Episode 280: Getting Started

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Supplies (Or Lack Thereof)

One way zombie stories tend to pile on against the survivors is to severely limit the amount of supplies they have. When access to food, potable water, warm and clean clothes, ammunition, and weapons is limited, the danger level goes way, way up.

Of course this trope isn’t limited just to zombie stories. A lot of adventure stories do the same. I recently reread The Hobbit, and I was amazed at how often Bilbo and company lost their supplies, or found themselves on the brink of starvation.

About this Episode:

When you create a character, it often helps to pull certain traits from people you know. This helps them feel more realistic, balanced, and grounded. In this case, I’m basing a bit of Handyman’s (he’ll get a real name soon, I promise) personality on my dad. My dad starts every day with a cup of coffee and a smoke, then proceeds to continue to consume both throughout the course of the day. I really wish he’d knock off the smoking part.

Discussion Question: Zombie Strength

I’ve always subscribed to the idea that zombies should have roughly the same physical abilities as a living person (barring injury/damage of course). Mental abilities and coordination, on the other hand, would be significantly reduced. To compensate, zombies don’t have the same weaknesses we do: no need to eat, sleep, etc.

However, on the question of strength, one idea I find interesting is that zombie can seem stronger than regular people because they use one hundred percent of their stregnth, while the rest of us (or so I’m told) limit the amount of power we use to prevent damage. Of course, the decay factor should probably be considered in there somewhere. What impact does that have, especially if your zombies don’t decay at a natural rate.

I’m curious what everyone thinks of this. Do zombies have the same level of strength as the living? A bit more? Less to to muscle and tendon/ligament decomposition?

69 thoughts on “Episode 280: Getting Started”

  1. A not too recent cyclone illustrated graphically what was going to be left in the event of a scenario similar to a zombie apocalypse in the supermarkets: Mostly the boring stuff and the stuff that isn’t actually food seem to be the last to go. Coles here had a pretty good cleanout of their supplies! 😀

    • Food, medicine/first aid, and batteries probably disappear quickly. Magazine, toys, etc. likely linger on a bit.

  2. “I’m curious what everyone thinks of this. Do zombies have the same level of strength as the living? ”

    They have the exact same strength but what they don’t have is the bodies warning system of pain so they keep going when a normal human will cognitively stop. Even drunks will stop in a fight when they see too much blood. Also I suppose what can add to the illusion of strength is not having to worry about cardio 🙂

    • Yeah, not having to balance your workout would be pretty nice.

  3. ” I really wish he’d knock off the smoking part.”

    Does he justify spending nearly $8 a pack?

    • I don’t know that he justifies it, necessarily. He bitches about it.

    • As well, if he smokes a pack of day that will end up creating around $2920 spent yearly. Not to mention prices are going up, and the possible medical risks. It’s a big money sucker that’s for sure!

      • Preaching to the choir, man.

  4. I think, as I’ve said before, it all depends on how well fed they are. I know they might not have the weakness of hunger or fatigue, but the muscles do. With out something to relentlessly supply the muscles with nutrients to survive it will decay at a decently fast pace. Making them slower, weaker, and eventually just not able to move faster than 5 inches every hour. There’s also calcium to think about which would keep the bodies bones strong? With how clumsy everyone makes the undead seem they would be twisting ankles quite a lot.

    Do I think they would be able to use quite a bit of their strength or what’s left of it that is. But I also do believe that humans in any retreat or fighting situation, starts to ignore pain anyways. Adrenaline takes over and you tend to become the strongest one can. A zombie lacks that adrenalin and with out the provided material to keep the muscle strong they will more than likely lose any fight of physical strength.

    • Another notion: your idea of parasite zombies requires a living host. They would require sustenance, which would explain the feasting on the living beyond just propagating the parasites.

      • Well close, the parasite needs to be able to control the brain and have it’s host completely dead only using functions that are necessary. But yes since the parasite is a living thing it does need sustenance to continue on. So over all you are correct and your notion is right on dot!

