Episode 314: Take Off

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Go Home

When the zombies show up, it will be time to seriously re-examine your priorities. Before the zombies, having a good career was something that many of us put a lot of stock in. After the zombies show up, going to work is a good way to get your face eaten by a horde of the walking dead. It’s a paradigm shift, and you’d better shift fast, or you’ll end up as Grade A Zombie Chow.

If nothing else, zombies will simplify life. Priorities will be pretty basic: safety from zombies, potable water, food, keeping your group together, etc. No more worrying about college credits, qualifying for a mortgage, or getting your kids into a good school district.

About this Episode:

Judging by the comments, the boss character (who is known as “Old Man” in my scripts), isn’t super sympathetic. I’m not sure if this episode will change things or not, but for me it makes him at least conscious of the harm he’s potentially done.

Discussion Question: Zombie Children

When AMC’s The Walking Dead premiered, it got a lot of attention for Rick shooting a zombie child in the show’s opening. Say what you will about the show, but it set a certain tone by including children, where other zombie stories are careful to avoid this. There are probably a lot of reasons to avoid it, but I’m guessing that it changes the tone away from “survival porn” when you start seeing a bunch of reanimated kids.

The question is, does it bother you when zombie children are included, or excluded from a given story?

I’ll weigh in on this one. I don’t mind it when people skip the zombie kids. When done well, it can definitely add to the horror, but usually they’re only included for shock value. Is avoiding kid zombies realistic? No, but I’m okay with that.

32 thoughts on “Episode 314: Take Off”

  1. Children in zombie stories are not the greatest idea to show, there is a pretty obvious reason to that and I respect it. But in all honesty, like Dave, it adds to realism and tells us that it’s not only the adults that we will have to dispatch, but also little kids and possibly babies. The Walking Dead, show and for those who played the game, depict children as zombies. Quiet honestly in the show it was more of a surprise than the game itself. The hinted it a lot in the third episode, ( the game is divided into five episodes, each bing like a level) they manage to get the kid in the group bitten and then shot in the head. Also the next episode, they show a zombified child in an attic, and try to make you relate this kid to the former one in the previous episode. To get to my point, no it doesn’t bother me if zombie children aren’t showed, but it is interesting to see how they fit in zombie children within the story and still do a good job about it.

    • One of these days, I’m going to have to try that game out. Everyone seems to speak really highly of it.

  2. “- or whatever it is -” That part of his sentence is priceless right there! If he survives, and avoids becoming a zombie himself, he may regret certain things he’s said, not knowing what is unfolding before them all. If he does turn into a zombie, I guess that means this webcomic just had all it’s zombies go incorporated! 😉

    • Is there anything more frightening that incorporated zombies?

      I’m reminded of a quotation: “Corporation: an ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.”

      • Corporate socialism, which is really fascism, is what we have in America: We privatize the profits while socializing the losses. Also called “public/private partnerships”, a “mixed economy”, “corporate welfare”, and “picking winners and losers”.

        Ah, America, home of the fee.

        • “We privatize the profits while socializing the losses.”

          Absolutely. That “too big to fail” nonsense made my blood boil.

        • Rome was to big to fail….Opps

        • Hah!

  3. I personally think they need to have more zombie children in things. With out them it’s like they are not including a big part of the population, and having to deal with them IS a thing. It would be hard for some people, and easy for others to kill them outright for sure. Though the underlying tone is simply the fact that they’re harder to see and much smaller than the ‘average’ zombie. They don’t have to have some sort of acidic spit in order to be a ‘special zombie’ they’re just creepier and deadlier in general.

    • I like what you’re saying about them being a more realistic “special zombie”. That’s an interesting take on things.

      • I’m looking at it from a gamer/game making point of view. In the real world though? I don’t think I’d much be able to take a dead kid too lightly, I’m already afraid of playing some B-ball with the kids in fear of possibly hurting them.

        Though there is also the very sickening possibility that a full grown zombie would just consume the child whole with no trace left.

        • In the real world it’s tough to imagine something more horrifying.

  4. I’d rather not see dead kids in my survival movies, including undead kids. We all know they’re there. We all know that an EOTW scenario includes dead kids. I’d rather just flat out not see them in my entertainment. As a father, it bugs me. I can’t enjoy a movie if I spend it worried about my own little ones. Consider Contagion (Still the gold standard by which I judge survival movies). The scenes with the little boy, Clark, getting sick and dying really got to me the first two or three times I saw it, and really hit my wife hard when we saw it in the theater. Sure, it really got me thinking, which was probably the point. Still, I wouldn’t want to see a scene like that in a zombie movie (unless it was Carl, he’s a little shit ;)).

