Episode 374: …Meh

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Apathy

One of the more challenging aspects of surviving the zombie apocalypse is going to be the mental battle of coming to terms with the way the world works now. Trying to process it all is going to take it’s toll, and as we mentioned before, it’s going to completely break some people. Fortunately, we have a lot of weapons at our disposal to combat these insane stresses. Some of these coping mechanisms are healthy, like unwinding with loved ones or maintaining a fitness regimen. Others, like self-medication, are quite the opposite.

And then there’s apathy. It’s a relatively easy method to use: just stop caring. You won’t be making any friends with this technique, but you might just be able to preserve your sanity a bit longer.

About this Episode:

I really like the subtle reflection I got of Inez in the forth panel. I liked it so much, in fact, that I bumped Brent’s speech bubble up quite a bit just to make room for it.

Which is  weird, because I’m normally spending so much time fighting reflections. I’ve also grown quite font of the tissue box in the background here; I think it looks quite cool.

Discussion Question:

Here’s another suggestion from the comments/forum: Can zombies survive the cold weather?

I quite like this question, because it’s something I’ve seen come up a few times in zombie stories, most memorably in the comic version of The Walking Dead where the dead froze during the cold winter. I quite like this approach. With no blood flow, it makes sense that the dead would freeze if temperatures got low enough. After all, when’s the last time you read the description of a zombie that included words like “warm” or “hot” (unless they are very recently deceased, of course).

47 thoughts on “Episode 374: …Meh”

  1. uuh im not sure because i live in a subtropical climate

    • Yeah, you won’t get much benefit from this one.

  2. Noooo!!! Why do I have to leave? The suspense will kill me!

    • Hey Dave, possible discussion question: How would you find things out like a vaccine against getting the Z-bug or whatever you want to call it (infected, I guess) or where other strongholds and survivors are if there was no news service? No ones gonna walk through distroyed cities and towns ringing the bell or knocking on the door saying “Hi, are there any humans???” There’s a possibility that people hidden without a radio or something could miss the anounment that the world was cured, just like soldiers in the Phillipines. Years after the end of WW2 they found out it was over. But this is just a thought and I’m curious what others think!

      • *Infection, destroyed. Typos, Typos, Typos! Typos everywhere!!! Sorry!!!

        • Awesome question; I’m going to toss this into the forum so I don’t forget it.

    • You have to leave? Where are you going?

      • Camp. But I just got back

  3. And yay, if the dead can freeze, I’m safe. Yay New England

    • I don’t think they would freeze. Maybe the a joint or two would freeze up because there’s no blood flow to heat it up? Just a thought. And in thy case, I would just snap off the limbs. Sounds gruesome, and it is. Just like zombies with their yellow, chipped teeth, gray and rotting flesh with spots missing, only showing bones, and blood dripping down their mouths. No one was eating or trying to sleep, were they? Woops. Hey Dave, how would you discribe a zombie???

      • It would all depend on the temperature. I’d think that it’d need to quite cold – well below freezing – before zeds freeze solid. You have to account for ways they might build up their temperature, such as simply friction from walking around.

        How would I describe a zombie? Do you mean physically?

        • Yes, their appearance

  4. well, i think that there are three groups of zombies, the dominent, the mediocre, and the weaklings. The weaklings, being the weaklings, would usually feed on easy, smaller things to kill, like young children, handicap’d people, and old folks. Now the mediocre zombies have an easy enough time getting by, probabily travels in groups that you see in hoardes, so as long as they stay traveling, they should get enough fat to get through the winter. Now the dominent zombies are the ones that will survive nmw

    • How do zombies get put into those groups? Age? Physical damage received?

      • well, the weaklings wont build up enough body fat for the winter, mostly because their lazy, too lazy to get a meal thats a challenge, and those zombies will die of the cold, although kid zombies and the puny zombies who just can’t no matter how hard they try they can’t get a meal. Now the mediocres actually posses the potential to hunt, most of these zombies will survive the cold. Does that clear things up a little better?

        • A bit, but not I’m wondering, do your zombie actually convert food into energy and fat?

        • we’ll naturally, zombies don’t feel things, so they wont know when they’re freezing at all, but i gan and loose fat all of the time, and its easier in the cold with more fat then with less. So it probibly doesn’t help a whole lot, but it surley gets results

  5. Question: Could the zombies you’re talking about survive having their head expand due to pressure from fluids that expand when frozen inside them? If not, they’d probably be really dead after they thawed out. But it would be really menacing if they could defrost and go roaming about as if nothing had hit them in the head afterwards.

    My thoughts are that if enough fluid buildup in their heads expands sufficiently, they’d be killed when that happened. But what happens if you had a zed that didn’t have much fluid for whatever reason and therefore survived being frozen? Very dangerous indeed! 😀

    • Great add-on question here.

      I’d think that fresher zombies would like die due to the thermal expansion of the freezing liquids, but older (read: drier) zombies would be more likely to survive.

