Episode 218: Run! Now!

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: The Line Breaks

Holding the line when it comes to zombie defense is a difficult thing, especially when you’re undermanned and under-gunned. Unlike human or animal attackers, there is absolutely no defeating the undead enemy psychologically; there is not scaring them of breaking their spirit. In a conventional battle, the attackers might be dissuaded after seeing a few of their compatriots go down, but the zombies don’t care. They have one directive: the feed on the living. They could watch a thousand other zombies killed in front of them, and it wouldn’t make any difference. Clever defenders might use this to their advantage.

Regardless, holding defenses against zombies is going to be a temporary measure. Unless it’s a small group, there’s simply no way you can stand up to an enemy that doesn’t tire, get injured, or get discouraged. Also: there tend to be a lot of zombies, so reinforcements are all but guaranteed for them. For you? Not so much.

About this Episode:

I don’t know why, but I really like this last panel, mostly because the action continues, but it totally out of focus in the background since the focus shifts to Karen. Some might find that cheap, but I like it.

Discussion Question: Use the Zombies’ Single-Mindedness Against Them

You’re all smart people here. You’re creative and clever. Therefore you should all be able to figure out some way to exploit the zombies’ complete lack of strategy, forethought, and ability to work around obstacles and danger. You know that they’re going to press on mindlessly while they believe that food is available, so what can you do to exploit this?

Because zombies lack coordination, I’ve always thought it would be cool to trick them into getting themselves stuck somewhere. For instance, imagine luring dozens of them into a basement, only to escape out a tiny window using a ladder. After you remove the ladder and thorough block the stairwell, those zeds aren’t going anywhere.

50 thoughts on “Episode 218: Run! Now!”

  1. Well, that means that both Karen and Lyle are done for, Karen bit (episode 202), and Lyle beign devoured to encounter the actual life of beign a mindless beign with no hope other than to eat his fellow friends and colleagues that are of the living.

    • Yeah… kind of a downer when you put it like that.

  2. Ok, zombies are coming in absolute mass amounts, what do I do? I run to the nearest alleyway and corner myself as live bait. As soon as the zed come in the alley to eat me, I climb up the gaps of the building where windows have been broken for me, and I stay close enough that the zombies won’t get too close but close enough that they won’t leave for a different prey. Then my 2 buddies on the roof shave off the horde by serving them a three meal course of blood pain and bullets!

    I’ve also thought it be cool to lure a bunch of zed into a prison and then just barricade and lock the front door (The one and only entrance and exit)

    • Not a bad plan. Getting up on a fire escape gets you safe, but also makes you more visible to draw in more and more zeds.

    • Like the people before Rick in TWD comic.

      • Yeah; Rick and Glenn did the same while escaping through Atlanta.

        • Huh, I didn’t know that

  3. This is a hard question to answer being that it would require me to actually have to plan out the situation and to know the environment in which i would be setting this up.

    I had come to notice a theme about everything
    “Zombies cant pass wood” of course that’s not true in all shows that portray the zombies breaking through it. But I began thinking.. They mindlessly walk into it until it breaks.. Adding weight upon weight upon weight. So i thought of an idea that would be a great way to slow down or hinder the undead.

    Stretch a high test cord along an area about ankle high that would trip up a normal person that wasn’t paying any attention… Ta da.. You have a device that slows them down as they advance towards you.. of course this would only work a few times as they would begin to climb over one another as they went, but still rather useful.

    Then there’s mass ditches that could be steep enough to keep them in, but not the average human that can jump and climb up… It of course would require construction, but that would be a mass pit of the undead.

    I never much understood why the undead would be able to identify a door apart from a normal wall.. so you could do that for a door instead and completely forget about having windows.. Hehe.

    Working off of only Tropes and assumptions is hard.. How about a scenario Dave?

    • Some good thoughts here. I really like the idea of a zombie trip line.

      I didn’t want to do a specific scenario; I thought it would be more fun for everyone to come up with their own.

  4. Well, it was a valiant effort to save them but ultimately I figured they were done for right from the moment we saw them. I do wonder though if Dave had thought about saving one of them?

    • I didn’t intend to off Karen initially, but it turns out I used the same name as a prevalent character in Zombie Outbrick, so I figured it’s better to not confuse the two.

      • So because of some character similarity in another webcomic she gets offed? I hope there are some survivors somewhere else that Murphy and the gang – what’s left of them – will be able to rescue somehow! 😀

        • It’s in a similar niche (LEGO Zombies is a small circle to run in), so I figured it wouldn’t do either of us a whole lot of good to have overlap in character names, especially since his Karen was an important character.

          Plus, he’s a nice guy and I didn’t want to steal his mojo, even accidentally.

  5. What you do is you plant loads of sunflowers and pea shooters outside your base then protect them with walnuts or tallnuts…

    • This is awesome.

  6. No seriously, you need to get a hunk of meat from a cow/horse/dead friend and use it to lure the zombies off a cliff.

    • mmh.. the cliff idea is good but Zombies would not fall for dead meat.

      • Yeah, sort of depends on the zombies. In some stories they only eat people, in others anything with a pulse is fair game.

        • The bait has to be live… Maybe you attach yourself to a harness and get dangled off a cliff by a crane or something… but then the zombies would go for the person in the crane….

  7. My favorite is the third picture… how heroic ! It’s almost like Gandalf saying “run, you fools” while being dragged to the underworld by the Balrog… seriously awesome Dave.

    • Now that you mention it, it’s a lot like Gandalf and the Balrog. Cool unintentional allusion!

