Episode 188: Back Story

Zombie Clichรฉ Lookout: Back Story

Everyone has a past, it’s just that some people have a more interesting back story than others. A popular trope in serialized stories is to give one character a mysterious, dark secret in his past, and then slowly reveal it over the course of countless episodes. Built up properly, this will leave fans in a constant state of anticipation for the next clue, and coming up with all manner of theories on their own.

Perhaps the best at this was the ABC show Lost, which garnered dozens of different fan communities and a myriad of theories to explain the many, many mysteries the show maintained during its run – not to mention each character’s intricate back story. Sure, the show kind of got long in the tooth after a while, and the flashbacks got to be a little much, but it’s still incredible how invested the fan community was in the show’s mysteries. It’s not a zombie example, no, but you’d be hard pressed to find something better in recent memory.

About This Episode:

While you could kind of see it last time around, the chains around the zombified police officer on the gurney are quiet visible here. I didn’t want to use chains originally, however using LEGOยฎ string or rubber bands just didn’t look right on camera, so chains it was.

Also, I really like that gratuitous pull-away shot in the last panel. I’m not really sure why. I would usually zoom way in on Murphy’s gun, but decided to try something a little different this time around, and I’m quite happy with the results.

Discussion Question: Most Loved/Hated Back Story

When it comes to back stories, you tend to cover a lot of the same ground. Is there any that you particularly enjoy? Particularly hate?

I know I always hate the ones where someone is thought guilty of something through sheer happenstance, and then they flee when they would have been better off just explaining things rationally.

Other News:

First of all, thanks to everyone who took the time to fill out the survey. I’m going to leave it out there for a bit longer, in case anyone else wants to jump in. You guys have given me some fantastic feedback so far, and I’m surprised by a couple things – in a good way.



what’s that building he’s outside of? Is it one of the Modular Houses set?
T_T I’m still upset I can’t get the Grocers or cafe corner…


Ever tried BrickLink? The prices may be a bit high but you can always look up the parts list, buy those parts which you don’t already own, and just get the downloadable instructions pdf from the LEGO website.

Of course, if you’re loaded with money you might want to make some seller’s day! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lich Barrister

I’ve so very much got to abuse colour printer privileges one of these days and fire off the modular instructions… and the UCS Falcon, too.


I often think the same thing at my work, only I want to try my hand at sticker printing.


The prices for Cafe Corner on BrickLink and eBay are just obscene. I really with LEGO would re-release the sets. There’s a huge demand for them.


IKR? One I saw was ยฃ300!! That’s more than twice the original price. collector’s item or not, it’s not worth that much, especially to someone who does what people are SUPPOSED to do with lego (build and play with it~)



Its stupidity at its finest for people to pay a collectors type fee for freaking LEGO’s. If you go to Bricklink you can buy the parts individually and make the set yourself for a fraction of the cost. The only part of this set that is expensive the inverted dark red bricks on the top level due to rarity.

But its LEGO…so…make it whatever color you want!


I try to collect all the modular buildings sets, the pet shop is the best so far.


Thanks Silver Fox! There is still a long way to go but I want to believe in it! Today there is an issue of French magazine specialized in Cinema called “Cinema Teaser” that is released – it’s 40k copies per issue, and they are doing a full page on the story of the Winchester in Lego!


I really need to get the pet shop, especially with the Town Hall coming down the pike.


I wonder if this is a junior officer or former partner that got bitten and turned into a zombie? Who knows, maybe Murphy will tell us one day! ๐Ÿ˜€


Look carefully in the previous episode. You’ll see he’s got the same suit as Murphy.


Hello, Captain Obvious! ๐Ÿ˜‰ What I want to know is what his name was before he was turned into a zombie, and perhaps Dave has set the strips up so Murphy will tell us a bit about his backstory! ๐Ÿ˜€


Well you can glean the they worked together from today’s episode: “I shouldn’t have let you go out there” and all that.


Is this the person he was looking for way back? If so a little bummed it wasnt a sibling/love interest that was still alive somewhere


If you’re looking for a love interest story, be patient. I’ve got a good one up my sleeves for another character. Really excited about using it, but I’m waiting for the right moment.


