Episode 209: I’m Trying to Help

Zombie Cliché Lookout: Pulling Out All the Stops

Being the man in charge during a crisis situation can be a double-edged sword. Handle it well, or at least be perceived as handling it well, and you’ll be remembered as a hero for years. Screw up, and you’ll be remembered as a heel for the rest of your life. For real life examples of this, look no further than Rudy Guiliani during September 11th as the hero, and George W. Bush during Hurricane Katrina as the heel.

Generally speaking, the person in charge needs to do at least two things competently during the crisis to succeed. First, they need to be very, very visible. They need to be on the front lines, talking to people, getting their picture taken, and reassuring the populace. People remember absentee leaders, right Dubya? Second, they need to be seen as doing everything in their power to fix the situation as quickly as possible. A leader who is seen holding back, no matter how minimally, is going to get crucified for it. Probably rightfully so.

While not zombie related, I think Band of Brothers has an absolutely perfect example of this. Later in the series, the men are assigned to a new commanding officer, who is frequently absent and doesn’t appear to care for his men in the least. He holds back on making decisions constantly, and the men are gravely concerned that he’ll fail them during a key moment. He invariably does, only to have a true leader spring up and take his place. It’s a kickass moment in an unbelievably good mini-series. If you haven’t watched it or read the book, I highly recommend it.

About this Episode:

The speech in this episode was originally much longer; some panels had twice the words as what you see now. Unfortunately, space is at a premium in the webcomic world, so I had to truncate. It was either that, or have this speech go on for ten episodes.

Discussion Question: What Makes a Leader?

Leaders, effective leaders anyway, are a rare thing. But what does it take to be a leader? What qualities are absolutely necessary? What things are nice to have? And what things can completely torpedo a person, even if they excel everywhere else.



Calm, cool, and calculated head.
The ability to understand peoples situations, but the counter ability to know what is more important/needs to get done
An allotment of skills that doesn’t make said leader useless
The ability to give a motivational talk/keep moral up by simple or even complex speeches.
Keeping well communicated with the group, and keeping necessary secretes only between 2-3 people. (Having a few people to know it will help leave off the tension when it is later found out.. Support is nice)
Allowing others to take charge when ever the leader has no actual clue in which is going on, but maintaining and interest/healthy view of what is going on.

There’s so much that goes into being a leader, and I can proudly say that I fill that roll up quiet often.


Of course I left off a lot more things, but those are more of the basics than anything.


No, you fool! Deploying foreign troops will only cause the infection to spread globally!

I’d say a good leader is one that can stop their population from complaining en masse without forcing them to be quiet. They should also be able to understand the seriousness of a situation and find win-win situations to problems no matter what the cost.


Calicade has pretty much summed it up, but if we’re talking about the leader of a small group, it’s also important to make sure no arguments ensue which could damage the team’s integrity.
Whenever people are together, disagreements are inevitable. It’s the leader’s job to make sure these disagreements are settled peacefully and quickly, so they don’t escalate and tear the group apart from within.
He also needs to be assertive. A leader without authority is almost sure to conclude in the group splitting up, which is never good. While it’s good if the leader is sympathetic and well-liked, in a dangerous situation it’s necessary people do as he says. He should not be afraid to risk a bad reputation among his followers to do something that needs to be done.
Of course, he shouldn’t get authority by fear, but by respect. A feared leader is as likely to tear the group apart as a weak one.
While intelligence is good to have as a leader, IMO it’s sufficient if he is rational enough to listen to those who present intelligent thoughts. The above is far more important.
Of course, I might have forgotten/overlooked something that’s important for a leader.^^


Along with keeping the peace, I think it’s incredibly import to not be seen as playing favorites. That’ll kill a groups cohesion in a damn hurry.


I fell asleep during this guy’s 3-episode long speech! Could someone please sum things up for me? 😀

Politicians make good cures for insomniacs, and even for anyone with even a mild sleep disorder! 😉


1) The prez is Dead.
2) The guy’s trying to make the public calm
3) He’s bringing back all army members that are out of the country and is going to attack major cities…not that a national guard can do much.


You have a problem with the national guard? They’re a body of fit, trained, and well-equipped men, and would be more than a match for a horde of shambling corpses.


Well, Dave, since you brought up Band of Brothers, the qualities of leadership were stated by Dick Winters himself in his autobiography. Sadly, I’m at work right now so don’t have my copy handy, but here’s the really salient points:

-Never tell your men to do something you’re not prepared to do yourself.
-When something needs to be done, grab some guys, say “Follow me”, then go do it.
(It worked for Winters, it worked for Jesus, it can work for you.)


I’ve not read that one. Is it pretty good. Winters was quite an interesting guy… for a Quaker.


Yes, it’s a good read, especially for someone already familiar with the story of Easy Company. Dick Winters was a remarkable man, may he rest in peace.

…and never, never come back as a zombie.

Silver Fox

For one, you need someone whom everyone is willing to listen to. Charisma does help. The ability to back it up and carry out sensible plans.

Does this prevent the stupidity? Looking at my own home town and what the Mayor and City Council have degenerated to. No.

In a fictional setting, this is someone who’s capable, also charismatic. right now, that guy at the podium looks like he ate something sour and doesn’t want to be there, and is just spouting words.

So someone who’s got a plan, methods that work help too.


