Zombie Cliché Lookout: The Big Picture Cutaway
Zombie stories are generally intimate affairs. Yes, very often the zombie outbreak is, or threatens to become, a global pandemic, but the actual story we get is generally focused around a handful of characters. Very frequently, these characters are isolated and reacting to the zombies in their own little microcosm, and are blissfully unaware of how things are going in the rest of the country and the world at large. And usually those characters are counting on this being a localized issue. If the zombie problem is only affecting their area, that means they can reasonably count on outside help to come to the rescue.
But having everyone rescued by benevolent and competent outsiders really doesn’t make for much in the way of drama, so most zombie stories make it very clear that everyone is on their own; help is not coming. There are a few different ways to do this. You can lay the cards on the table early on so that everyone knows the score and reacts accordingly. Or, you can hold that back until your characters are at a moment of weakness, then spring on them that help isn’t coming and see if it completely demoralizes them.
About this Episode:
Notice how much better the color balance is in that first panel? Yeah, that annoys the hell out of me, too.
Because I’m lazy, I used the exact same text and speech bubble from the last episode’s final panel in this episode’s first. That’s called working efficiently, ladies and gentlemen.
Discussion Question: We Need to Wait for the Government
You’ve seen enough zombie flicks to know that the government isn’t going to ride in and save the day during the zombie apocalypse. However, not everyone in your group is quite as savvy about genre conventions, and several people are convinced that FEMA and the National Guard is going to show up any minute with guns and bottled water. Unfortunately for your group, you’re out of food and in a poorly defensible location: you need to move, but not everyone is sold on the idea.
How can you convince the rest of your group that moving is the prudent thing to do?
Yes! my favorite character is back, go Sam! I thought that his quarantine would be over by now, but oh well.
For the discussion question, I would probably just tell them that we absolutely need to leave. That it is impossible that any government can essentially help us. We are on our own so we need to do well on our own, or we can kiss our buts goodbye. And then if they still are members that refuse to go with us, then I would gather together those of us who agree with me and then we get out of there. Those who stayed behind would probably come with us eventually anyways, once they realize their chance of life is 10 percent on their own.
I’m glad to see someone else who’s favorite character is Sam. He is mine as well.
Also interesting: the logical, pragmatic approach to today’s discussion question.
Hey, why is the comic tagged Danny?
that dude in the hazmat suit must be called Danny
Yeah, that’s the only hazmat-suited guy with a name so far. He was very briefly introduced back when Sam got knocked out.
I guess I could split up the group provided most of them agree with me, saying, “fine, we’ll just leave you to the zombies’ lack of mercy.”. If the majority are against moving, I’ll take the few that remain and we’d return periodically to see how ‘well’ they survived considering I swiped their supplies before we left, including ammo.
Meanwhile, yay, back ot the main sub-story!
You would swipe their supplies? That’s harsh.
The only good government is a government that you barely even know is there.
So my response to needing to move? I’m going to be self reliant.. Forget taking hand outs.
Oh.. Umm.. My group? If they want to follow then they follow, but if they don’t then they die. If they’re too stupid to realize this then I don’t need them slowing the group down as is.
What about any supplies you guys have as a group? Seems like that would make division a difficult and contentious thing.
That’s a trick question, because if we are running out of supplies that means that we would barely have any even if we did take it. I’d only take some water, and the tools to survive. I’ll leave them with what food and water is left over. Just so they wouldn’t give me and my followers shit about taking the tools.
Well, you’re out of food, but there are other supplies. Weapons, first aid items, tools, etc.
Hmm.. I’d split the weapons as well as any ammo (new weapons can be made/found later on), first aid won’t be to much of a problem for me or anyone I’m traveling with so I’d let them keep around 65% of it, I like having tools around so I’ll let it be half and half on that as well. Other than that? If I would have my way entirely? Forget those people… My stuff.
Yes I don’t know why I’m being so hateful.
Maybe Sam should ask for some reading material. If all you can do is wait, might as well try to read up on what’s happening, or at least get some good fiction to take your mind off things! 😉
Hah, that’s really not a bad idea. He’s got to be awfully bored in there with just a bucket and a sock.
Maybe he’s going to try to hang himself with the sock? I know, not an easy thing to do… it certainly requires a lot of motivation.
Yeah, you’d really have to be dedicated there.
