Episode 346: Thanks, Zombie

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Unlikely Savior

You know what’s fun? When the monster can become the hero, even if – or maybe especially when – it isn’t even intentional. Say what you will about zombies as monsters, but one nice thing about them is that they don’t discriminate. You won’t find racist zombies that won’t eat minorities, or elitist zombies that only go after trust-fund babies. Zombies eat what’s available, and sometimes what’s available is a bad guy making things tough for our heroes.

About this Episode:

So we have a fairly important reveal here about the nature of the zombie infection in Bricks of the Dead (one that there’s been a fair amount of speculation on): if you die, you become a zombie. It doesn’t matter if you were bitten or not, the recently dead reanimate (unless they died due to massive brain trauma, of course).

Discussion Question: Does the Bad Guy Know He’s a Bad Guy

And here’s another discussion question pulled directly from the comments (you guys are great for this): does the villain know they’re the villain?

My gut reaction here is to say no. The villain has his/her own motivations and goals, and his/her own ethical guidelines. Based on that, they will likely recognize and adversarial relationship with the “hero”, but not necessarily believe they’re the bad guy. And furthermore, they may be right. We relate to the hero because they’re the center of our fictional world-view. Just because another character is in conflict with the hero doesn’t necessarily make one right and the other wrong.

On the other hand, I think people frequently do unethical things to further their own ends. They consciously make the decision to be “bad”, for lack of a better term. Do they think of themselves as villains or bad guys? Probably not, but they do know that what they’re doing is unethical.

So what do you guys think?

44 thoughts on “Episode 346: Thanks, Zombie”

  1. Well, well, well.

    You die you zombify, don’t need to be bitten. I really like that idea, makes things that little bit more precarious as you need to watch out for all dead people.

    Gene has risen and bitten one of our bad guys… I’m really intrigued as to where you go next strip with this scenario Dave, a lot of possibility on the table, which exactly where a good writer should have us!

    Have I ever mentioned I love Bricks of the Dead? Keeps me coming back for more 🙂

    • I’m a fan of the “everyone zombifies” thing too. It adds another layer of craziness on the zombie apocalypse.

  2. PS: Silly prisoner thinking he is in charge. The zombies are in charge of this world.

    • You got that right.

  3. Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: So me and mine gotta lay down and die… so you can live in your better world?

    The Operative: I’m not going to live there. There’s no place for me there… any more than there is for you. Malcolm… I’m a monster. What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.

    • The full scene (maybe the other should be deleted):

      The Operative: I’m sorry. If your quarry goes to ground, leave no ground to go to. You should have taken my offer. Or did you think none of this was your fault?

      Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: I don’t murder children.

      The Operative: I do. If I have to.

      Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: Why? Do you even know why they sent you?

      The Operative: It’s not my place to ask. I believe in something greater than myself. A better world. A world without sin.

      Capt. Malcolm Reynolds: So me and mine gotta lay down and die… so you can live in your better world?

      The Operative: I’m not going to live there. There’s no place for me there… any more than there is for you. Malcolm… I’m a monster.What I do is evil. I have no illusions about it, but it must be done.

      • God do I love me some Firefly/Serenity.

    • Effin love Firefly and I love when the bad guy knows he’s the bad guy. Makes it so much easier to love/hate him. lol

      • Heck yeah!

  4. Didn’t see this one coming. I didn’t think you’d get infected just by dying, but even more surprising is the speed, I didn’t suspect Gene was even dead yet…

    He had it coming, though.

    • Gene had it coming, or the prisoner?

  5. Go, Mean Gene, Go!!
    Chomp Chomp pa chewy Chomp.
    I love the Die and zombify rule.

    • Mean Gene. I love it!

  6. Since Firefly already got brought into the discussion, I recall something that was said in one of the extras about Jayne Cobb: Jayne thinks he’s the hero of the story. He’s kind of a jerk, will do anything for money, and likes to hurt people, but in his own mind, he’s heroic.

    I think this is pretty common. I’m actually engaged in a legal dispute in the real world with a guy who is totally convinced that he’s the victim. So am I. What does that say about us?

    • Having sat jury duty once for a similar group, this is why we have the Judicial System to help mediate disputes.

      And as I type this, I was once in a position for the very same thing where someone tried to claim I was in the wrong and they were right. It was claiming I had backed up and done some significant damage to their car. As they couldn’t keep their story straight about which vehicle, had another story it was a Garbage Truck told to someone else and there was no matching damage to my car…. I let the Insurance and Legal handle the matter and mediate.

