Episode 269: Shut Up, Ted

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Just Ignore Him

In nearly every group of survivors in nearly every zombie story, there’s always one person who is not only useless, but also tends to complain and act overly dramatic and generally make things even worse for everyone else. Advertisers like to call this character “The one you love to hate”, but most would argue that love has absolutely no part in the equation (see most Walking Dead fans’ opinion of Lori, for instance).

Now there are a lot of different ways of dealing with irritating people like this, and options are going to vary significantly based on the group dynamic. If, for instance, that irritating person is in some position or power or influence, then you have a lot fewer options than if they were unimportant. Either way, one of the most effective ways of dealing with people like this is to simply ignore them, if you can. It’s often not easy, and sometime impossible if their uselessness and griping becomes a liability, but few things discourage a whiny attention whore like completely ignoring their bad behavior.

About this Episode:

I’m planning for this to be the last episode inside the van. I’m not at all happy with the set. It’s just boring, and not terribly realistic looking. I need to stick to exteriors and the insides of buildings. Cramped car interiors are simply not my forte.

Discussion Question: Zombies and Decay

So this is kind of a gross one; apologies in advance.

In your mind, how do zombies decay? Regular old carcasses decay rather quickly, especially when exposed the the elements as zombies would be. Zombies, on the other hand, seem to last quite a while. So how does this work? Is there no decay at all? Is the process retarded somehow, and – if so – to what extent?

27 thoughts on “Episode 269: Shut Up, Ted”

  1. I am really enjoying this comic. Legos are a fun medium for creating. Really inspiring and fun as hell to read. I also really liked the news van you built. Excellent work!

    • Thank you JoeX!

      • You’re welcome! I just wish I had the amount of Legos you do. Haha.

  2. Zombie cliche lookout, second paragraph, second sentence, after the third comma: “a lot few options” should read “a lot fewer options”. 😀

    With the zombie decay discussion question, I’d think most of the zombies that remain zombies only do so because they have an internal energy source that drives their zombification process and keeps them undead until the hit on the head stops them. it might or might not be reliant on how often they get to feed. 😀

    • Fixed!

      The feeding as a means of zombie maintenance seems pretty reasonable to me.

  3. Well, in my hypothesis, I believe that for there to be Zombies it would have to involve a parasite. I think I’ve already completely explains why my thesis is in this, but personaly I think the only reason they wouldn’t decay is because of lack of nutrition to the parasite. I believe the parasite would have evolved to provide some sort of preserver to the spine, and from there to the rest of the body.

    Why would viruses, or bacteria need to feast? Or even preserve anything? I understand that some bacteria just changed chemical makeup which makes it a possibility.. Pretty much just changing up the programming of the human, but I think that’s straying away from ‘zombies’ (initially dead).

    • I like the parasite theory; I’m reading a book right now that uses it, and it’s a nice little twist.

      • Yeah it’s one I’ve thought on quite a bit, because I was looking over the three different problem causers.. And parasites seems to be the stealthiest, strongest, and it is the only one that is considered living.

  4. See, I’d probably be Ted. I don’t like to waste my time/risk my life on somebody I know nothing about. I might not work for Valve, but they sure as hell are left for dead.

    • Hah, fair enough Nikolai.

