Episode 435: Flashback, Interrupted

Zombie Cliche Lookout: The Pause Button

As you’re probably pretty well aware at this point, many of my zombie cliches are pulled from all sorts of sources, and some of them have nothing to do with zombies or even horror. This is one of those times. Of course, zombie stories pull their tropes and cliches from all over the place, so I think it still counts.

Flashbacks are a funny thing in stories. When they work, they’re fantastic. They give us back story, inform us on a character and why they work the way they do, and they do it all without a bunch of boring, clunky exposition. And when they don’t work, they’re painful distractions that are neither necessary nor interesting. Either way, when they get lengthy, a funny thing can happen: we can forget that we’re watching something that happened before the “real” story actually started.

That’s why we sometimes get pulled back to the present. There’s some interruption in the narrative that pulls us away from the past for a not-so-gentle reminder of when and where these events work against the main narrative.

About this Episode:

No, that’s not the same photo of Sam with different zooms, it’s actually three different images (of the twenty or so I took). I tried to go for a sort of “freeze frame” effect. I don’t know how well that works in a comic, but there you go.

Discussion Question: Complete Back Stories

Here’s a simple one that ties in pretty well with where we’re going in the comic right now: how much of the back story do you like filled in?

This is something I discuss with my wife from time to time. I like to keep the back stories very vague, to leave things open to interpretation. My wife, on the other hand, often feels ripped off when these things are fleshed out.

So where do you stand?


Foolish Lego

The master at work, now this is a really, really nice effect! It really builds up the tension because usually in the movies… this is where things go wrong… Well done!

I stand in the middle concerning your discussion question. I’m always thinking about the same thing in my comic. My stand is that the writer always should know more than the reader… but the reader shouldn’t completely be left in the dark. Sometimes giving subtle hints into the past and when the story asks for it, give a lot more information…(if it doesn’t fit in the story I feel a long flashback can disrupt too much) In a movie or book I do like it if in the end I can tie things together and all is clear, but this is a continuous story so that makes it more difficult to decide how much back story to give. A good thing of backstories is that it can make your readers “get into a character, get more engaged with him/her” (I’m not completely sure how to say this in English)… Sam, by far, now is my favorite character in your comic. 🙂


Thank you, sir!

I think you’ve got a really solid mindset here; give enough, but not too much.

Nom Zoms

First off, great affect! And second, as much stuff relevant and important (no “I drove to Taco Bell and got a burrito,” or “I passed my zombified grandma.”) in about 10 minutes or less when it comes back stories. That’s obviously my feelings on this and other people have their ideas. I feel I’m a “Short and Sweet” kind of person.



Short and sweet works. You maintain your focus on the main story.


I haven’t had a chance to post much because Wednesday and Friday have been pretty busy, but I just noticed a typo alert in the description for today’s episode.

Zombie Cliche Lookout: “why they work they way they do” –> “why they work the way they do” – change the first bolded word for the second! 😀


Thank you, Dave1 Now if you could just go back to Episode 433 and correct that build–>built typo I pointed out for you to get, that would be great! 😉

You know, you probably should do a reread of your commentary for the episodes and articles some day and see if there’s anything else that needs corrections! 😀 Perhaps you’ll even get around to updating the character bios! 🙂


I’ll fix that now.

And yeah, I’ve been pretty lax in the comments lately. Work and life has been pretty darn busy.


I can go either way on the back stories. I like enough to understand the characters’ motivation; but I also like it in dribs and drabs, like when it illuminates a character’s choice (when you slap your forehead and say “NOW I get it!”). I like a lot of continuity and long story arcs; so that makes sense. I don’t like getting a long, involved back story all at once. As far as I am concerned, if a story is going to have a long back story, it may have started with it.

I think that Joss Whedon handled it perfectly in Firefly (and he’s doing a damned fine job with Agents of SHIELD, too- althouh he’s less involved with the day-to-day running of the show).

In all, I think you’re doing a bangup job, Dave, considering how much you’re flying it by the zseat of your pants.


Hah, thank you sir.

I haven’t checked out Agents of Shield at all. Seems like people are still on the fence about it, and Whedon’s involvement isn’t as high as I’d prefer (that is, running the damn show).


First, I just wanted to say that I was recently informed of your comics existence, so for the last few days, I’ve been catching up. I’ve got to say, love the work! The story is great, and the photography is excellent! Keep up the good work.

Second, I’m one of those all-or-nothing kind of people when it comes to back stories. I must know the entire history of any character I create, and I feel much the same with characters I read or watch. I love having intimate knowledge off all my favorites.


That is very, very cool. Unfortunately 30 bucks puts it well outside BotD’s operating budget 🙂

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