Episode 608: Backstop

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Over-Penetration

When it comes to dispatching zombies, guns can be incredibly effective. Provided you’re able to hit the brain and the calibre and load are sufficient, a gun can take out a zombie with only a couple of pounds of pressure. Of course, there are an awful lot of drawbacks. Perhaps the most important is that marksmanship is a skill that many people simply don’t possess, rendering the firearm significantly less effective, and greatly reducing the advantage of range. Furthermore, they require ammo and need to be maintained. A broken or empty gun is of very little use against the zombies. They’re also very loud. This can cause a number of issues, first, the noise can draw in more of the undead. Second, it might deafen the user temporarily, causing them to potentially miss auditory clues of nearby zombies and putting them at further risk.

Finally, and clearly most relevant to this episode, a bullet does not simply stop when it hits its target. Depending on a variety of factors (velocity, density of the target material, etc.), the round can pass right through and hit whatever happens to be behind it.

About this Episode:

Poor Ted is having a hell of a time here. Not only did he get a mouthful of zombie gore a couple of episodes ago, now he’s been shot by Clark. Not intentionally, of course, but that doesn’t really make him any less shot.

Discussion Question: Infection Vectors

So Ted is trouble from two different angles right now. We know that bites and scratches from zombies cause an infection that kills, and from that perhaps we can assume this is linked to some sort of fluid transfer. With that in mind, do you think ingesting zombie fluids, as Ted did, would be sufficient to infect him? What about being struck with a bullet that has just passed through a zombie?

73 thoughts on “Episode 608: Backstop”

  1. Ingestion depends — many viruses are killed by enzymes or acid in the mouth and digestive tract. As for the bullet wound, it looks like poor Ted got it in the liver…

    • Exactly what I was thinking about ingestion. But what happens if Ted had some sort of open sore in his mouth?

      • hey Dave will ted is going to turn in zombie now i will miss them

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  2. Typo alert:

    “Not only did her get a mouthful of zombie gore a couple of episodes ago, not he’s been shot by Clark.”


    “not he’s” not–>now 😀

    If that sentence wasn’t so badly written, I’d say it’s funny to read! 😉

    • Fixed both; thanks.

  3. Dave, are you aware that in order to have hit Ted in that manner with a bullet means it had to stop, make a 90-degree turn in multiple planes, defy all known laws of physics, and still manage to hit Ted in the liver whilst he was lying on the floor? People can’t magically get up super-quickly, I’d say it’s a lot more likely that blood spatter is a result of something the attacking zombie did rather than anything Clark fired off! 😀

    • It leaves Clark with the rather terrifying prospect of having to shoot Ted before he dies and reanimates as a zombie. I wonder how much of his zombie knowledge he’s going to recollect right now? 😀 Because otherwise Friday’s episode will have Ted one step closer to being a zombie and a threat to the entire group! 😉

      • I mean next Friday’s episode, not this Friday’s, since we’re quite obviously on it right now! 😀 Three episodes next week should be more than enough to turn Ted into a zombie! 😉

    • It might be hard to tell from the photography, but Clark’s gun and Ted’s body line up perfectly. Besides which, Ted isn’t exactly just going to stay laying on the ground; he’s struggling for his life, and is going to be pushing back against the zombies, just like he did in the previous episode.

  4. You can’t kill Ted! You’ve already gone beserk on Brent, but Ted can’t die!

    • When it comes to zombies, unfortunately everyone is fair game.

      • Maybe, but it doesn’t mean everybody has to die. I’m probably in denial, because it’s obvious that Ted is gonna die from the wound or from the zombie blood latched on the bullet. However we don’t know very well the rules of your zombies, so who knows?

        • whats your problem and where are u come from

        • Very true; it might be only the saliva that’s poisonous. There’s a lot of possibilities.

  5. In my opinion, I think Ted’s going to kick the bucket judging from the location of his gunshot wound; not really due to zombie blood on the bullet but rather Sepsis, which is infection of the blood.

    The movie Three Kings provides a good visual example, as seen in this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8j4GIRYbZw

    • I think that movie is on Netflix; I’ll have to check it out one of these days.

  6. oh no no no ted no u can’t die

    • Everyone dies sooner or later.

      • what all actors gonna die why

  7. what the fuck clark what u done now u gonna pay for his wife and kids

    • I’m sure Clark is thinking along the same lines.

  8. hey Dave nice comic but why shot ted or he gonna turn into zombie or we miss them

    • Why? Because it illustrates the way tragedy can sneak in, even as people fight tooth and nail to stave it off.

  9. The five Fs of disease transfer and the fact Ted was covered in zed gore means that Ted had multiple openings to be infected: mouth (iingestion or breathing), nose, eyes, bullet wound, and any possible breaks in the skin from all that carpentry work. So yes bullet transfer pretty possible.