  5. Being a science geek by both nature and education I am always intrigued by some of the physical and physiological aspects of zombies and other supernatural characters in fiction. In the case of Zombies for example…How can the dead move, movement requires muscle action and muscles require nutrients and Oxygen but even if they eat the living for nutrition how can the nutrients get to the muscles without blood circulation? Do the actually digest what they eat? Do they poop? If they need nutrition why don’t the vast majority of them starve once the human population is greatly reduced? If they dont need nutrition then why eat? Why don’t they rot away to the point if immobility within a few weeks of the outbreak? The list goes on and on. I especially like it when authors and filmmakers make efforts to explain some of the seemingly impossible qualities of these characters. The best explication I have heard so far comes from the Resident Evil films where the zombies are re-animated by the “T” virus. As the Red Queen explains to Alice, the “T” virus shocks the system and provides energy and control to basic motor and nervous system function, it also acts to preserve the zombie and drastically slow decay. The predation on humans is just primitive predatory instinct from the most basic levels of brain function. A lot of story lines where the zombies are the result of a biological weapon virus gone awry explain the zombies predation on humans both as a means to spread terror in a population and a mechanism to spread the virus among the target population. In “The Zombie Survival Guide” they actually go so far as to say that zombies do not need to feed and in fact have no way to digest and that whatever they eat just sits in the stomach which will actually rupture if they feed enough. I have also read stories which explain the predation on humans as a physiological or physical craving for either warm flesh or the various hormones, enzymes or neurotransmitters the living produce. One of the creepiest scenes in a otherwise pretty lame zombie movies (I think it was return of the living dead) was when they survivors actually capture the top half of a zombified old woman and strap it to a table and start asking it questions. (you will recall that in this movies the zombies can actually talk)
    “Why do you eat people?”
    “Not people…. brains”
    “Why do you eat brains?”
    “To take away the pain”
    “Yes…. I can feel myself rot”
    Pretty lame movies otherwise, but that was a great scene.

    • “Do they poop?” A question for the ages.

      • Do yours poop, Dave? I’m not sure I want to find out! 😀
        it would, however, make for an extremely funny Bonus Features comic! 😀

        • Ask any three year-old, everybody poops…

    • My thoughts exactly. If a zombie is really dead meaning no blood flow how anything in that body gets to move anything? How do you get the energy from the source to the muscle? More important what is giving them energy? Because if they are dead no chemical processes are working in the body. So the virus/parasite builds them a nuclear reactor – you need a fusion reactor because i don’t think that there is enough uranium in your body for fission reaction- inside their head and transforms the nervous system into conducting cables? I think this is the only way but you also need a part of the brain to function to detect the environment and to walk without stumbling and be aware that walking is not an easy feat. A toddler under 1 year of age does not doing it well even with full functioning brains and muscles. So you need walking you need a way to detect humans to use your hands and teeth you need a lot of brain to function. And remember even now we don’t have robots which do all the functions of the zombie brain. So it is not easy. So if you see a dead zombie you cut his head and use it as free energy for your home.
      If it is alive but have some illness it is easy than it can be killed even non deadly shots will do eventually fatal damage due to bleeding and they cannot eat or drink so in 2-3 days they die of thirst.
      So really the dangerous zombie which is portrayed in movies who have the following properties:
      1. dead means that any shots except the head are ineffective
      2. don’t need any sustenance (they work for months without food, water, or air)
      3. and have enough coordination to pose a threat (they detect humans and have path finding algorithms)
      4. and want to eat humans (for whatever reason because they don’t need them for sustenance anyway see 2)
      In needs to have a fusion nuclear reactor in the head and conductive cables in the body and brain part who can coordinate the movement and the detection of the humans and find a way to get there even if other zombies are on their way (if you think this is easy program 100 robots to reach an objective without stumbling on each other). Even in this case there are many problems. If a zombie has such energy source should get hot the cables must be isolated and redundant (for the fact that body shots don’t do anything bad to zombies. The eyes are very sensitive they don’t work if there is dust on them and if the zombies are dead they don’t blink. Even if they blink in some cases they must clean their eyes with water so in the first day they will lose the visual input same with nose if they don’t breathe the nose don’t get the scent even if they take in air they have to sneeze or to clean their nose. SO again if a zombie is dead (property 1-4) they have to have some miraculous properties (fusion in head + partial brain) and even then they would lose sensory organs in 2-3 days max. If its alive they are worse than humans can be killed easily – let them bleed out and in 2-4 days they die of thirst. Any other option?

