Episode 662: First Salvo

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Anyone Out There?

If there’s a hoarier trope in the zombie genre than “people are the real monsters”, I don’t know what it is. It makes a lot of sense, of course, which is why it’s used so often. Zombies can’t really be evil, because they lack any sort of consciousness. Without that, they can’t choose to be bad, or good for that matter. They’re simply acting on instinct.

People, on the other hand, can get all kinds of evil if they set their minds to it. If you have any doubt about this, just turn on the news. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people that thinks humanity is inherently evil or anything like that. My point is that, even in our modern, relatively stable world, people do awful things. What happens when there’s no more food at the grocery store and there are hordes of flesh eating monsters roaming the streets? People are going to do some pretty gnarly stuff, that’s what.

With all that in mind, it kind of makes sense how you’d want to be on the lookout for the living just as much as for the undead.

About this Episode:

So as you can see, I’m using the awesome suggestion I got about getting a couple of shots from inside the building looking out. I’m not sure that it came out in reality as cool as it looked in my head, but what can you do? I try.

Discussion Question: Calling Out?

Put yourself in a situations like Sam’s. You’re trying to get into a building, but you strongly suspect there might be people inside, and you have no idea what sort of people they are. So what’s the better idea: trying to sneak in to get a sense of them, or calling out and broadcasting your presence?

Oh, and no fair saying you’d just go to another pharmacy.

31 thoughts on “Episode 662: First Salvo”

  1. Actually I think this 2nd panel is awesome! You don’t get to see a lot of shot like this one in brick comics. That was a great suggestion and great realisation.

    • Thanks! It was indeed an awesome suggest that I tried not to butcher too badly.

  2. About today’s question I’ll say I’ll try to sneak inside. As you said you never know who you’ll meet in the building. Let the supposed others know you’re there will only give them more precious time to prepare a warm welcome party.

    • I’m guessing you probably also wouldn’t have loudly smashed in the door too.

  3. Call out. Sam smashed the window and is lucky if anyone inside didn’t just start shooting thinking the zeds did it. He needs to let them know he isn’t an immediate threat.

    • So you’re saying you’d do what Sam just did? Would your choice of words be any different? What if it’s a guy and they’re built like a professional wrestler, bristling with muscles? Do the physical abilities of the person, or the aura they project, have any bearing on your choice of words?

      • Being a volunteer firefighter I have to enter houses without knowing who might really be inside and what might be happening. Not fires but medical calls. If you follow the news you should know firefighters have been shotat and kidnapped. You identify yourself and take it from there. Of course I am not usually carrying an ax.

        • Remind me where you live, RT? We had a very high profile killing of a firefighter a few months ago around here. It was awful, and all he was doing was collecting donations.

      • I think he’s working from the assumption that the door was already loudly broken in. At that point, that cat’s out of the bag.

        • Well, from all we know the person inside could be deaf and noise insensitive. 😀 How would that figure into surviving in a zombie apocalypse? 😉

    • Very good point.

  4. I’d say the first two panels are great, as you can just imagine that someone has come along behind the counter, possibly sneaking, and has just seen Sam break the door down. We don’t even know if it’s a zombie or a person, yet. We only know that he’s probably going to be confronted with their reaction to his breaking in very soon! 😀

    And don’t sweat the blurriness or the lack of lighting either, it all adds to the scene you’re building in people’s minds, and I think you pulled off one of the best scenes so far photographed with LEGO minifigs! 😀

    • Believe it or not, the blurriness and low lighting were both by design. I shaded the interior of the store for those shots to give it lower light than the exterior, where Sam is standing.

  5. Also, as a friendly reminder: There is one more typo to fix on Episode 661! 😉

    • Oh, thanks. I’ll go fix that.

  6. The panels look great. What might be bothering you is that Sam is standing outside at day…. photographing him from a dark inside would mean he should be standing, bathing in light. That makes the contrast between the relative ‘safe’ light situation and the dark dangerous environment even larger.

    • Yeah, that’s part of it. I wanted Sam to be brighter. Also, I wish I would have had room to put some stuff behind Sam. As it is, this barely fit in my photography space.

  7. I would say any species that invents day time talk shows is inherently evil o.o

    *rim shots*

    No but in all seriousness if given the choice of sneaking into a building as opposed to announcing my presence.

    To be frank, if it were me, I would probbibly be cowering in my boots until I work up the courage to walk inside….or another zombie comes by and eats me from behind.