Excellent call on the charisma. You can be the smartest guy in the room, but if no one likes you, you’re not going to be much of a leader.


Jean Luc Picard!

Now there’s a model of leadership.

1. A strong sense of Self

2. For better & worst, a clearly defined Ethical System; though experience proved that system wasn’t as rigid as many assumed (adaptable & flexible in the face of new information)

3. Binocular Vision: Can diffentiate between Big Issues & Small Issues

4. Clear headed in a crisis

5. Understands the need of cross-cultural communications & respectful of others traditions

6. Collaborative Manager during planning stages; but recognizes that Buck Stops Here in terms of Action Plan & Responsibility for Consequences

7. Engenders confidence in others during adversity & helps draw out inner resources during impossible stituations

8. Constant Learner; a student of Life & the Universe

9. Does Self Care: Stays in shape, finds time for hobbies, takes time to chillax in the Holo-Deck

10. Willing to make necessary Sacrifices for the greater good

11. Knows that there are 4 lights even when he gets brainwashed into believing that there are 5 lights, ala 1984

12. Everytime he meets the Space Zombies (The Borg) he finds a way to kick their butts! And even helps some of them (starting with Hugh) to recapture some of their lost humanity.

“Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra”


Solid, solid list Luis.

Not being a fan, this one was a bit of a mystery to me: 11. Knows that there are 4 lights even when he gets brainwashed into believing that there are 5 lights, ala 1984



The reference: Picard is captured in a black-ops mission; gets tortured; the villain is the type who wants to go farther in his job description; his goal is like Orwell’s 1984 final chapters: To convice the victim that what he says IS reality, not what the senses perceive.

It’s not enough to get the person to give lip service to the captor; rather, the person must fully believe that no matter what, what the torturer is saying is Real. Here, Picard sticks stubbonly to what he remembered to be true and real. In the awesome last minute of the episode, he tells Couselor Troi that, yep, he had come to believe that there were 5 lights (as the captor told him), as opposed to the real 4 lights present.


That’s badass in a whole different way than we’re used to talking about around here.


The relevance to our group is that “In the absence of meaning, we create our own.” Most of us will just be in plain shock, disbelief and in denial of the zee-poc when it occurs; and many opportunists (even your cult leaders introduced in the last episode convo) will take advantage of this.

We’ll need resourceful leaders who will cling to that which they know to be true and be not malleable to brain washing by predators.

In a weird example, I’m reminded of certain parts of Sub-Africa when AIDS began to spread like wild fire in the ’90s. There was a myth that if you had sex with a virgin that you would be “healed” from AIDS. As silly as that sounds today, many actually went for it. As a consequence, child abuse, child sexual abuse & AIDS transmission continued to grow.

Picard would have said, Rubbish!! in spite of what his torturers would have done to his mind.


On an unrelated note, are you into the Colony, Dave? I just started watching it yesterday, and I am already almost done with the first season!


I watched the first two seasons. It was entertaining but frustrating. It seemed like a lot of contrivances were through at the colonists. It also seemed like they were pushed into building cool shit at the expense of general survivial. Still entertaining though.


The Cabin in the Woods

It’s hard to share about it without giving out spoilers; and the ads have already done too much (as usual). Here’s my caveat: If you are a Joss Wheadon fan, you are going to love it! This is clearly love card to his fans. Looking forward to swapping ideas & speculation later on when more have seen it.


I’ll probably check it out when if comes to video. Wheadon rarely disappoints, but I don’t get many options to see movies in the theater these days. I think the last time was the final Harry Potter movie.

The wife and I are planning to see Hunger Games next weekend, however. I don’t know why, but I really want to check that out.


Before the HG I told my wife, here’s the deal, I didn’t read, nor will I read the book, so . . . I don’t want to hear how much better the book is from the movie. We, um, have this conversation . . . all too frequently. . . .


My wife and I are both going in blind, so no worries on that account.

Also, I’m generally the guilty party for complaining about how Version A or something is better than Version B.


For my part, I have a very simple Coping Skill: I just deny that the source material and the re-make, re-envisioning, or movie are related; or are only related by name. Kinda like Uncle Ernie is that one in-law we’re stuck with at Thanksgiving, but not anytime else during the year.

As to Joss Whedon, well, if you don’t like his other stuff, you won’t like the movie or DVD. The thing is a love letter to his fans. In fact, it has “ain’t I the clever one!” written all over it. You find yourself mumbling, “I get it, I get it!” Which is why I like this kind of stuff.


U get all of your Lego stuff from toywiz and alot of others places don’t you?


Never shopped from Toywiz. I get most of my LEGO stuff from Target or LEGO.com

Lich Barrister

Heckuva job, Brickie!

(Sorry, just had to.)

I dispute this one with fellow teachers all of the time (and we’re all in the middle of leadership crises all of the time in classrooms), but it’s important to acknowledge mistakes, correct, and move on – both in yourself and in others. Making people blindly follow leads to lemmings.


I think the best qualities of a leader should be the desire to do everything yourself (so you don’t put anyone else in danger), tempered by the knowledge that you are too important to lose (if you were gone, who would be there to lead and keep everyone safe?). I think the leader should set up “Keep safe!” as the primary rule, and then trust in your people to do what needs to be done, with that rule in mind.

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