Episode 758: Skin of Your Teeth

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Dwindling Threat

At the beginning of a zombie breakout, every single zombie is a huge threat to a person’s survival. But it doesn’t last very long. Soon, survivors become capable of handling themselves against single zombies, and even small groups. It’s probably not worth taking the risks to face off against them when they’re generally so easy to avoid, but it’s nice to know it’s possible should the need arise.

The thing I find really interesting about this trope is the fact that there are two very good reasons for it. First, survivors are simply getting better about surviving. They’re adapting to the challenges of this new world. The second reason is more compelling: fewer people are being killed, because those who were either incapable of rapidly adapting, or simply unlucky, have largely already been killed off at this point.

About this Episode:

I spent a good bit of time tweaking Clark’s dialog in this episode, and I’m especially happy with the third panel, in which he states “There wasn’t anything to be done.” I used the passive voice here to try to make him sound more weaselly and less willing to take any personal responsibility for the situation. It wasn’t that he couldn’t do anything, but rather that there was simply nothing that could be done in the situation. He’s divorcing himself from any of the blame for whatever happened to Vicky and the kids. This is, in my mind, one of his more well developed survival skills.

Discussion Question: Games

Clark, as several of you have observed, should be more than capable of dealing with a single zed. He didn’t. Instead, he left a mother and two young children in peril. The question is why? Has he legitimately lost his nerve, or is he working at something more complicated than that?

16 Comments

Pepper Valentino

“I don’t think you understand, Barb. This was like…A Super Zombie!”
😛
Cliche:
Yes! And it kinda bugs me (mostly in twd) when a survivor, well into the apocalypse, gets easily surrounded or taken down by just a few zombies.
Ugh! You stupid idiot! How did you survive this long? 😀

About this episode:
I think you got the dialogue perfect!
You’ve done a great job making the lines seem so simple and realistic, but also very elaborate.

Question:
I think Clark just plain Panicked.
Just think. He was woken up, in the middle of the night, by a herd of the dead. He lost his orange glasses. He got hit by a Tv van. Was starstruck by the news crew. Saw Gene die. Got beaten up, and almost killed, by an escaped prisoner. Got surrounded by zeds. And accidentally shot and killed Ted, which I’m sure he feels Horrible for. I think Clark was shaken by all of these problems, and couldn’t handle any more.

Reply
Dave

That’s a pretty good read. The comic moves slow, so it’s easy to lose track of all the things these characters are dealing with, and appreciating how taxing those things are on their willpower.

Reply
Ballinabricky

It might be good to create a page on the site that just has a timeline with major events in the comic (deaths, appearances, significant things, etc). You could even break this down by in-story weeks. It is true that even I often forget just how little time has gone by at this point (it seems similar to TWD where it’s been 5+ years, but I know you have in mind only a few months).

Reply
Wacky

The fact that long story comics like these move so slow is a good reason just to start over and re-read them from the beginning.

It offers two benefits; First, you pick up on things you’ve forgotten about, and Two, the plot you’ve forgotten about is new again for your enjoyment. I’ll probably be rereading “Bricks of the Dead” again soon–my third time through now.

; )

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Pepper Valentino

I LOVE starting over from the beginning. But it sucks having to go through the guest comics. (Even though they’re great, too. 🙂 ) It messes with the momentum I get going. Haha! 😀

BrickVoid

I’m thinking Barb is going to leave Clark by the roadside: “You couldn’t handle one zombie? Maybe you should be one of them!” Clark: “Noooo!!” 😀

I mean, honestly, one zombie, she’d be like “Who the heck is this loser?” How’d he survive this far into the zombie apocalypse anyway?” 😉

That’s what I’d do if I had written this particular bit of the story. Dave, obviously, has other plans! 😀

Reply
Dave

She may just. Barb is the type of person who deals with one problem at a time, right now that problem is figuring out what happened to the rest of their group.

Reply
BrickVoid

So, let’s take theory somewhere here: The very next episode has Teddy, Kelly, and Vicky all show up huffing and puffing to catch their breath, but none of them has the slightest sign of a scratch or infection on them. What would you suppose this means has happened?

Vicky’s kids have suddenly become experienced survivors as if someone waved a magic wand over them and told them how to save mommy?

They by some miracle were helped by an act of God.

Or they managed to attract the attention of some good Samaritan who rescued them but doesn’t want any thanks for helping someone in need and has decided to take a different path?

Or something else completely believable, if they’re to come out unscathed?

Thoughts on how Dave might play out a rescue from nowhere? 😀

Reply
Pepper Valentino

Nice ideas!
That’d be cool! If it was like a Michonne saving Andrea kinda thing. 😀

Reply
Dave

I like it too; definitely some cool ideas here.

From a character perspective, I think it would be most satisfying if they managed to save themselves, but then we lose the opportunity to introduce a new character.

Reply
rattraveller

Love it when people think everything is done after break and a trip to the food table. Seems most people have forgotten that these are regular people thrown into a new chaotic situation and under constant stress and threat to life for days (or is it weeks now). You can not expect people to never make a mistake or take a selfish action when driving a car, during a zed apocalypse everything is just that much worse.

About Barb acting like a dissatisfied supervisor and just leaving Clark behind, really? You screwed up now your fired and I will go off by myself. Like it or not she needs him and needs to get him straightened out. Think of it like this. Officers used to stand behind formations of soldiers to get those soldiers who tried to run away back in the line.

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BrickVoid

Dave, are you responding to comments today? Everyone has really good thoughts but it stifles my creativity whenever you don’t reply to comments on every other episode. I don’t know what is going on to cause the lack of commentary from Dave on Wednesday’s episodes, but I sincerely hope he can fix this somehow!

Reply
Dave

Yeah, sorry, I was unavailable all day yesterday. Playing catch-up this morning.

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