I was thinking the same. I was hoping for a zombie wife wandering around. i know it’s been done but it gets me every time. lol


Hah. Murphy’s a young, single dude. No time for a wife and kids ๐Ÿ™‚


Will Murphy realize in time that a gunshot blast out in the street will be heard by all the zombies still roaming around looking for prey, and that he’ll have to have a plan for dealing with them? ๐Ÿ˜€

I also wonder if he’ll have time to loot the ambulance for possible supplies, there’s a good chance the group will someday need some kind of first aid from incidents not related to zombie bites. ๐Ÿ˜€


I was thinking about the backstory thing and the movie “Devil” popped into my head. That’s the one where the people get stuck in an elevator by a demon force. They try to find a link between the people to explaine what’s happening.

That was a realy good use of backstory. Cheesy but I really liked it.


That always helps. We just watched Super 8 and really dug it, but I heard a lot of people were disappointed.


I was a dissapointed one. I think I waited too long to watch it. I really liked the kids and the story but I walked away feeling like it was missing something.

I also needed help walking away as I saw it on New Years Eve while drinking with friends so I may have missed the best stuff. lol


@Angelina – you should try it again sober and without the distractions ๐Ÿ™‚


I like the ET meets the Goonies despricption. I planned on watching it again as it seems right up my alley.

Tom Walsh

I have always wanted the modular sets, but they just don’t fit into the collections I have going money wise, or appearance wise. We did the Star Wars stuff for my son for a while, and now he’s into Ninjago. Whose new skeleton bodies were great. I’ve purchased a few of the new DC super hero sets, sadly just so I could use some of it for my 16×16 build. What I also want for the modular seires though is the new Mini-modular set they have for VIP members in lego stores, it’s all the current modular building miniturized, it looks fantastic.
As for the topic on back stories, I LOVE the twist back story where you as the viewer/reader become invested in a character only to hit that schocking point and hate yourself for liking them so much. That whole, person A is the bomb….wait….person A set off the bomb that started all this, why did I like you person A! I agree with you on the hate part though Dave, that whole running away thing pisses me off, mostly because it’s become so over-used and contrived. Little do they know if they had only stayed and talked it out….blah blah blah.


I just hate contrivances in a story. If the whole plot of a story can be absolved by the characters acting rationally for two seconds, or even simply having a conversation, then it’s a shitty story.

My wife and I complain about this all the time.


That’s the whole point of contrivances in a story, they suck you in with your expectations, and by the time you realize what happened, it’s too late! ๐Ÿ˜€


The mini modulars are indeed very tempting… I only bought 1 modular (Emporium) and I must say it was a great building experience. Modulars are also great parts pack if you can find some in sale (difficult but possible!).


Yeah, I’ve seen photos online and think they look pretty awesome. Too expensive for what use I’d get out of them though.

I’d like to buy another Emporium, just for the parts, but I don’t have that kind of capital.


“Also, I really like that gratuitous pull-away shot in the last panel.”

I forgot to mention how much I liked this too. I like the pull away ’cause I think it speaks to what the character is feeling. In order to shoot someone you love, I’d think you’d have to pull yourself away from that person emotionally. The pull back does that.


Thanks Angelina! That’s a really cool way of looking at it. I wish I could say that’s how I intended it ๐Ÿ™‚


I agree with Angelina here, nicely done Dave.
For me that last frame says “enough talk, gotta kill you now, so long buddy”

Silver Fox

There aren’t any back stories that come to mind that I like/love/hate. I’m coming up empty handed this morning. I’m too used to the convoluted stories like in comics where they’re always retconing and changing everything.


Hah, you’ve adjusted your expectations according to what’s available. I love it!


I’ve always been annoyed by the “long lost relative” trope of backstory writing. Unless it’s super-relevant to the story, it’s just a lazy way to develop a (usually) new character and it often fails. Instead of developing a character, it almost always either ends up focusing entirely on the relative or just puts the main character in gratuitously awkward or embarrassing situations that have no impact on future stories. A lot of times, it just feels like the writer(s) said “I can’t come up with anything for this character. I know! I’ll give them a sister (or brother, uncle, aunt, etc.) that will tell funny stories of their childhood and that’ll work!” I especially hate it when no mention was ever made of said relative throughout the entire rest of the series.


The long lost relative is an awesome example of shitty backstory!

In most cases, anyway. I loved that part of There Will Be Blood.

Adelaide C. F.

I agree with Dave on the backstories thingy, I find it dowright ridiculous when someone who is pressumably guilty makes things worse by his/her stupid behaviour instead of just explaining things.

I like the “badass” kind of backstories. The ones that add this “oh dear, what has he done?!” feeling.
And on the other hand, I don’t like too romantic backstories.


The thing about badasses is that, the more you learn about their backstory, the less badass they become.


I remember when every one was asleep in the apartment Murphy said something about finding someone, could this be him?

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