I was thinking Sam was trying to be a bit more rational than that, especially after just having lost it in front of his mates when they needed his help! 😉
For the comic, anyway, how much longer are you going to keep Sam in there? 😀 I would imagine there’s only so much you can do with three strips a week, and it would have to get really drastic with Sam for you to put him up for three strips or more! 😉
Oh I’ve got big plans for Sam and these folks.
We should sometimes play the game of “Caption this frame”… on the last one I would replace the line of Hazmat dude by “And now we are going to play you Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony on this tape recorder for 5 days in a row.”
Should they hold his eyelids open and make him watch “ultraviolence” as well? lol
Of course they should. 😉
Love this idea!
Oldie but goodie.
Yeah Sam!! Missed him and that belly.
As for my group, I think we would have to discuss all the options early on. I’m fairly pragmatic and I like to have a back up plan. We’d probably would have already discussed hanging out for a week or 2 and then moving on when it is clear that no one is coming.
Moving on to where would be what present the problem.
I’m still wondering how I would get myself into any sort of situation like that in the first place.
This assumes that you didn’t have a lot of say in picking your group. Yeah, you can just walk away and leave the schmucks, but that can be pretty hard for most people to do.
In a situation with a group of people? That happens at work all the time. I have a pest control company that comes out but I can’t seem to get rid of them.
I’ve always had the magical ability to make sure people that I don’t like leave me alone. I just tell them I don’t like them in many different ways, and then explain to them how their existence alone just annoys me.
I wish I could get away with that.
My mother described the aura that I keep around me as a
“No bull shit” aura.
The first rule of Zee Club: We are Nomads. Until such time as true Safety or true Stability is achieved, the bottom line is that we will be on da move on a moment’s notice. I envision ours to be a small group, 12 to 16 people. All will be allocated certain roles based on skillset and/or need.
There would be a pair of Runners (never solo) who will scout, recon ahead ‘fore the group moves out, or needs to resuply. If they can’t find stuff near by, then, it’s time for the group to head out.
I’m of the mindset that many a time we would be up there with a Bataan Death March, or a Diaspora; that is, a displaced community pursued by overwhelming odds. So, it’s not If but When we’ll be overwhelmed, or found without resources. This mindset will keep me and group constantly on the alert, as well constantly brainstorming for contingencies.
I can think of a dozen reasons why food or medical supplies would run short; so this scenario could become the norm. Hence the ongoing brainstorming.
Diaspora is a pretty solid way of putting in (political overtones notwithstanding). I really like that.
“So much for that.” Hah! Great segue! The whole episide is a “Letz get back to business, shall we?” Sam’s little univese just collapsed that much further.
Sam’s anxiety just has to be nuts. I imagine that infestation-quarintine would make a hypochondriac out of just about everyone. Every sneeze, cough, itch, ache would be misunderstood for a zee symptom. And then, with hyper-vigilant Danny in the room, trying to conceal these natural ticks would be hell. Kinda like trying not to cough in church, or sneeze in the middle of your favorite professors’s engrossing lecture.
Yeah, I can’t imagine having to prove that you’re health. That psychosomatic shit would hit you pretty hard.
Hmmm… at the onset, I might hold out hope of the National Guard and FEMA coming and offering help.
Yet, if the days, weeks and months go by and there’s no word, no help. I’m giving up on them showing up and even before then, I’ll be trying to get people/family to move so we can help ourselves. If the Gov does show up, I’m gonna put them under a microscope of can we trust them or have they turned into mad dogs?
Mad Dogs ala 28 Days Later? “I promised them women.” My group would include my wife, adult daughter and daughter in law, so yeah, I’m very partial to Silver Fox’s microscope.
Very solid point Fox. As Luis points out, those guys in 28 Days Later were the scariest part of the damn movie.
There’s also the chance of people pretending to be the government for whatever reason, like in Jericho.
The soldiers were scary? Wait… let me take a breath here. I’m just too used to seeing men in situations like this turn into mad dogs. Basically a lot of fiction and some historical accounts. it’s almost like clock work and you can count on that. Very few are like my brother who treat a lady as she should be. And with Mad Dogs, that’s not scary. Bid your time and put them down quickly like they’ve got rabies.
I know a lot of men who probably would, Fox. And I know a lot of men who would to everything in their power to stop those other men.
The scary part is I know even more who I couldn’t definitively put into one group or another.
