Episode 304: Surprise

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Flashing Back

We often go through formative experiences, sometimes without even realizing them. In a story, those experiences inform how a character should act, so it’s important for the audience to experience them as well. This gives the writers a couple of options. First, you can start out with these stories so that both the character and the audience start the story on the same footing. You see this a lot in books and movies; the first little bit of the story actually happens in the past. We watch as one of the protagonists has some life-altering experience, and then flash forward for the story to actually begin.

Alternatively, we can integrate these experiences within the narrative later, in the form of flashbacks. And again, we have a lot of options here. The flashback can be fairly early on, to allow audiences to better understand the character early. On the other hand, the story can establish the character in his/her own right (while the audience draws their conclusions), only to have a second-act flashback give us valuable insight on the character.

There’s also the question of how the flashback occurs within the narrative of the story. It might be entirely internal, with the character reminiscing on their own. Conversely, it might be a group experience, with one character telling another (or a group) about their personal history.

About this Episode:

I wanted this flashback to really stand out from what preceded it, so I tried to make the build a lot warmer and filled with a lot more personal looking items. This is Sam’s office, before the world turned upside down. I tried to make it a typical nerd office, with music, books, and geeky dinosaur stuff.

Speaking of Sam, I’m really excited to be doing this arc. I’ve had this planned for probably two years now, it just took a while before it was ready to show up in the story. Hopefully you guys enjoy it.

Other News:

Today is the three-year anniversary of Bricks of the Dead. I’ve got a couple things planned for the week to celebrate, but we’ll kick off today with an announcement: the official Bricks of the Dead Forum is open for business. As you can see, there are some older threads in there from the initial testing. I think I have all the bugs worked out, but I guess we’ll find out this week.

The forum is your place to discuss zombies, movies, games, etc. Basically whatever doesn’t fit into a particular comic or article’s discussion. As necessary, I’ll add in more categories to break out dicsussion.

Discussion Question: Favorite Moment

What’s everyone’s favorite moment from Bricks of the Dead so far? Mine is probably poor Sam running through the horde of zombies with the radio and hockey pads to be a diversion.



Typo alerts for Dave:

1. Flashing Back, first paragraph, third sentence, should read: “audience start the story on the same footing”. 😀

2. Next sentence has two “in”s and should read “books and movies”. 😉

3. About This Episode, third sentence should start with an “I”. 😀

I think I’m getting over this flu somewhat! 😀 I’m still recovering though! 😉


Well remember, BotD doesn’t necessarily take place in 2013 or anything. There have been a few retro elements, like the big boxy TV they all watched in the beginning.


Happy anniversary Dave !
Either Sam only has one shirt or this flashback took place on the day the SHTF.

“Geeky dinosaur stuff”… lol.. sounds like someone has some dinosaurs on a shelf somewhere!
It reminds me of a game I played a couple of years ago with some colleagues at work, “show me your desk I’ll tell you what geek you are”… I suggest we play the same game on our brand new forum!
Right this way…


Perhaps Sam has lots of shirts Greg……just in pure geek style they are all plaid 🙂

Well done on reaching your 3rd anniversary Dave. Will hit the forums once I sort out a decent avatar for myself.


Thanks! It always drives me nuts on TV shows and movies when characters only use a keyboard, so I had to include a mouse, even if the damn thing kept falling on the ground.


If anyone is still having issues posting. Hit refresh or clear your browser cache.


I disabled a social sharing tool and I’m seeing a substantial improvement on my end. Hopefully that’s all the problem was.


Honestly, I don’t think people even register those plug-ings. The eyes just glance over them.

On a side note, I miss gynogirl. :/


You’re probably right. Just white noise.

I’m sure gynostar will return sooner or later.


It’s one of the advertisers I get from time to time. Another webcomic if I’m not mistaken.


Oh right, I knew it rang a bell! BTW, it seems the posting works perfect now.


My favorite moment is probably when the S actually does HTF,ostly because I like SWAT in LEGO. Couldn’t you have given the SWAT figs different torsos, though? Oh wait, they’re supposed to be incompetent. Never mind.


I thought that Sam was so settled with the wierd cult group that he was thier new tech guy. Honey is the cute daughter. It’s a stretch but I was confused for a sec. I’m slow today. lol


well its nice to see you back on your feet dave. and at least that namonia didn’t do any permanent damage. oh and im sure that your people at work will be happy to see you back.


Back in the office for the first time in two weeks today. I usually work from home 4 days a week, so getting sick really took me away for a while.


No, I meant for all the SWAT figs to have all the helicopter pilot torso because it looks sleeker. Some seem to have the plain police torso instead.


Ooh, right. Yeah, I didn’t have that many of those torsos at the time. If I were to do it all over again, I’d grab some tactical vests from one of the third-party accessory makers. There are a lot of good ones out there.


Love the shot in that fourth panel Dave, very effective.

Wonder whats going to be revealed when we see Sarah in focus… a bite mark perhaps? :O

Favourite parts of BotD, everything (honestly, I love this comic!), but if I had to choose the awards go to (Oscar style):

Best Story arc:
Patient zero story and the way it reintergrates into the main story with Barb coming into contact with the news crew.

Best build feature:
The aquarium, followed closely by the vending machine. Very cool builds on everyday items, the computer in above episode makes the top three.

Best bonus feature:
The zombie wrangler being eaten by his charges.

Best guest strip:
The one where the cyborg zombies come after the two groups after they have been trying to compare who is tougher!

Best Zombie:
The zombie group “loitering” outside the building and tripping over the rubbish bin until they hear the gun shot… very cool idea.

Thanks Dave for three years of BotD… I stumbled across this site towards the end of last year and check into it everyday…

*music starts playing*

OK OK, I’m finished! 🙂


Wow, thanks Mad!

“The one where the cyborg zombies come after the two groups after they have been trying to compare who is tougher!”

This guest strip is crazy popular. Like, top ten most popular pages on the site level traffic.

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