  6. Nope. I would assume not. Human beings freeze to death fairly easily when unprotected. I’m under the impression that a zombie wouldn’t last nearly as long. Frostbite alone would probably render them immobile.

    • As for thawing out, it might be a possibility in Southern ‘snowy’ regions(areas that receive reasonably cold weather in winter), such as the Northern states, or England. But in colder areas…Nah.

      • Is this in response to BrickVoid’s add-on about fluid expansion?

      • Yeah. Forgot to mention that. I was tired. 😉

        • Oh man, I can definitely understand that.

    • To clarify here, humans freeze to death long before they’d freeze “solid”, so to speak.

      • Excellent point.

  7. Loving the tissue box!
    Re-looked at the comic after you mentioned the reflection and remembered your first post about the tissue box!
    In regards to the question, it depends on what makes people “turn”.
    If blood flow was really an issue a heart shot would be as good as a head shot, so if it is only neurons firing to control muscle then it depends on the temperature that would stop that reaction. Muscle (meat) can freeze but I’ve seen more or less bones moving once people are infected.
    Normal humans would freeze for sure, but how far removed from normal humans are the infected?

    • Thanks! I’ve really come around on my initial “I’m super lazy” thoughts.

  8. After a few more drinks, and a bit more thought, say the zombies completely take over and are the only form of life left, the next ice age takes over, all the zeds are frozen for the next thousand something odd years. The big thaw comes and the zeds become re-animated and evolution starts again with the infection (or whatever it is) as the launching point!
    Ocean life obviously will come into play, does the “infection” take hold there as well? Does something come out of the ocean that’s immune? Does some other mammal have a natural immunity? (Naked mole rats don’t get cancer!)
    Throwing it all out there!

    • This is a cool premise for a short story, Azazelego.

    • Mermaid zombies?

      • Merman apocalypse.

  9. I definitely think that the dead would freeze solid once air temperature got into the 20’s for more then 24hrs. A running river doesn’t freeze as easily as a still pond, so you could make the argument that their motion alone would make the dead harder to freeze, but sooner or later they will freeze solid. Joseeph Talluto addresses this in his “White Flag of the Dead” series. His survivors use this opportunity to clear large areas of zeds and go so far as to keep one frozen zed in a large dog run inside their compound so they con observe at what point in the spring it gets warm enough to become active again. I don’t read the Walking Dead comic (I swore of all comics back in the late 90s becasue they were getting so bad) but I actually believe that this is one of the reasons that the Walking Dead TV sereis is set in Georgia. If it were in say, Michigan, then any survivors who make it to winter could just walk across the ice to some island in a lake or river, clear out any dead already on the island, barricade the bridges if there are any, and set up shop.

    • You’re absolutely right, Damage, Michigan is the greatest state in the union.

      All kidding aside, you make some really good points here. I completely agree about their movement slowing the process, but not halting it.

  10. World war Z used this approach. Zombies would freeze in colder months and start to slowly defrost as spring came. This continued to be a problem well after the 10 years of zombie fighting. A certain orginization would walk over ice feilds in the winter and mark where zombies were frozen under the ice and kill a zombie if they could still see the head. I would very much hope that zombies could freeze, that would give a nice canadian like myself a nice chance of survival in the long winter months were we get -30 degree celcius weather

    • Oh, good catch here. It’s been a while since I read the book and completely forgot about this.

  11. Covered in snow and rain surely the bodies of the undead would become frozen.

    • Possibly, although if it’s raining I don’t think it’d be cold enough to freeze them.

  12. Just, meh… LOL

    • Hah, don’t miss the alt text.

  13. Well, something nobody touched on is the type of zombie where it is kind of like rabies, AKA “Rage Virus.”

    Of course that may be simply because we all know how that would go down. I.E. They may seem to tolerate it “better” than most people simply because they don’t care about little things like finger falling off due to frostbite, would continue to plod on where a normal person would lie down and drift off to a final rest as hypothermia made them drowsy, etc, but would die of exposure more or less like any normal person. ;D

    • Yeah, that’s a good point. Rage virus zeds are still alive, so they produce body heat. However, because they are still alive, they’d be susceptible to hypothermia. I’d say they’re more vulnerable.

      • Well they presumably wouldn’t know enough to bundle up, so they would fare badly despite moving around to keep their body heat up. I agree they would do very poorly compared to the actual “dead” zombies.

        • Another excellent point, Bob.

          I love nerding out to this kinds of ridiculous questions.

  14. I don’t think of zombie anatomy being anything like a humans. I’ve seen some pretty dried out corpses milling around, besides the recently eaten flesh and it eyes they are pretty much liquid free, no?
    I could see them going blind in the cold and slowed a bit but not solid. How often you see wood freeze all the way through?

    • Yeah, I imagine a lot of them would be dried out pretty well.

  15. Zombies can survive the cold…. But they wont be able to move. Maybe zombies in the cold be weaker than the normal ones.