Episode 294: Supplies!

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Survival Cache

Anyone who has ever played a video game knows that you need to pick up absolutely everything. In most games (with notable exceptions), everything you could ever need to survive is just left lying around. Now, there are sometimes good reasons for this. In the zombie apocalypse, for instance, you might expect to find a weapon or other supplies on the ground where they were dropped in a panic, possibly next to a pool of coagulating blood. However, these items are often found in weird places, and the more useful or powerful the item, the more esoteric its location.

In real life, people rarely leave valuable or useful things just lying around. And in a crisis that holds doubly true. Yes, if you’re the last living person for a thousand square miles, you can probably scavenge to your heart’s content. Otherwise, every other survivor out there is competing for those same finite resources.

About this Episode:

I like to put framed pictures and whatnot in the background of shots, but I’m finding that newspaper a little distracting now. Whenever the dialog balloon is on top of it, the high-contrast corners of the frame really stand out to me. Live and learn, I suppose.

Discussion Question: Zombie Knowledge as a Handicap

This one comes courtesy of Mad.., who reached out to me via email yesterday (he later sent a generous donation, which is just awesome. Thanks Mad..!).

I recently mentioned that zombies are becoming a part of our overall cultural consciousness. They’ve long since lost the “niche monster” status they once enjoyed, and have turned into trends and memes and unimaginative movie and video game cannon fodder. The public, as a whole, knows how zombies work.

So what happens if zombies don’t work quite like we think they do? What happens when the zombies show up, but are completely immune to head shots? Or if, instead of being spread by bite or scratch, the zombie plague is airborne and requires some other catalyst to infect? How will our cultural “knowledge” of zombies handicap us if zombies don’t play by the rules we think they should?


35 thoughts on “Episode 294: Supplies!”

  1. Most wil die, the others will adapt to the new rules of zombie slaying. I’ll be one to die.

    • Hah, way to stay positive, Brickicide.

  2. It depends on what Murphy means when he’s referring to where these stocks are kept! Who knows what lurks inside? 😀

    My guess would be zombies because of the scare factor – but only if said stock holding device is actually large enough to contain a zombie! 😀

    • A root cellar full of zombies does sound pretty awesome.

  3. You are most welcome to the donation Dave, you run an awesome website here, and I love the comic and the other bits and pieces… so if I can help a little bit then I’m going to make sure I do 🙂

    The first episode of AMCs The Walking Dead, Second season is what got me thinking about the “knowledge” discussion point. I haven’t watched any of The Walking Dead yet, and turns out my brother showed me the wrong seasons first episode! But I now have season one in my hot little hands on Blu-Ray… but I digress.

    *** Spoiler alert***
    In the freeway scene when they are all hiding from the zombies, under cars and such, my first reaction was… “would that work?” then when the zombie climbed into the RV with seeming ease and starting looking around I started thinking about the discussion point above.

    Got me thinking about knowledge in general, and how it can be a good thing, but if you think/act like you know everything and take that knowledge as 100% accurate… I reckon it will get you killed in a zombie scenario.

    Just look at how many different types of zombies we are seeing in movies etc now days… slow shamblers, fast nutters, rage zombies, undead zombies… might want to rethink your survival plans a little bit, or come up with many different ones for as many scenarios as possible.

    • Excellent point here. The assumption of knowledge can be a hell of a lot more dangerous than the admission of ignorance. And that applies to the non-zombie-survival parts of life too.

  4. What I don’t like about most people’s ‘get supplies’ plan is the whole ‘raid the gun shop’ thing. The nearest gun shop to you is the nearest gun shop to a thousand other people, so assuming the place isn’t completely empty when you get there, or the owners may have locked it down like a fortress, the problems get worse still.

    • A smart gun shop owner would probably take all of the guns that are easily movable and be mobile. A zombie gun shop owner probably won’t have any interest in selling guns, but also won’t be taking bullets from those out of ammo! 😀

      • Any sort of “plan” that involves looting is a poor plan. I hate that sort of mentality.

        • Maybe you should move that reply under Legomiles post then! 😀

  5. Was it “Return of the Living Dead” where they try to kill the first zombie they encounter by nailing it to the floor though the head with a pickaxe trying to destroy its brain but nothing happens?

    • That sounds right to me, but I only saw Return once. I just didn’t care for that one.

      • Maybe that’s because it SUCKED SO BAD!!!!

        • That’s a good theory.

  6. I had a nightmare once where I was being attacked by zombie chickens.

    Think about it… a zombie’s weak point is the head. But you cut off a chicken’s head and it keeps going.

    Eventually they cornered me. I was scared, and I couldn’t think how to stop them. But then I thought, “Wait a minute. Maybe I can’t kill them. But they’ll be HEADLESS CHICKENS. What exactly am I afraid of? What are they going to do, bump into my shins?”

    Then I wasn’t scared anymore, and I woke up.

    My subconscious is a weird place.

    • Now this is an interesting new twist of zombies.

      Zombie animals have always piqued my curiosity. I don’t know that necessarily like the idea, but it’s definitely interesting and opens up a lot of possibilities.

  7. yea well I had a dream that we cared about your dream

    • That’s quite enough of that. Everyone has the right to speak their mind here without fear of being ridiculed.

      • sorry, i was tired

  8. I’m still a relative new-comer to BotD and still working my way through them, but great work!

    Shortly after he made Shaun of the Dead, Simon Pegg said that he preferred Romero’s slow-moving ‘zombies’ to 28 Days Later fast-moving ‘infected’. He said that they were more, well, zombie-like. And I think that touches on your question beautifully. Who is really to say what a zombie will actually be when Z-Day comes? Reanimated corpses driven by man’s lust for technological superiority, or a mutant strain of Bovine Encephalitis that wrecks the brains of anyone catching it? Why are they feeding on brains? Or is it any flesh that will do? Is it just people, or do animals get it as well? So many questions…

    My thinking on it though is that a head shot kills, or at least slows down zombies, mummies, vampires -and- werewolves. So that’s where I’ll be aiming.