This is great. I’ve been saying this for YEARS: “You are on your own. No one is coming for you, not FEMA, not the NG, not the cavalry no one.
I live on the Wasatch front of the Rocky Mountains, in northern Utah. Folks say we’ve overdue for a two-hundred year earthquake, the kind that will flatten buildings. The State says “Get your 72-hour kits ready!”. My reply is “What happens on the seventy-third hour?” You’re still going to be on your own.
Using the zombie mythos as a parable to get prepared is great. In every disaster, prepare for the worst; and get prepared like that two-day blizzard is TEOTWAWKI. That way, you’re ready. Get trained up, geared up, and bring on the zombies.
Dave, I am really curious to see how this survival group turns out, more like Burt Gummer and less like The Governor, I hope.
I know this is only tangentially related to your post, Bo, but is Utah as unbelievably awesome as your state’s tourism board makes it look? I swear, every time I see one of those Visit Utah commercials, I want to get in my car and drive out there right goddamn now.
Do you ski?
If you like to hike, come out to Zion’s or Bryce Canyons.
We can do some shooting, too.
I’ve never downhill skied. Cross country a bit growing up (Michigan is a very, very flat state) and I didn’t really care for it. I’d probably kill myself downhill.
Hiking and shooting sound like a blast though.
So come on down.
Salt Lake is like the Mormon Mecca, or Rome. You can easily spend a day in Salt Lake seeing the Mormon sites. then drive down the southern end of the state and see Moab/Zion’s/Bryce.
The wife and I keep threatening to vacation there. I’d really like to in a few years.
I don’t know a whole lot about Mormonism other than the genealogy stuff. so I’d probably be more interested in the southern part of the state.
It is worth it. Come down in the spring or fall, between the heat and the snow.
Does anyone watch Sons of Guns? Max brooks was on tonight. They made the best zombie survival gun.
I am all ears. What is the “best” zombie survival gun?
According to Brooks’ (flawed) methodology, it’s probably a suppressed 10/22 with a drum mag (because to him a .22LR is enough to take out a zombie, natch).
Well they did a 10/22 with a 25 round mag, suppressed, optics, a spike for a bayonet, and bullpup stock to make it look like a P90. They also made a military M16 with a eo-tech zombie stopper red dot sight,bayonet, suppressor, magpul stock (they tested it on a coconut to see if it could crack skulls) and a 37mm grenade launcher. The show is on discovery channel every Wednesday day at 8:00 but sadly this was the season finally.
I wonder how I called that? 😉
A Charger SBR’d w/ an integral can would be cool, a fun toy, certainly. They tart up nicely, particularly w/ the aftermarket parts available. I’m just not enamored with the 10/22 system as a legitimate survival tool (except in truly fictional settings).
Why is the 10/22 not a good survival system? Stopping power?
Full Disclosure: I’m not a gun guy, so I’m not being sarcastic or setting up an argument or anything here. Legitimate question.
A .22LR is not going to kill anything bigger than a rabbit, before it kills you back. Sure people die from .22 wounds, but not quickly.
According to Brooks, all you gotta do to kill a zombie is penetrate the skull. I’ve never been a fan of Brooks’s work, even as comedy. If you’re killing people, you need a bit more “oomph”.
Oh damnit! I meant to DVR that and I completely forgot. Was it any good? I might have to find the re-run.
Here’s a clip from the show during R ‘n D stage:
1. Full auto seems like a poor idea when you need to make headshots
2. I hate the backing music the use on shows like that
3. I need to watch this; it looks entertaining as hell
“I’m gonna level with you. If you stay here, you’re going to get eaten. A zombie is going to get his friends together, pin you down, rip you open, and chew on your insides. And you’re going to have to watch it, because they like their food alive.
If the army or whoever does eventually come to save us, I’d like to be found in one piece. Now get your ass up and let’s move.”
And then remind them in graphic detail what the zombies would have done to them if they stayed the entire way, and how smart it was that they got moving.
If we hadn’t yet found a good spot for a permanent settlement but some
people wanted to stay put anyway? I’d point out that we were out of food and in a poorly defensible location. Add that it could take days for anyone to find us, and ask if they’d really like to go without food for that long, and also gamble that help arrives before more zombies wander in?
Then, as they think about that, tell them to wise up and get their butts in gear, we’re moving out.
Frankly, in the situation described, you’d have to be a complete moron to think that staying put was a good idea.