Episode 469: Payback

Photo of author



Zombie Cliche Lookout:

They say no good deed goes unpunished, and like all things, I’d imagine that rule goes double in the middle of the zombie apocalypse. And if that deed isn’t quite as good as you might think it is, the punishment is likely going to be all the more severe. That’s a strange thing that seems to happen in horror stories. There’s a sense of moral balance. The bad guys, be they zombies, vampires, or psychotic killers, are certainly evil, but the focus is more on the ethical issues of the victims.

It’s pretty perverse, at least for the most people. “Assholes” get it the worst (remember Steve from the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead?), but it seems as though anyone guilty of a minor ethical violation is fair game. So don’t have sex or cut in line if you happen to be a character in a horror story, or you will be murdered horrifically.

About this Episode:

I had originally planned to have Emma stay right where she was throughout the episode, and gradually get closer and closer to her face. I suppose that was okay, but it wasn’t terribly visually interesting (and it’s a trick I’m sure I’ve used a few times now). So, to mix things up a bit, I had her pace around a bit, which also gave her the opportunity to end the episode with the gun pointed right at Sam.

Discussion Question: Cursing

By and large, I try to keep Bricks of the Dead pretty PG-13. There’s some blood and gore, and some mild language, but that’s about it. That’s always been a pretty arbitrary decision on my part, and to by honest I’m not even sure where it came from. I suppose I figured that, since I was using LEGO, I should keep the language fairly accessible and non-offensive.

The question is, does it work? Is it appropriate? Or should these characters be dropping f-bombs left, right, and center?

30 thoughts on “Episode 469: Payback”

  1. Tough call here Dave, I mean I’m sure there have been plenty of occasions in the comic already that have warranted the odd F/C bomb. I can see the use of them adding to characters feelings in many scenarios, but its a hard thing to suddenly change your approach now. Maybe the use of the odd **** would be a happy medium?!

    • Oh, I don’t think I’ll change anything, for no other reason that the odd transition you mention.

  2. (From her point of view)… She does have a point here, Sam must really look like a monster to her… and who knows, maybe he is becoming a monster…

    I see what you mean about the F-words… In my own comic I even hesitated about using the words “darn” and “damn”, because I don’t really know how they are perceived in the US and UK for example. (I always wonder about the word sh*t and how some countries go nuts when somebody uses it on t.v. Here in the Netherlands you can say just about anything (on t.v.) ) eventually I thought it would be okay. Because It’s all fun and games I refrain from using real profanities.
    I think Mark’s suggestion will work best Just use the occasional *** or *()%^#&% Or something like that. I don’t see any reason to go and change your ways.

    • That’s interesting about Dutch TV. In the states, “shit” isn’t allowed except on cable. So you’ll see that on The Walking Dead, but not Law and Order.

      • So is South Park in on cable only then?

        • Yessir. They might show re-runs on broadcast TV, but those are censored.

        • Aha, so that clears up some questions to me. I always wondered about that. Still It remains strange to me that this word is forbidden while you hear much worse words on your TV (I think) and the word is used everywhere in the real world.
          I had to laugh last week, I saw a re-run of a Star Trek Next Generation (That’s on broadcast tv no?) episode and Picard said: “merde”… and that’s French for… (I wonder if that would be censored too).

          Ah well, some things are as they are, I guess we Dutch have stranger things in your eyes haha 🙂

        • Now I’m thinking of Pulp Fiction and the discussion between Travolta and S L Jackson.
          The last time I was in Amsterdam I met some Americans who told me that to them it was like a “Disney park for adults”.

  3. I don’t really care if anyone drops an F-bomb where it’s appropriate, but if you want to keep the comic PG-13, by all means do so.

    F-bombs themselves are a mostly verbal by nature. There are verbal means of swearing that don’t insult people’s sexual orientation or make derogatory remarks about it and if you can use swearing that doesn’t sound like it’s an F-bomb version then you might want to consider using it the next time you come across a situation where it fits.

    If it fits into the storyline and doesn’t involve throwing insults directly at people then it could be okay to use, in other words.

    • Yeah, I’ve always found the f-word pretty harmless. It’s certainly not as insulting as some of the terms you’re describing.

  4. As a personal preference I try to avoid foul language in whatever I watch and read. I can see how some characters would benefit from it and be more in character but still not wanting to see it.

