Episode 539: Bloody Mess

Zombie Cliche Lookout: I’m Done For

In the early stages of the zombie apocalypse, people will often not know that a zombie bite is a death sentence, but those who last for a little while tend to learn this lesson pretty quickly. After a few weeks of zombie apocalypse, anyone still standing understands how this works. That means that anyone who gets bitten knows that they are, for lack of a better word, completely screwed. People react to this a lot of different ways, but the two classic examples are brave resignation, and deception.

Let’s look at the second one first. In those cases, no one else knows that the victim has been infected, and the bite is in an area that can be hidden. For some reason, this seems to be on the forearm about 99% of the time. They keep things quiet for one reason or another – not always evil reasons – until they finally die and reanimate, leaving a nasty surprise for their friends. Those who choose the other route understand what’s happening to them, and simply want to help our their fellows as much as possible before they go, sometimes even choosing to go out in a suicidal blaze of glory.

About this Episode:

Generally speaking, I don’t keep blood around in the comic. If there’s some blood, we see if briefly, and then it more or less disappears. I do, however, make exceptions. This generally happens when the blood has a meaning that’s a little deeper than simply showing gore because that’s an expectation of the genre. Situations, for instance, where a survivor is injured and possibly infected.

Other News:

Two items here today, both brief. First of all, the contest prizes were shipped off to our awesome winners yesterday. Hopefully they all arrive shortly. Second, for those of you following my YouTube channel (and you should be), you may have noticed a bit of a lapse with my Let’s Play series. Sorry about that. I’ve had some technical difficulties, but hope to be back to normal next week.

Discussion Question: Infection Times

How long should it take, on average, between someone getting infected by a zombie, and then dying and reanimating? How much of a variance should there be? Should we expect healthier people to linger on longer than average? This is one where there doesn’t seem to be any hard and fast rule in the genre. Even within the same movie there are often a lot of differences in the time frame between infection and reanimation.



Zombie Cliche Lookout, second paragraph, second sentence: effected–>infected 😀

When a virus is transmitted to a new host, it’s called an infection. Neither effected nor it’s related similar word, affected, really belong here, not in this context, anyway.

Same section, last sentence: “Those who chose” chose–>choose

Chose is the past tense of choose, if your tenses include possible current and future tenses, choose is the right word here. 😀

Other news, second sentence: where–>were I myself find the ‘h’ key and others getting in the way all the time! 😀

Discussion Question, after the third comma: them–>then

We already know who it is (someone), now there’s multiple (them) people all of a sudden? 😉


Fixed all, except “where > were”. I’m not sure on that one; can you explain why “where” is wrong in this context?


Hmmm never thought about how long the infection should take.
Thinking about this I’m reminded of the rage zombies in 28 Days Later/Weeks Later. They got infected almost instantaneously, but in The Walking Dead(In the comic anyway) it took a man at least hours before dying and coming back. I say the rate it takes to die and come back depends on the severity of the wound.
If bit in the neck or on a major artery I say it’d take no more then a minute. But somewhere like on a hand I say it’s take longer.


Excellent point on the 28 X Later series. In that case, the series has given this a lot of thought – check out the bonus features on the DVDs. They made it nigh instant as a way to make the rapid spread of the virus more believable.

Shifted Beef

As hackerkyle said, it would depend on the severity of the wound. A place with major blood flow such as the neck and behind the knee, and position closer to the heart. A man who gets bitten on the toe, or the zombie’s teeth just graze him, will take hours, if not days, while the guy who gets bitten on the arm or face will turn much sooner, perhaps in a matter of minutes.
Then comes the issue of different people turning faster. You would think people who excersize


Another excellent point, especially in most zombie stories where the character has to die in order to turn, a more serious would would certainly expedite that process.


Actually, a place with major blood flow would be better, provided that translates to the wound bleeding a lot, and it may prevent infection altogether.

How is this so? I remember reading about a British sailor who was badly slashed in the face while trying to board a ship. Needless to say, he was disfigured and disabled the rest of his life (I think it took off half his jaw), but he did not die of infection as would have been expected from such a wound in that day and age. Why? Well, the blood kept pouring out, carrying with it any pathogens and preventing them from entering his blood stream and settling in as infection. As long as he didn’t bleed so much he bled to death, the foreign elements (bacteria, viruses, etc) were not allowed in.