        • Are there parasites not that live on dead hosts? I assume there probably are.

        • You may have to re-type that sentence I’m not quite getting you?

        • That’s because it was broken images, good lord.

          What I meant to say was:
          Are there any parasites around today that live on dead hosts instead of live ones.

        • Yes there are quite a few I believe don’t hold me to that though. Parasites are living organisms too so who knows what they can do? Evolution and adaptability are amazing yet terrifying things.

        • Well I do know what they can do, but predicting them is the hard part.

        • I’m pretty sure you won’t find any parasites that are capable of reanimating a dead host. You say that they would “only use functions completely necessary”, but for the zombies we know, that’s basically all of them. You know how quickly muscles stop working if you cut off the oxygen in the blood? I think it’s under a minute. People who like dead zombies because they think it makes their immunity to shots through the chest plausible might want to think again…

  5. Deadliest Warrior did some speculation on this at the end of their final season. It was pretty silly. My opinion is that, if zombies use 100% of their strength, they fall apart faster (since they’re tearing ligaments and musculature). Barring some sort of black magic animating them (Army of Darkness style), I’d say it pretty much cancels out with the decay and entropy, so they’d be about the same as us. The downside, of course, is that they don’t feel pain, so most self-defense moves are totally worthless against them.

    • I like that your brought up self-defense here. I’m going to turn that into another discussion question.

    • But really any understanding of combat and fighting will more help a person adapt to defending themselves against the undead. Having a solid knowledge base to build up from and changing up moves from disarming, causing pain, and threatening to smashing, and breaking with finesse.

      I do agree with you on the whole wearing down part of using 100% strength all the time. It’s like stress testing something all the time it’s bound to just fall apart.

  6. Hey dave, my uncle is a mechanic and has this invention is this thing that has unlimmited energy, if you plug it into an outlet, it power’s the whole house, so much for a no-power apocalypse

    • just dont pass this around, its suppost’ to be secret, keep it to yourself’s until it comes out in stores.

      • Is your uncle Tesla?

        • um… no

        • Ah, because this sounds similar to something Telsa came up with to provide free/extremely cheap power. His was somewhat less portable, though.

        • i dont think so anyway

        • now THIS is how im going to have 1million dollars, and still live in a 3 room apartment when i grow up, heh heh heh.

        • Well when you get rich, remember your friendly neighborhood webcomic creator.

        • heh, Kinda Like Mr. Rogers, i hated Mr. Rogers.

        • Presumably you have something against button-up sweaters?

        • my dad has one, its the nerdiest thing that i’d ever seeen, ill stick with the zip up jacket anyday. and i also have bad habbit of tripping on all of teh other kid’s sweater’s at school, i hate home school activities.

        • Is your home just a minefield of crumpled sweaters?

          The horror… the horror…

        • well if you could find my house on google Earth, you’d know the awnser.

  7. i still dont know why in Left 4 Dead, theres still power even though it says, “2 Weeks after first Infection.” its weird.

    • Maybe they’re near hydroelectric plants?

  8. Dave, I think you are confused with Teslas ideas about wireless energy distribution. He had this system by which you could distribute energy without electric lines by essentially creating a massive electric field (first in a local area, and eventually the whole world). Kind of like wireless communication works today. If you’ve ever seen someone holding a couple of florescent light tubes while standing under high tension wires and seen the tubes begin to radiate light then youve seen the principle in action. As long as you were in the field, you would get power. It is said that he had some initial success with his famous Wardenclyffe tower test facility near Pikes Peak. But he never worked out the huge problem of the systems inefficiencies and control problems and his backers dropped thier support. Probably just as well anyway, there are already a ton of health concerns about people living close high tension wires and this system would have created a much more powerful magnetic filed then that.

    • Nope, that’s exactly what I was talking about, hence the “somewhat less portable” line. It was just meant to be a joke.

      • My Bad, should have known that a Wikipedia fan like yourself would have had his historical references in good working order. Hope my post didnt come off as condescending, if it did it wasn’t intentional.