      • “Fly, you fools” ***

        Also, now that you mention it, I sorta’ see it.

  8. Like Calicade said we need a scenario. Most ZA situations do not really allow for a lot of preparation, it’s essentially about improvisation… using what you have on hand and exploiting the surroundings to your advantage. Digging ditches and building up traps is nice but how realistic is that? To dig a hole that’s large and deep enough you need a lot of strength – meaning you’ll need manpower that’s fit, healthy and well fed or you’ll need a bulldozer that you can actually operate and fuel…
    We also need to know the type of zombies we are dealing with.. the shambling ones might be easy enough to lure into some kind of trap while you’ll certainly want to stay away from the running and scary as hell ones.

    • I mean I could give out a scenario.. I do have a few good ones.

    • I didn’t want to get into specifics on this one. The idea was that you dream up your own scenario.

      I tend to favor slow zombies, but if someone wanted to do this exercise with fast ones then that’s fine too.

  9. Well, in the starting rounds I like to keep using the pistol and find the Mystery Box before spending money on anything. The Mystery Box provides much better weapons if you have enough money to spam it. However, for actual strategy I like to run around in circles, turning to fire into the horde every so often. This works great because they don’t try to flank you or anything, just mindlessly charge straight at you by the shortest route possible.

    Wait… was that not what the question was about?

    • LOL, I agree , if all the zombies in the immediate area are chasing you, that is a good plan, but what if all the mystery box gives you is the revolver?

      P.S. this is a call of duty reference for those not familiar.

      • Then keep trying, buying weapons off the wall if needed.

        • you might even have to go upstairs *shudder*

  10. I LOVE the black and pink hair in panel 3. Rockin’!

  11. I have C4 (haha) planted all around my house. Last minute resort if things get hopeless…

    • Are you serious? If so then where do you live that allows you to even get C4?

      • Didn’t say it was exactly legal..

        • Yea, who said it was legal? 😛

  12. I just have to say it: its my birthday and Im so happy!

    • Happy birthday guy! And on a Friday to boot, nice!

      • Yeah!

        • guy, I sincerely congratulate you on becoming another year older and coming a year closer to death, haha jk

        • but seriously, happy birthday

    • Woo! Happy Birthday! 😀

    • May the Fourth be With You, my young Padawan.

  13. Interesting question. I honestly have no idea. I’d just end up having some sort of fire mechanism attached to my rug.

  14. I like the idea put forth by Calicade, how do the dead identify a door? Attatching several fake doors to sides of house, wall around house, etc.

    Aside from that though, if it’s primarily the name Karen that gets her killed, go with a different name. Such as, In the mele’ of the fight she gets knocked unconcious, before the zeds get her, another survivor finds her and nurses her back to health. She has amnesia though.

  15. wow

  16. I like the concept of trapping them in a basement, so I hink I’d use that. I’d probably try to rig a system or radio to make noises that attract them somewhere I’m not, and then set light the building they’re in. Hopefully the virus isn’t an airborne one so burning wouldn’t cause much harm.

    • It doesn’t matter if it’s airborne or not; fire will sterilise just about anything.

  17. It’s all about bottlenecks. The Thermopylae thing. Whenever dealing with a big horde that relies on force of numbers, you always funnel them into a kill-zone. I especially like the idea of filling a narrow channel with, say, gasoline, then torching the lot of them. Granted, zombies don’t care about being set on fire, but cook ’em thoroughly enough and they’ll stop moving as the burning fuel destroys their muscles.

    Yeah, I like the idea of fire traps. Preferably away from anything flammable you need to defend.

  18. Rick did it best: lure them into an enclosed area, get to where they can’t reach you but stil try to, and hose them down with gasoline or some other accelerant, then burn them. More come, and more burn. As long as you’re safe, but they can see you, they’ll sit and burn. They won’t care that they’re on fire, and, eventually, they’ll be to burned up to be a threat, anymore.

    I don’t recommend a barn, because it will catch fire, and you’ll have to leave.

  19. wait? are ian? ian healy?

  20. That’s a shame. These guys clearly don’t really know what they’re doing. If you stand your ground in the open, you’re just going to get swarmed. You need to move away from them slowly. Keep them in range, but only just. That way, you won’t get overwhelmed like Cheryl there, or surrounded, like… um… I can’t remember the paramedic’s name. It will also get them closer to the car, so when they break and run, they don’t have to run so far.

    First up, I’d like to address the common assumption that there will be an endless horde; that’s ridiculous. There will at an absolute limit be no more zombies than the human population of an area. Less, really, because not everyone who dies will turn. In the stress, people will have accidents, some will barricade themselves and starve, some would rather kill themselves than become one of them, and some will just get eaten. That could still be millions in a large city, but they’re not all going to show up in one place.
    Still, even a hundred showing up together can easily overwhelm you if you’re stupid. I mentioned above about fighting a withdrawing action rather than a last stand, but that’s ust in the open. If the area is more confined, then you’re better off finding a chokepoint. That’ll stop you getting surrounded (although you should have someone making sure you don’t get flanked), and after you kill the first few, the rest will have to climb over the bodies so they can’t rush you.
    Both these tactics are also used against other humans in warfare, but the singleminded nature of zombies makes them exceptionally susceptible to them.
    A related tactic would be using a decent reach weapon, and finding a place that they can’t reach you but you can reach them. You could get thousands of them that way, so long as you bear in mind that the dead ones don’t just disappear – if there are enough of them, then you’re giving them a pile to climb. There’ll also be one hell of a cleanup job afterwards.