Episode 638: All Bark

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Tough Versus Polite

We’ve talked a lot in this comic about the importance of working well with other people in a zombie survival situation, mostly because I think it’s both really important and also something that’s often ignored in zombie fiction. There’s a classical – almost cliche – notion of the lone survivor battling both the zombies and the elements to win through the day. It’s something that a lot of people fantasize about, even fetishize. And it is, of course, absolutely stupid.

Look, I get it. It’s a romantic notion to imagine testing yourself against extreme situations, and somehow succeeding. And there are plenty of awesome stories out there that use this trope well. But at the end of the day, it’s almost impossible to survive on your own. And the longer you survive, the more you’ll need other people.

The thing about other people is that they’re tricky. Everyone has their own needs and desires, as well as level of patience for various things. You can’t treat everyone the same way if you want to hold together a functional group for any period of time. That requires a good degree of both empathy and tact, with a good helping of patience sprinkled on top.

About this Episode:

I really wanted Tara’s dad to call Sam a “hippie”, or something to that effect in the second panel, but thought better of it. Maybe he could have also told Sam to get a haircut and stay off his lawn.

Discussion Question: Complementary Skills

I think we’ve all got a pretty good idea of what our strengths and weaknesses are. Or, as good an idea as possible, since people are often pretty poor judges of themselves who often over or underestimate things. Regardless, let’s assume we have a good understanding of what we’re good and bad at. With that in mind, what would you be looking for in other people joining your group in a zombie survival situation?



in terms of short term and long term heres short: someone whos a good shot, anyone who is a stealthy, a person good with tools (to make stuff and repair stuff), and a fighter. and 4 long term: + the other people, a hunter, a doc, a mechanic, some soldiers, and construction worker (4 building things)


People with useful gifts is of course a must have in your group, but I’ll add that those people be a lot more usefull if they are willing and can actually teach what makes them important to others. For 2 reasons :

1/ you’ll hate to lose your doc if no one else in your group can make a proper bandage…

2/ you don’t want this gifted person to play it solo and keep what she knows for herself like some kind of leverage.

So maybe I’ll put altruistic over gifted as something to look for in newcomers in my group.


Quick double check OK I am not on Match.com but will try and answer the question?

Impossible to answer as stated. Request additional variables. You did not state the size of the group which is VERY important. The larger the group the more varied the jobs and the varing the importance of those jobs. Take the Doctor mentioned above. If your group is 10 or less a Doctor is overkill. A paramedic will do. Your group is 500 then a single Doctor will need a Nurse and/or Physician’s assistant and probably more. Think like this when was the last time you saw a Doctor all ALONE in the operating room on Grey’s Anatomy?

Next need to know the general living conditions of the group. Are they set in a base camp in the woods or living on a farm on the Praire or hold up in a apartment building in a city or a roving band of nomads living in converted battle wagons. An Auto Mechanic will find her position in each group very different.

How much of a threat are the zeds? Does everyone need to be a stone cold killer like the Walking Dead group or is there a level of safety which allows some to never even see a zed.

OK go for it.


He almost shot you. But dont worry he means well 🙂

My Fantasy Zombie Survival Football Team (FZSFT come on internet, make this into a thing or a meme D:) would no doubt include people who actually know how to work.

Im not talking about people who are survialists, or good at one particular skill. Im talking about people who are willing to learn new skills to survive.

People with a good outlook who are out to help others rather than themselves.

People who wont stab you in the back the monent its turned.

And of course one or two idiots who are the conplete opposit of what I just mentioned. Total rats and jerk faces who couldnt board a door to save their lives.

Cause its a zombie invasion. Somewhere somehow you will be required to trip someone and get away while the horde eats them.

Given the choice between a decent team mate and the guy you know will lock you out of your own safe house just to have the pleasure of eating the last twinkie on earth…who would you choose to trip?


Thinking you meant to be funny but in seriousness if people know you have people around just to sacrifice guess who gets sacrificed next?

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