Episode 78

About this Episode:
Check out that sweet custom zombie in the foreground.

Zombie Cliché Lookout:
The thing about zombie stories is that they’re seldom about zombies. At least not the good ones. Zombie stories are about human characters surviving in the face of overwhelming odds. They’re about the strength of the human spirit. They’re about the difficulty of keeping the peace when the trappings of civilization go away. They’re about the human potential for both good and evil, and how far between those extremes a character might be willing to go to survive.

Of course, if you don’t throw a few zombies in there from time to time, the audience tends to get a little irritating. That’s the beauty of the establishing shot. It allows the creator of the story to cheat a little bit. It gives the audience just a little taste of zombie mayhem to hold them through all the human drama. The writer gets delude himself into thinking that he’s not really doing lowly genre fiction, and the audience gets to see some ambulatory corpses raising hell. It’s win win.

8 Comments

BrickVoid

Is that a zombie you did yourself or did you get it off a website, Dave? Either way it looks like some zombies suffer from lack of sleep effects, too! 😀

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Dave

That head was part of BrickArms Zombie Survival Pack. They are unfortunately out of stock now, but I picked up an extra for a future contest give-away.

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Lich Barrister

Every good story’s about humans, after all – except maybe “Tom Jones,” which is allegedly about a superior plot. (I ran out of time for it for a course I hated in university, so it just slid on by.)

There’s not a lot of stuff I cite from Orson Scott Card anymore, but the whole “M.I.C.E.” concept for sf and F stories is pretty good – Milieu, Ideas, Character, Events. You’re going to have all four of them, but with different fractions.

Choose wisely, after all. Too much on the milieu and the events? Goodbye insight, hello cardboard cut-outs….

Fortunately, this comic’s got a good mix of the meta for ideas mixed with character and events aplenty (though the characters do serve the ideas, too). The sets are excellently built, but they’re not built to be a major feature, no?

Phew. I don’t comment for a week or so and then drop all kinds of science in your bidness…

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Dave

I’ve always (well, since college anyway) divided stories into two categories: genre fiction and literary fiction. Genre writing is about the story, literary about the characters. Probably a bit narrow an outlook, but it works for me.

Well said about needing a good mix. I’ve read some awful genre fiction that, as you say, had nothing but these bland cutout characters. I’ve also read some heavy-handed literary stuff in which the super-developed characters were given nothing to do.

Re: Your thoughts on Bricks of the Dead, I’m flattered. Thank you, sir.

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