    Because I’m terrified of the dark even before murderous zombies are added into the equation, let alone a room filled with an un known number of bandits inside…

    • Man, thanks for your honesty. I think fear is something a lot of people underestimate. It would be absolutely terrifying to go inside there, not knowing what or who awaits you.

  8. Nice shots Dave!
    I was wondering… this Pharmacy of yours I am guessing it must be some sort of Walgreens/CVS? I am asking because your non-US readers may need a bit of explanation on what to expect as from what I have seen Pharmacies are very different in the US and in Europe.
    The Pharmacies I used to visit when I was in the US were pretty much supermarkets, very large with long alleys and a small (I mean small in comparison to the overall size of the store) closed section dedicated to prescription drugs.
    In Belgium a pharmacy is usually a much smaller shop. There is also an open area with basic over the counter products – then an open counter and a back room storing all the prescription drugs.
    To get back to your story, the main difference would obviously be that in a US Pharmacy there are a lot more hiding spots.

    • We do have a lot of Mom and Pop pharmacies in the US similar to ones I saw we I was in Europe. Many are struggling to survive against the CVS type superstores.

      • “Mom and Pop pharmacies” – lol, that’s an interesting name! I can imagine the competition must be very hard. Thinking that these chains are open almost 24/7 with their built-in drive-in capacities… independent stores are doomed.
        I guess you would need to move away from major centers to find these?

        I just thought of another point to raise with regards to the type of store we are dealing with here is that the big superstores also carry some food and drinks plus a bunch of other supplies. All this would contribute in making a Walgreens or a CVS a place where people could consider to hole themselves up for a short period of time whereas a “Mom and Pop” pharmacy would offer almost nothing in the sustenance department.

        • Another good point. Most of the mom and pop places I’ve been to have a lot more knick-knacks and junk than groceries. Most of them only stock snack items, which would still be better than nothing.

      • Yeah, a lot of those small, family owned places are dying out, just like a lot of other businesses. It’s a shame. I know several of them from where I grew up that had to close their doors.

    • Oh, good point. Yes, this is definitely a US style pharmacy that’s also a small store as well. I modeled this one on an older pharmacy that’s near my work, one of the few that doesn’t have an all-glass frontage, and is a bit smaller than the huge Walgreens/CVS stores that have been built in the last decade or two.

  9. Well, breaking the glass already broadcast his presence. If someone is in the store, they likely know their way around, which Sam does not. They’ve also likely anticipated people and/or zeds breaking in, and have some sort of plan for defense — maybe even booby traps.

    If they’re evil, they’re already watching him and plotting to kill him. Really, the only way this ends well (with other people in there) is if they’re reasonable folk, so making it clear you’re not looking to do them harm and not looking to steal the stuff they need to survive can avoid a confrontation. Heck, they may even help him locate the medicine he needs.

    • Well.. there is still the issue of the broken door to address now. Even if the people holed up in that store are the most reasonable survivors ever, they are still going to be unhappy about this breach in the store defense.

      • Yeah, that would definitely be a problem.

    • I like your read on the situation, Ballinabricky. It’s awfully hard to sneak in after loudly breaking a plate glass window.

  10. I think I said in the comments an episode or two ago that I would have knocked as opposed to smashing the glass. If there was zombies inside they would come to the knocking, and if it is survivors, then they know I’m not a zombie, and perhaps we could have a conversation through the closed door or something. The fact that there were already zombies trying to get in and nothing has come to the door through the fighting and smashing of the window indicates to me it at least isn’t zombies inside… is that better or worse? Guess we will find out.

    Given Sam’s current scenario, I’d call out and announce myself, I’ve already smashed the door in so they know someone is there, no point sneaking in and make it look like I am trying to steal any survivors stuff in there.

  11. From my point of view, Sam’s got a problem we haven’t deeply touched on – breaking the window is probably going to attract zombies from around the store on the outside as well. And now that the window is broken there isn’t an effective shelter from them.

    The fact that he hasn’t already been shot probably suggests that the people inside either aren’t going to shoot him or cannot. After all, if you’re the folks inside, Sam just broke the door that was keeping you safe in your shelter. You’d think you’d be running to barricade that door immediately. Sam is either part of the solution there or a serious part of the problem from their standpoint.

    I wouldn’t have broken that particular window, myself, but if I were in Sam’s shoes, I’d have stepped inside one or two steps, moved to the side so I was no longer in the doorway, and held my hands up where the occupants can see I am not going to shoot the whole time.