    • Good to know. I have gotten similar feedback from others in the past.

  5. My personal interpretation of her remarks so far:

    Panel one: (You’re sorry?) … that Abe thought he could gain control over you and use your pain to make you someone we could trust?

    Panel 2: (We brought you here.) … because we were down a member when someone else we haven’t mentioned yet died and wanted to see if you were man enough to fill his shoes.

    Panel 3: (We saved you.) … so Abe could bring you into our group as a valued and useful member, and hopefully prevent you from becoming just another zombie to kill off.

    Panel 4: (And because of you my family is dead.) .. Because silly ol’ Abe figured you were an expert with a loaded gun and now he made us kill our family to save ourselves.

    Just my interpretation, take it with the proverbial grain of salt! 😀

    • Hah, nice!

  6. I like that it’s PG-13 because I occasionally share it with my kids.

    • Excellent point, Kim. I’m glad BotD is more sharable.

  7. Mark and Foolish made interesting points about the F words.

    I guess is “#*@” or logo (like skulls,…) makes things easier for a PG13 rate because it’s the reader’s job too put those “signs” into words. Moreover signs in bubbles are kinda cool visually.

    • I’ve never really been a fan of it myself. I considered using it in an episode a while back, but opted to re-write the scene in order to avoid it. I think it can work just fine; it’s just not my preference.

      • The choice is yours as it’s your comic ^^

  8. I just re-read today’s episode adding F-bombs in every panel… lol, it turned out quite comical.
    This question reminds me of the book I’m reading now – Under the dome by Stephen King. One of the characters is very strict about profanity and he’s using the word “cotton pickers” or “cotton picking” in lieu of the classic F-bombs. Except for one scene (so far, I have not yet finished the book) where he drops one because he’s just so mad and can’t help it. I have to say the effect was rather convincing and it really added something to the scene.
    I think it’s fair to use it with moderation, it can definitely improve the intensity of the storytelling when used appropriately. The PG13 argument is understandable but on the other hand a lot of material discussed here is oriented towards a much more mature audience which is a bit paradoxical.
    Bottom line, I would be in favor of a moderate use of profanity because I think it fits the subject material… but that’s just my 2c.

    • I should to an alternate, R-Rated episode like that one day. Just make it ludicrously over-the-top.

  9. Can you please add some military soldiers or a military character?

    • Heh, I’ve got one of the Lego minisets with the Green Army Man from “Toy Story”, it gave me a chuckle to think of him showing up in a comic!

      Regarding cussing in the comic, another thought that amused me was having someone like the old prospector from “Blazing Saddles” show up and give a display of genuine Frontier gibberish. Were there any any appropriate minifigs in the “Lone Ranger” sets? (That’s the most recent sets I can think of that might.)

      • I actually haven’t gotten any of the Lone Ranger sets. My LEGO budget has been completely non-existant. It’s a damn shame, because I love western stuff and would really like to do a western mini-series one day.

    • I’ve had a few requests for military characters. I’m kind of torn on it. I really want the comic to focus on regular people, but it would be interesting to show how wide spread the outbreak is, and the government’s military response to it.

      I need to give it more thought.

      • So military people are not regular people? Interesting. Guessing you are thinking of the over the top Special Forces types which are the minority. The majority of the military are support troops who while combat trained and often saw some action in the recent wars, mostly have the same types of jobs as civilians (Radio DJ is a military occupation).

        If you want to include “regular people” but include a military member I would suggest a National Guardsman (or woman) or a Reservist called up to help deal with the situation and now with there unit wiped out trying to get back to their family/lovedones/”regular life” This makes the character military but also more “regular people”.

        • Yeah, “regular people” was a poor choice of words. I should have said civilians.

        • You’re kinda limited on portraying any military, since there aren’t many minifigs of them, except the few I already mentioned, in the “Lone Ranger” (post Civil War) and “Toy Story” (green army men, and those are ALL green).

          I’d be willing to loan you my “Toy Story” mini-set, if you think you could get some use from it, keeping in mind it’s just one minifig with walkie, base for standing, and a Jeep, all in green. (It was a bag set I found at Target a while back.)

        • That’s very generous, Mattexian, thank you. I actually do have some military-style torsos that I could use.

  10. Dave, I think it works just fine with the relatively clean language. I swear alot, personally, but I don’t think it’s necessary to include foul language. Keep up the good work.