  6. Ultimately I like the Voudon Zombies and the use of puffer fish poison as part of the formula.

    As to how zombies would work… after seeing the images of zombie ants in South America, I’d say it was something like a fungal infection. The bite, should only really be one in order to spread the contagion. But who knows, it maybe some primitive, homicidal tendencies awakened by what ever causes the zombification.

    It is scary the nature of parasites and fungus. The studies done with them in the case of parasites, what they can do.

    If they’re dead and reanimated, to me, the zombies should eventually rot away to nothing. Most movies don’t cover this in my opinion or go far enough out to show the final end and decay, that survivors managed to wait out the zombies who have finally just all rotted away. There’s a part of me that says it’s poor script writing to not work out all the details. If its a fantasy setting, then a zombie not fully rotting away to nothing can easily be explained by the deus ex machina of magic.

    As to your set, it was alright, if I commented on a technical is that there was no sense of a window that the two up front are sitting at as they drive/ride.

  7. In my limited experience, an animal rotting out depends a bit upon the weather and the activity of carrion eaters. That is, I have seen road kill almost completely dessicated before it can either rot or have the buzzards get to it.

    I know that authors tend to not spend a lot of time on zombie physiology and ecology. Its all Maslow’s hierarchy, you know? How can the characters spend time thinking about what makes a zombie tick when they’re running for their lives? From where I am sitting, I wonder how zombies stay moist? That is, how do their joints continue to move after they’re all dried out? Maybe that’s why Romero zombies shuffle?

    • You are right in the sense that if there are zombies people would run before thinking how it can walk? Why does not rot? BUT there is a but. In the past the first human which didn’t run away from a tree on fire was who discovered fire. First human who stayed after the flood of a river discovered that soil can be irrigated so may be the first who does not run from a zombie will discover free energy (see my previous post). And any way if in a horror movie you throw away some laws of physics (dead can walk) why not others: humans can fly??? why taking sides? in a zombie movie why a zombie can have a concentrated energy source in his head and i cannot move objects with my mind??? I can become a zombie and I have more brains than him why i need to die to have a independent energy source in the head?? why is so hard to build a fusion reactor but the parasite/virus do it in 24 hours in a decaying brain?

      • What the hell is all this “fusion reactor” nonsense? We’re talking about zombies, not robots.

  8. so happy

  9. The best example of this is Gilligan. Why did the skipper not drown that worthless mother-. I mean, in that situation, first, you drown Gilligan. Then, you kill off Mr. Howell. After a Hunger Games-esque no-hols-barred death match between Skipper and the Professor, the winner gets to live out his carnal desires with Ginger and Maryann, leaving Mrs. Howell as the scullery. He can decide later is he even wants to be rescued.

  10. I think that I heard/watched something about that… the disease kills off all of the bacteria that would normally be there at the process of decay, and repels everything else that would assist in the decay of the zed.

    • Oh, is that how it is in your zombie universe?

      I just like it when the dead come back; and this includes them clawing their way out of the ground in pieces.

      I always wondered why buzzards and crows weren’t circling around, eating them.

      • Its not in my universe, par-say, but I do support it… and if it is in someones blood, and they die in the cemitary, it gets transferred to the already dead and they claw their way up.

        • oh, and in the Resident Evil movie, the one with the school bus, the crows are infected themselves…

  11. Well, assuming the zombies are truly dead and we are not talking about the New Age disease state ones, I would say the rotting is degraded due to mosisture loss. Think about it. A lot of them are oozing blood and fluids from injuries inflicted in their unpleasant deaths, and they still moan and goan, indicating that they still breath to a certain degree, which can cause continual water loss, assuming their circulatory system still works. You might say no to that last, but since they move, things can slowly be mushed through the tubes of the body. Since they don’t seem to have any drive to drink, you could theorize that this water loss leads to dry conditions unsuitable for rot.

    On the other hand, most times they get shot up there is a lot of splatter, so maybe not so much…

    • So, I guess you have to figure that whatever keeps them moving keeps them alive to a certain degree, just enough to ward off rot and keep them from literally growing potatos behind their ears.