        • Oh no, not at all. Mine was just a quick, off-the-cuff joke. Some extra background is always appreciated (and you saved me both typing and research, huzzah!).

    • I though his backers stopped backing him because of, as you said, one couldn’t really regulate it. So his backers didn’t see a way to make money off of it?

      • From what I remember, Tesla was brilliant but didn’t have much of a business mind. Seems like he was taken advantage of a lot, and had ideas squashed by others who were developing along similar lines.

      • There is probably some truth to that. Although I know one of his backers was J.P. Morgan and that crafty SOB would have found a way. I mean if you held that patent on the tech just imagine being able to charge a 5% royalty on any electrical device sold in the US that was designed to use your system.

        • Soooooo much money.. Hell that would of been a great alternative time line zombie apocalypse.

        • Shakes fist ominously at specter of J.P. Morgan (my mortgage is through Chase).

  9. Oh, and last I checked, the Laws of Thermodynamics still apply. No system can create more energy then you put into it. Doesn’t anyone watch Mythbusters?

    • Tell that to my perpetual motion device!

      • Round and round it goes, where is it going? Everyone knows!

        • You got that right.

        • Now if you will excuse me, I have to go attach a small plastic device to the fuel ine of my car that is guaranteed to increase my mileage by 20%. But dont tell the oil companies or they will send people after me.

        • You people are going to send me into another binge-reading of Snopes. You know how dangerous (to my productivity) that is?

        • Yes I do, when the van showed up to hit Carl I forgot how the nurse wound up with the news guys and had to re-read the entire comic. Turnabout is fair play sir!

        • Hah, excellent! Keep my page views and average time on site up!

  10. Since im goofing off anyway, here the link to my zombie family window decal

    • That’s outstanding! Even the dog is part of the action.

  11. “I’m curious what everyone thinks of this. Do zombies have the same level of strength as the living? A bit more? Less to to muscle and tendon/ligament decomposition?”

    To me, that’s part of the fantasy of zombie and a grey area that writers usually don’t consider as that would destroy their ability to tell a good zombie story if they feel they have to start thinking about the logics.

    Personally, I’d go for an advanced form of that South American fungus responsible for Zombie Ants.

    • I can see what you’re saying about destroying the story by thinking too hard about the logic. A lot of stories fall right apart if you think about them too hard.

  12. I dont think id survive in a zombie apacolypse.

    • Don’t worry, most of us wouldn’t.

  13. Whatsthenewinventiongonnabecalled?

    • Hah

  14. umm hey Dave where do u get ur minifigures??

    • Most from LEGO sets. The zombies come from a variety of places: LEGO collectible minifig zombies, Citizen Brick, some of the new Monster Fighter faces, etc. I like to take the zombie faces and put them on a variety of torsos.

  15. I know this is weird and rather out there, but great fire place!

    • Thanks!

  16. Agree with a lot that has been said above.

    Anyone that has done anything physical knows that muscles get tired and you start getting pain from your body telling you to stop/slow down before you snal something. So in theory… a fresh zombie will be as strong as the living human they once were, but they will be going 100% of muscle usage the whole time… which will cause fatigue, tears, breakdown of the muscles, so eventually they will be weak.

    Perfect in theory to assume this… however, when the zombies rise… we are all back to square one, because this is all just theories, and the reality might be a lot different.

    eg: Who is to say that zombies aren’t as fast and as strong as the living when they start, and it is only as the bodies break down and decay that they slow down? Good luck getting away from a freshly turned Usain Bolt Zombie 🙂

    • Oh, and about the comic…. I am reminded of a Monty Python skit where they sing the Spam song 🙂

      Lovely Spam, wonderful spam! Spaaaaaam.

    • I wouldn’t worry too much about Usain Bolt zombies. Remember rule #1 of Zombieland: Cardio.

      Bolt will be one of the last of us to get turned.

      • Plus he doesn’t live anywhere near me, which is nice.

  17. i think overtime zombies will be stronger a new zombie (newly transformed)
    and an old zombie because it would decompose more.