    • This is very much how I feel, with the caveat that I can appreciate it when it’s done well. The only problem is, it’s not done well very often.

  5. Ever read “Pavlovs Dogs”? The author does a very nice job of handling the protagonists trauma after looking at the facade of an elementary school and seeing it packed full of undead kids though the windows. Nothing explicit, but if you have ever been in an elementary school as an adult you can pretty easily imagine the scene. Im not ashamed to admit that I lost some sleep to that one.

    • The one that did me in is picturing some little undead kid in those sneakers that light up when you step, or a little girl in messed up white tights. Just typing this Im freaking out a little.

      • That’s a creep scene right there, Damage. Well done.

    • I haven’t read it yet. It’s on my list, but it seems like I mostly focus on reading new stuff we haven’t covered on BotD yet, so it always gets back-burnered.

  6. Maybe I’m weird, but I didn’t bat an eye at the whole shooting the kid zombie thing. Kid, adult, inbetween, whatever, it’s still a zombie. Perhaps that is something I can consciously handle from the comfort of my quiet little home and not something I could do in the field, but maybe I’m a sociopath?

    • You’re not a sociopath. Seeing something on TV gives you a big disconnect.

    • If you can ask yourself “Maybe Im a sociopath?” then odds are your not. But Im betting you dont have any kids either. It sounds dramatic, but parenthood changes a person, especially a guy. And once that paternal instinct gets switched on, it kind of overflows to cover kids in general and not just your own. No matter whos kids they are, somebody loved them just as much as you love your own. Somebody sat up with them all night when they were colicy, somebody had to check under the bed for monsters every night. Somebody was willing to, and probably did in the case of zombie kids, sacrifice thier own lives to try and keep them safe. The Governor in the Walking Dead series may be an evil dude, but the whole zombie daughter thing makes him sympathetic in my eyes.

      • Well said, Damage.

  7. I think I may have a typo alert for Dave: In “About this Episode” I think the last line of that paragraph should read “make him at least conscious” instead of all. Over to you, Dave! 😉

    • Right you are, BrickVoid. Fixed.

      • By the way, I’ve noticed that the site sometimes seems rather slow to accept comments. I’m not sure what you can do about it but it was very slow when I added the typo alert post above. Maybe you should see if you can get the zombies out of whatever is slowing things down! 😉

        • I’ve noticed that too. It’s very hit and miss. I’m trying to figure out the cause.

  8. Infants…No zombie movie has done those muppets right yet. As far as Kid zeds go does not both me and I’m the father of 3 daughters from 16 to 6. Most zombies kids you see are about 12-15 hardly a 6 or 8 year old. That would bother me seeing and very young child but for the story I believe they belong there. Things you don’t see often enough in zombie movies: appropriate demographic, young and old (Including race). Just pay attention to the next zombie flick you watch. Urban areas with hardly any other race besides white? No kids in the suburbs? Where is the horde of teen deadites?Handicaped? Crawlers? Only portions of the Zed (head and torso)?
    The only zombie type I don’t wish to see in a movie is babies. I’ve just never seen it done right (or believably), yet.

    • The Dawn of the Dead remake had a particularly bad zombie baby. Ugh.

      • Agreed, it looked like an evil hand puppet. The kind of thing some aspiring high school special effects kid would have made in his basement. But I still had a hard time looking at it.

  9. Like always Im going to be annoying and segway again. Ive always kind of assumed that the zombies you see walking around are the ones that got bitten but managed to escape their zombie attacker while still alive, then managed to get to a place of relative safety, die form the bite then rise. If the zombie attacked had killed them immediately then they would have been consumed on the spot brain and all and not made it back, or at least not have been in any condition to walk around. Maybe the odd crawler like in the first episode of Walking Dead, but thats it. Its kind of gruesome, but I would assume that you would see a lot fewer zombied kids because, being smaller and weaker, they would have been less likely to survive the initial attack relatively intact and been consumed outright. Its extra horrifying to think that the zombie kids you do see might have been “rescued” after being bitten by thier parents or loved ones then turned and attacked their rescuers. Think Night of the Living Dead original.

    • That’s a pretty good justification. Kids could likely be quicker, and, being smaller, easier to hide. I could see this going either way.

      • I thought about that after I posted. Maybe there would be more kid survivors due to them being in better physical condition and quicker to adjust to the situation. More good book material, too bad IM a crappy writer.