooding killing machine would make it really tough to get along with others, and for others to trust you.

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Yatkuu

Mentality of a Survivor… well, you clearly need to be a hell of a badass to make it. I think that what will really make the difference is the capacity to forget everything you know and adapt yourself to the new rules. In a apocalyptic scenario there is no space for the old society codes.. right/wrong, empathy and soft feelings… it’s tabula rasa and eat or be eaten. In post apoc tales it’s usually the resurgence of the old society reflexes that make everything go wrong.
In the eventuality that the human race survives an apocalypse I think that in the beginning the new society would be basically made of socipaths but again that is only a matter of perspective because they would no longer be regarded as such..

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Dave

Very, very well said Yatkuu. The ability to roll with things and not get too hung up on your old way of life is incredibly important. And something most of us probably don’t have.

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Angelina

I was thinking along the same lines. If society tried to build itself up, the survivors would be the hardest and most dangerous people since they would be the only ones capable of survival. Society as a whole would be a much harsher place, perhaps even falling back into a dark ages.

I know there would be pockets of awesome people like me who are more brain than brawn but I would have to hope that the brawn I do surround myself with is hard but not mean.

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Dave

I think the brainy people would have just as good a chance as the brawny people, assuming at least a basic level of physical fitness, of course.

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Mason

Shes that reporter from the news story in the begining at the safe zone and btw Im crossing my fingers that shes one of the civilians mentioned in this episode Y.Y

Dave

Mason’s got it. And as far as Mason’s hopes go, I’m sure you’ll find out soon enough.

I have to say, I figured people had totally forgotten about that character.

BrickVoid

I actually had her pegged as a zombie because there was several zombies that looked exactly like her except for the face roaming around! I would find it amazing that she’d survive despite being so very close to the centre of all that zombie action! 😀

Dave

@BrickVoid – I think I have used the same torso, or at least one very similar to Inez’s at some point. Possibly at the hospital.

@Mason – Interesting choice for a favorite.

TomWalshZ

I feel you may need a bottom line mentallity, one that is filled to the brim with suspicion of that which is occurring around you. You can only have so much level of trust that the person next to you hasn’t been bitten while you were off securing food. Bottom line for me means focusing on what is needed to survive, no trying to foster life long friendships, just realizing that person A next to you has to get this done, and you have to get that done, and that is it. You can’t dwell on how it used to be, that’ll only depress some. If society where ever to come back, I think it would be full of isolationists, paranoids, and the fun at parties sociopath or two.

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Dave

Yeah, the reformed society would certainly be interesting. I doubt there’d be many party planners or social butterflies left around.

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Replica

This would probably be one of the many difficult parts of surviving, especially if you had already accepted everyone you knew was dead or undead, seeing as how you might automatically give yourself false hope anyway and would have to grow to accept it again.
As someone brought up, social disorders would cause a lot of unpleasant scenarios for survivors. While I myself do have some suspected disorders, this is generally most obvious to me in someone I know and have to regularly keep out of trouble, who really doesn’t seem like they would survive without a good guardian.
Mentality’s a difficult thing, and works weirdly with groups. Some different mentalities could break groups (whether it being having contradicting ones in the same group or anti-group ones) and some might work well. People with a more defensive, papa wolf/mama bear type personality would help in groups and compensate for weaker people, and various perspectives could help chose what to do (or just cause arguments). I’ve finally got round to reading some of The Walking Dead recently, and there was an interesting discussion about it with, I think, Rick, Abraham and Carl (although the former two didn’t think the later was listening until he butted in) about what people would do to survive and keep their loved ones safe in a zombocalypse, which considering the events immediately before, was certainly something to consider (#57 if you want to read it, but rather dark in tone and two of the parts that almost certainly won’t make it to the tv)
A reformed society would probably not happen, or at least not for a long time. If the survivors outlived the zombies/walkers/roamers/lurkers/geeks/zeds/living impaired/infected/[I am not copying out all the examples on tv tropes, no matter how much I want to] everything would sort of devolve into a whole different group survival culture.

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Dave

I always liked that aspect of the comic series. Rick and Tyrese have a someone similar conversation shortly after they meet.

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Angelina

I was just thinking about “A Canticle for Leibowitz.” It’s a post-apocalyptic book about post nuclear fallout. The world is bombed into the stone age and has to work back up. The book in written in 3 sections showing society in 3 different stages of developement – stone age, renaissance and then modern times.

Society just keeps repeating the same mistakes. I bet that’s what would happen.

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Angelina

It wasn’t fast passed but did make me think twice about Ancient Aliens. What if the so called proof is not Aliens but a previous society before ours like in Leibowitz?