    • Really good thoughts here, ElectricBrick. I share the same opinion as Pegg, and that might leave me very ill prepared.

  9. On the topic of headshots. Destroying the brain is just about the best way to kill any vertebrate. That being said it can be difficult to hit the head, there is a large margin of error and most animals (except apes and humans) have relatively small heads. A shambling gait also makes the head move around a lot (ask anyone whos played COD) There are also documented cases of bullets glancing off human and animal skulls when the hit from opaque angels. Years ago I had a hunting guide tell me that the best way to stop a charging grizzly was not to aim for the head (too hard to hit and penetration is iffy) but to aim for a major bone or joint, say the shoulder or the hip. No matter how strong we are we rely on our exoskeleton to support us mechanically. Blow out a major limb or joint and at the very least you slow down the target by 80-90%. Shoot a zed in the pelvis with enough gun to break it (.223 or 9mm minimum) and hell be reduced to a crawl and much easier to escape or dispatch.

  10. Meh if they aren’t what people expect it won’t effect me what so ever. I’m not prepared for the ‘zombie apocalypse’ I’m prepared for a disaster, and part of being prepared is the prepared part. I might not be able to touch on every situation but I can cover the basics as well as a good amount of deeper issues.

    For a lot of other people though? I wouldn’t give them a printer’s chance in Office space to survive even the cliche undead.

    • Completely agree with you on your point…

      I suppose if you have an anti looter aspect of your plan then that takes care of co-ordinated, fast, thinking zombies 🙂

      Everyone thinks I am bonkers that I have a stockpile of food and water in case of disaster and am getting my garden to a point where I don’t even have to buy fruit and veges. I also have portable gas cookers, water purifying tablets, gyro powered torches, radios etc. My friends and family that think I’m nuts?…. have what is in their fridge and think the government will bail them out… silly silly people.

      I’ve got a pack full of stuff as a BOB too… I’ve got a wife and 2 year old daughter…. if disaster strikes (in New Zealand most likely to be earthquake/volcano/Tsunami) then I have to look after my family, I’m not going to rely on anyone else!

      While typing this, just thought about what would happen if it happened while I’m at work… I work 5 mins drive from home… and only takes me 20-25mins to walk… so I would be ok on that front too… however zombies between here and home would make life “interesting” getting home.

      • How do you like it in New Zealand? Considering all things in the US it’s been a country I’ve been looking at favorably as of late.

        • Well, I was born and raised here in lil old New Zealand.

          I love the place, there is so much to do, whatever you are in to.

          Yeah it has “problems” but when I see what is going on in other countries the problems here pale into comparison… this place is awesome!

          My in-laws came here in the late 70s… for a visit…. they have never left, they love it, and they travelled through a lot of the world, Europe, USA, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India etc etc… and New Zealand was the one they picked 🙂

  11. Considering on how many types of zombies there are or stories told it wouldn’t be possible for people to contain their own emotions. In this “PC”world we live in a lot may try to help the dead rather than contain them.
    Something I hardly see in Zed films/shows is the reactions to close family and a realistic approach to how it would be handled. I can say I wouldn’t have a problem dispatching the Romero type zoms but freak out if they moved awkward or quick but when it came to my family.
    If close family were infected this is where I could see a lot of people dying. Could you kill a loved one/ones? And how would you react the first time you saw them?

    • Exactly. Imagine your children are zombified. Your parents. Your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend. Not so easy anymore, is it?

      • My thoughts on this…

        Until you find yourself in this situation…. you dont know how you would react.

        My wife and daughter mean everything to me, so if they were turned I think one of three things would occur…

        a) I’d give up there and then, kill myself, or let them take me down cos it aint worth living anymore
        b) Absolutley annihilate the reanimated remains of my loved ones so they are unrecognisable and unleash the emotion that way.
        c) Bug out…. literally leave them and get away, leave them as shamblers, but get away from them so I dont get the physical reminders

        Which one would actually happen? Who knows… I hope I never ever find myself in a situation like this!

        • I like the sound of B. I can totally see people realising that they aren’t their loved ones any more, but monsters wearing their faces. I think that would piss anyone off (Especially in the case of undead zombies). Not everyone, sure, but a significant number of people I would expect.

  12. Ah, I missed a few days….

    That “knowledge base” is what’s going to hurt people when they think they know everything about Zombie and can’t adapt to any changes. The one thing with Zombies, that should be a knowledge base, is every movie, game, show, media has a different way of approaching the zombies, how the disease spreads, got started.

    In folklore, just sticking to that, there’s a huge amount of information regarding Vampires and even Werewolves that differs, that if you don’t know which “species” of Vampire or Werewolf you’re dealing with. You’re in trouble. Though most books go for the Bram Stoker novels or rely on the Lon Chaney Jr. Wolfman for their information.

    So, if these things were to prove real and come about. If people relied too much on the media entertainment for their knowledge, they could be in a lot of trouble.

    • I’ve got an rpg with multiple weakpoints, or even none.

  13. hunting cabin hmmm, only if some hunting rifles turned up…

    • If you read the next comic, it may answer that question.

    • Yeah, most folks don’t leave their weapons unattended in isolated cabins. We keep them locked up at home. About the most Murph can hope for are a couple of boxes of ammunition, maybe a cleaning kit. It’s also my observation that most casual gun owners do not stockpile ammunition. A box or two per hunting season is the most they hope for or wish to purchase. The exception is mostly competitors that hand load or buy their ammunition by the case.