This idea tends to get supported in zombie lore (think World War Z and The Walking Dead) where a speedy amputation of an extremity can prevent the zombie pathogen from getting into the blood stream of the rest of the body. If the amputation works, there’s no particular reason why profuse bleeding might not also…


Wow, that’s a really interesting story. Do you have a source? I’d love to read more.


By the way, I love how Brent keeps a conpletely relaxed face even though he just got bit and is death sentenced.


Yikes. I hope Brent’s just saying he pissed his pants; the number of survivors is dwindling as it is.

As for the discussion question, a lot of factors would come into play if I were designing a zombie. These include the wound’s proximity to an artery or major blood vessel (closer = faster infection), how well the wound is initially treated (penicillin may slow down, but not stop infection), how healthy the victim’s immune system is (healthy = slower to change), the victim’s heart rate (panic leads to faster heart rate which pumps infected blood across the body faster), and even the victim’s genetic makeup (a few may end up as carriers, and fewer may actually be immune altogether).


You bring up a good point about the number of survivors in the comic. Are there too few now? Are we close to that point?


What I like about the 28 Days/Weeks later virus is that it’s more of a Sanity virus. I haven’t come across another zombie series with that angle with the virus, and how it’s presented really does show off just how infectious the virus is.
In the first movie, Frank gets one drop in the eye and is gone in a minute. In the sequel, the kids father kisses his wife and(From how I remember) is gone in a few seconds.


Yes indeed; the infection rate is terrifyingly fast in that series, which is one of the things that makes it so damn scary.


I think he means the “where” in the second sentence of “Other News”

First of all, the contest prizes ,where shipped off to our awesome winners yesterday.


Well virus is one thing but what about chemical reanimation? Return of the Living Dead the zeds get created by being exposed to an old Army experiment. Reanimation took several hours and only effected the living in massive doses.

On the other hand I always thought 28 days later was too fast. Instant spread through bodily fluids from basically PCP raging people would probably move a lot quicker especially in the early stages which would just be a massive combination of riot/home invasions/assaults. World War Z had a better spread and infection timeline.


It was unrealistically fast, but for some reason it worked for me. I guess there’s just a large degree of suspension of disbelief we have to get used to in this genre that it didn’t get to me too much.


Hmm, you actually fixed all of them so I don’t know what you’re talking about? 😉

I messed up the post a little with formatting, forgot to hit enter to move text to the next line but you seem to have figured it out regardless! 😀


It turned out I was looking in the wrong place for the where/were typo. Someone pointed it out for me.


Also, regarding the comic itself, what are the chances that’s just blood from where the cleaver hit Brent and not zombie damage? 😀 This brings up an interesting question: If blood is bleeding out and a drop of zombie blood mixes with the bleeding, should that make the character infected, or, because it’s bleeding, not make them infected? 😀

I don’t know if zombie blood would cause an infection if it hit an open wound that’s bleeding and causing most of the zombie blood to be pushed out, but it’s also not unheard of to have people get infections from open wounds. So how should it be interpreted when examining open wounds in the zombie apocalypse?


I think normal rules would apply here. If the infected blood was washed away with a gushing wound, it wouldn’t cause an infection with the victim.


Now here’s a problem for you Dave…….if Brent dies and then turns…..you have to find a zombie head with shades on 😀
Perhaps you should have someone else finish him off….Brent is too cool to be a zombie


Yeah, I’m kicking around a few different approaches on how to deal with Brent’s infection. Perhaps he’ll take off the sunglasses at some point.


@Dexscotland: I don’t necessarily feel that having shades on would affect the sort of zombie that appears. Since zombies are slumped over shambling undead corpses, it’s logical to think that things like sunglasses would just naturally fall off! 😀


Yeah, they probably wouldn’t stay on very long. I believe I do have a zombie head with glasses though.


“For some reason, this seems to be on the forearm about 99% of the time.”

Defensive wounds? People defend themselves with their arms.

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