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Dave

Slow pace is okay with me. I read a lot of fairly boring shit. History and computer books especially.

Lich Barrister

Makes me think of “Anathem” by Neal Stephenson – except it’s had cycles of collapse and rebuilds around the monastic-type universities which are sealed off from the outside world, with sections sequestered for a year, for a decade, for a century, and for a millennium… unless a threat to the world arrives and the outside powers draft some experts into service. Brilliant, challenging book (it has many, many neologisms in it that can take some adjustment).

I have to not start re-reading it now that my buddy’s returned my copy to me…

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Lich Barrister

Very different than the one by Rand… And yeah, she doesn’t seem to be my type. One of these days I should read one of hers if only so that I have; the trouble is that the one most seem to indicate is the pillar of her work is monstrously long (i.e., “Atlas Shrugged”).

And don’t worry – many, many people have made the mistake with the second “A.” Hell, there even is a song that they sing when “anathem” happens…

Silver Fox

Hmmm…. definitely being adaptable. As Yatkuu pointed out… the old society rules and norms are gone. It would be okay to loot a store for food or other supplies. To “break & enter” to check out a potential safe haven or other needed necessities.

Extremes of mental illness such as Depression (particularly prone to suicidal tenancies), the unfortunate Asperger’s and Autism and others are likely not going to make it.

Sure the Lone Wolf Survivor is a romantic ideal. But humans are societal creatures by nature. Any resulting society that reforms after an apocalypse is likely to regress to a more tribal level where it’s a smaller group and everyone is working together to survive. Those who are sociopaths and aren’t helping the group are going to get cast out, left behind.

An apocalypse is naturally going to weed out the “unfit.” Brawn is good, but it’s only going to go so far if there’s no brains to match a need for knowing things, re-figuring things out and getting the wheel going again. Which means, certain religious types and groups aren’t going to make it either if they’re too rigid and can’t adapt.

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Angelina

Thanks Silver Fox… makes me feel way better about being the brains and not the brawn. =)

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Tough Guy

Well more people Murphy knows. And Dave an answer to your last question, no I could bench 110.

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guy

Oh I was talking with my brother and he said it was actually around 170. Sorry for the mistake.

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Calicade

I have always been an optimistic pessimist… I’m an atheist, but I believe that there is something more after I die. Expect the worst, hope for the best, and consider the most rational… Yes it might seem all very contradictory, but it all makes sense to me and that’s all that matters right?

Most people will have trouble adapting as most have come to except a what ‘normality’ is. I’ve always been different and that hasn’t been a bad thing for me as people have always like my company; I make them think more than they want to though. I think I could adapt in any situation to be honest. My life would only change to the point of there’s different things to do instead. Kill zombies? Survive with skills? Only difference? It’s less stressful.

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Dave

I don’t think it’s terribly unusual to be so contradictory in your beliefs. I know a few people like that. My wife being one of them.

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Christian Matzke

I’m not awake enough to join this conversation, so I’ll just ask: where did you get the mini sledgehammer? That’s great!

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Dave

Hah, my pleasure. I liked all the stuff I bought with the exception of the gas masks. They look cool, but you can’t combine them with hair/hats/helmets.

Dexscotland

Dave, is that the site that you got Murphy’s ammo pouch belt?
I’ve been meaning to ask where you got that from for a while.

Murphy is no longer the stern loner………he’s got some friends to play with now 🙂

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the dude person

Hmm… I’m not sure how I feel about BotD having a character named Karen… (if you recall, Karen is the secretary in Zombie Outbrick)

They seem like interesting new characters to add to the group, though. Group members with medical knowledge should be incredibly useful, although since there’s two of them, I feel one is bound to get killed off sometime soon…

Where is the rest of the group, anyway? If they moved on without Murphy, how will Murphy know where to go to catch up?

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Portaler98

Insanity is needed, fo sho. Ice King in Adventure Time was able to survive a nuclear war with uber zombies because his paranoia made him MUCH more aware of his surrondings. The same can be said for Doug Rattman from Portal, who was useless until his shichophrenia meds wore off and was able to avoid GLaDOS’s neurotoxin rampage.

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WJS

It’s kind of depressing reading some of these comments, it sounds like a lot of people seem to think that only total bastards are capable of surviving.
My view is a bit more optimistic than that, I think that most people will tend to band together in difficult times (history has shown that to often be the case), and would weather a zombie outbreak together, for the most part.
I totally agree about survivors needing to be strong, of course, but vehemently disagree that one needs to be cold or ruthless to be strong. The concepts are just not related, many such people are insecure inside, while many strong people are great guys too.

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