Episode 654: Beating the Crowd

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Establishing Shot with Zombies

This is yet another one of my favorite tropes in zombie fiction: showing off a location by showing all the zombies that happen to be roaming around it. It works equally well with new and existing locations, and can act as a sort of visual shorthand to show just how much trouble the characters inside are in. Only a few zombies? They’re probably okay. Hundreds, or even thousands of zombies? Well, I hope their life insurance premiums are paid up.

About this Episode:

A big thank you goes out to my son, who helped me build this set. He was pretty excited about the whole thing, although he didn’t really see the point of only building the outside entrance of the building.

Other News:

It is now November, which means it’s once again National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m going to try my hand at it again this year. I failed pretty embarrassingly last year, so this time I spent a lot more time preparing. I have a full, and very detailed outline, which I think will help a ton.

If anyone else is trying their hand at NaNoWriMo, hit me up in the comments so we can be writing buddies. I promise to do better this time around.

Discussion Question: What Do Zombies Do in Their Spare Time?

Usually when we see zombies, they’re engaged with other characters. Hunting them. Fighting them. Eating them. Getting killed by them. They’re largely defined by those other characters, which is one of the reasons they seem so otherworldly and creepy. But what do the zombies do when there’s no potential prey around? Do they just stand around? Wander? Trying to get into buildings? Keep moving to find food? Also, how does this affect our perception of what zombies are?

16 thoughts on “Episode 654: Beating the Crowd”

  1. I too am going to try my hand at writing this month! But I dont plan to actually finish the challenge. 50,000 words is well, a lot more than I have time for.

    As for zombies….I imagine they are doing something like this… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lNtxkmFpWWk

    Baring that, the whole concept of a zombie is ‘mindless monster’. There fore I imagine them just standing around until something catches their eye, like movement. If this movement or sound does not belong to something tasty and infectable, like another zombie, I imagine they just continue to follow each other until they eventually gather more zombies and make a hord. Eventually somefhing eatable gathers the hordes attention and they move in mass unison and the cycle repeats.

    • Awesome! What’s your username on there? I’m Red-Star.

  2. They’ve got to get in there so they can open up shop and pounce on unsuspecting customers looking for a bargain! 😀 This is the other reason it’s referred to as a [b]shopping maul![/b] 😀

    • By the way, Dave, is your current version of blog software not using HTML markup tags that allow bolded and other kinds of text? It’s kind of odd when I remember to put highlighting around text to accent it, only to find out it doesn’t actually work!

      • test

        • It’s working for me. Maybe it’s a rights thing? I’ll check it out.

    • Hah, that’d be a good way of doing things.

  3. I figure one thing all zombies would be doing is watch for potential prey or signs that there might be something that would get them a target. It boils down to if they have anything resembling an intellect or have any kind of mapping abilities left in their zombie brains at all as to what they do while there isn’t any prey around. Your own zombies have already demonstrated that they know the difference between prey and other zombies, in this comic. A while back, in fact, somewhere in the Second String comics if I’m not mistaken. 😀

    • Yes indeed; they can differentiate the two, although we don’t have any sense of how they do this.

  4. I know it’s not typical in TWD, and doesn’t seem to be typical here (your zombies seem very similar to TWD zombies), but I also like when “bored” zombies “revert” to habits and whatnot of their previous lives. In such a case, hungry zombies might feel compelled to head over to the ruins of their usual supermarket and wander around with shopping carts, others might feel compelled to sit at their desks in their old office buildings, etc. That sort of thing also gives an opportunity for some commentary on the things we allow to become consume-ingly important in our lives.

    • I’m always interested in that trope, but I don’t really like it for my zombies. Those sorts of actions suggest that there is some sort of memory left in the zombies, at least on some level. I want to avoid that. My zombies are very simple creatures. They sense a potential food source, and pursue it.

  5. My guess is zombies have no clue themselves on why they are here and what they are supposed to do.

    IMO they just walk straight forward, really slowly, and if a living prey get in their sight (which is as straight as the way they walk) something just switch on in their late brain and they can’t stop chasing it. Even a closer prey wouldn’t distract them… They can only focus on one thing at a time.

    I easily imagine a zombie won’t get his eyes off a puddle because of a drop of water landing into it every five seconds… Until he gets submerged…

    Plic Ploc… (Man, I gotta use that idea in my comic!!!)

    • That is a really cool idea; you should totally use it!

  6. Doing NaNoWrimo again this year too. Same name as here. This year instead of 1667 words a day I looked at my calendar and plotted my word count based on what days I could write and what days it wasn’t gonna happen. It will be tight but should get done. Good luck to you this year.

    • I think that’s a good plan. Sit down and figure out what works for you, and get to it.

      I’m trying to build up a bit of a head start at the moment, because I know I’m going to have interruptions.

  7. I don’t know, but somehow I picture they “power down” and just stand motionless until they sense some activity nearby. Or they behave like wild animals, wandering and foraging.

    Good luck with NaNoWriMo, I’m doing Movember. https://www.movember.com