      • Got to love people like that.

    • Excellent point, Steven. I’m intrigued by your legal battle as well.

      • Well, ultra-short version is that my refrigerator leaked under my dining room carpet last year. The carpet guys we paid to fix the carpet did half the job, then disappeared. We discovered discrepancies on their bill and gross overcharges, and this, combined with their unwillingness to respond to our communications and the incompleteness of the job, led me to pursue legal action. I’ve sued the company in small claims court; the hearing is at the end of this month.

        Now, the guy I’ve been able to contact claims he’s totally innocent, and tries to blame it all on his ex-partner who is (I’m not making this up) now in prison for cutting a guy up with a knife in a domestic dispute. The problem with that is that guy #1 (the one not in prison) is owner of the company, and was the guy who wanted the check made out to him in person. So, whether it’s his fault or not, it’s his responsibility.

        All I want is a refund; the money I paid them back for a job that was not completed, and overcharged to begin with. But since guy #2 is in prison, and guy #1 has refused any sort of refund, court it is.

    • That was in the Serenity/Firefly RPG (Jayne seeing himself as the hero of his own story). Justified in most things he does, with the odd introspective episode. “It’s ain’t about you, it’s about what they need.”

  7. You pulled the Walking Dead trope of everyone zombifies.

    As to the villain, that’s a complicated piece of human nature that all revolves around perspectives and personal morals.

    I think there’s times a person knows they’re doing wrong and they just don’t care because they’re going to justify the means and circumstances no matter what.

    • Not just The Walking Dead; that’s how classic Romero zombies work as well.

  8. So everyone who dies zombifies – even, from say, being hit by a car? That’s… odd.

    • It’s fairly common in zombie stories, actually.

  9. Haha! Gene’s final revenge!

    • Yes indeed. It’s poetic, isn’t it?

  10. I did not see this one coming. Very nice. Can’t wait for the next strip!

    • Awesome! I thought everyone was going to see it coming, so this is a nice surprise.

      • Well, I mentioned it like two weeks ago…but yeah…

        • I think one other person did too.

  11. I totally didn’t see that coming. Glad I’m not the only one. Turning no matter if you are bitten or not is way scary. You are infected and there is nothing you can do but hope you are natually immune. Good luck with that.

    Good call Dave!

    • Oh and I love how the red follows up to Gene’s mouth. Looks like a chunk of flesh being pulled from the bad guys neck like so much melted cheese. awesome!

      • I redrew that about ten times to try to get that effect; I’m glad it looks like what I wanted it to.

    • Interesting that you bring up natural immunity. That’s another thing people can make predictions about. Is it possible? Who’s immune. Fun!

  12. From the comments what I deduce is that the “really” bad guys know that they are in fact “bad” unless there just really dumb. Jerk people are the ones that think they are heroic when they are not, but they are not necessarily evil they are just jerks.

    • That sounds about right.

  13. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xyhVO-SWfM

    Zombies that discriminate.

    • That’s hilarious right there.

  14. When I first looked at this strip, I laughed like crazy! I thought “Revenge!”
    Now, Ted will act like the doctor, From awhile back by thinking the zeds as not a threat and the nurse will freak out and shoot gene, I think, that would be cool.

    • Heck yeah! Revenge is right.

    • I don’t see that at all. For starters, Barb doesn’t have a gun. And Ted? He wanted to kill Jeff when he got bitten, and nearly killed Barb when they met her. There’s no way that he’s going to underestimate the threat.

  15. Dave I have a question for u that everyone here might be wondering…. What made u start a web comic series about LEGOs and zombies?

    • I wanted to do a stop-motion, but just didn’t have the patience, so I decided on a comic instead. I’ve always been a bit fan of both zombies and LEGO, so it seemed like a great way to combine two of my loves.

    • good question!!

  16. I’m catching up on the backlog of comics to read and it wouldn’t surprise meat all if he simply breathed in some zombie germs because they were in a hospital full of zombies that don’t give a rat’s arse about disinfection and cleanliness and would naturally have left infection germs all over the place that Gene there would have been more than likely to have picked up or inhaled somehow. So it’s no surprise to me at all that he turned into a zombie. I would also think that natural immunity would not necessarily mean that he would be immune after he dies or is killed. 😀