    As to the bullet being able to hit Ted, while not likely it is realistic. A ricochet bullet can take a few bounces starting with deflecting off the bones in the first target’ s body. That zed was hit three times so chances went up. In the end “TTruth is stranger than ficction” as long as you don’t use that rule to often.

    • im not talking to u im talking to Dave

      • Let’s keep it civil. He wasn’t responding to you, he was posting his own comment.

    • Well said, RT. Ted’s got the deck stacked against him here.

      • please Dave i wanna be actor in comic tag me in do something

  10. Sure, Ted is infected, I mean he just took a ton of gore to the face an episode ago, though maybe you could do it like the Zombie Hunters (another webcomic) and you can be infected, you just have to die to turn. The bullet in his liver will be problematic and I’m sure poor Ted is going to die/turn, but how you get to this result is purely up to you.

    Also, don’t you love it when the zombies stop besieging people so they can have a few uninterrupted minutes of important character developing time?

    • Even zombies have to respect plot points.

  11. Also, the bullet would not have infected Ted on it’s own, as the speed and heat produced by a bullet would burn/wipe off any bits of zombie that they may have possibly picked up, unless they were holo-points which would not have passed through the zombie due to the fact that they “mushroom” out when they hit something. They are meant to stop a person, not kill them, which is why they are used by most Police forces.

    • That’s interesting about the bullet not picking up any pathogens; I’d never heard that before. I loosely based this plot point on the “Son of a Gun” myth.

      • I was also about to say Ted goodbye but I have to say this “self-disinfectant” bullet idea is interesting… so maybe Ted isn’t toast after all?

        • yeh its so sad to say ted goodbye

        • He does still have a gunshot wound and a mouth full of zombie gore. Either way, he’s having a rough day.

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  14. u guys don’t like me

  15. please Dave tag me in this and u see i gonna kill this zombies and i save all actors

    • He, if I was going to write in anyone to be a badass zombie killer that saves everyone, it would be me. But that’s just not my style.

  16. Dave how i can save this picture
    of zombies

    • Right click, view background image. When that loads, right click and save it.

  17. over here or over there

    • You need to give me some context on these comments, man. I have no idea what you’re referring to.

      • u call me a man alright

        • Are you a woman? It’s pretty hard to tell by most people’s usernames.

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    • Eh?

  19. no Dave its not working i trying to hard but nothing u try on your computer

    • It works fine on my computer.

      • I’ll try to remember to put a download link to it in the next comic write-up.

        • thank u

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  21. Since most of you youngsters didn’t grow up during the heyday of the AIDS panic in the 80s like I did you probably didn’t get the education we got on infection vectors. (unless of course your a healthcare professional) I agree that swallowing infected material probably wont cause infection due to the stomach acids. Hes much more likely to get the bug though getting gore in his eyes or nose. There is always the possibility of an open sore in the mouth of course.

    I agree that the bullet is an unlikely vector based on the “Son of Gun” myth. Although if you want to split hairs, the Mythbusters used an period authentic black powder rifle to test the myth but a firearm using a modern cartridge and smokeless propellant might provide a less hostile environment for microbe hitchhikers.

    It does look like poor Ted caught it in the liver, which means that hell bleed out long before the pathogen gets him. Its one of life’s supreme ironies in my opinion that of your internal organs the liver has the greatest ability to regenerate and to repair itself, but it also bleeds like CRAZY if you poke a hole in it. Ive seen animals shot with an arrow in the liver expire just as quickly as animals shot in the heart with a firearm.

    I’m sorry that Ted looks like he’s finished. Hes the first character were going to loose who has family that’s also part of the story. I know its fiction, but the only thing I can imagine that’s more horrifying than loosing a child is knowing your dying and that you wont be around to protect your children.

    • Opps, I didn’t mean to say “more” horrifying. I means to say that’s its close. Loosing a kid is way worse then dying yourself under any circumstance.

      • Once again, Damage, some excellent information here, especially in regards to the liver being so easy to cause a bleed-out.

        And you’re right on the money regarding Ted and his family. As a husband and father myself, this is nightmare fuel.

    • you right i don.t know what happend to his kids and his wife who protect that

      • Vicky and the kids ran to the basement. As for who will protect them; that’s hard to say.

        • Dave, why are you so cruel? The next episodes are going to be heart breaking.

        • I can’t help it; I’m a monster.

        • You might not be able to help it, but you could still help them! 😉 The thing is, everybody’s gotta die of something, someday! 😀

  22. hey Dave what about his family and his kids and wife they will be okay or dead

  23. I know you’re limited by the expressions that Lego provides on its heads, but Ted’s reaction to being shot just made me laugh (flashback to Emmet in The Lego Movie).

    I’m a terrible person.

  24. Poor Ted 🙁

    • hey Dave why ted has shot he gonna die or he turn into a zombie

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    I would like to share a nice video compilation of Bullet Impact Slowmo.


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