Episode 744: Keep Calm

Zombie Cliche Lookout: Take a Deep Breath

I’m going to need you guys to bear with me a little bit on this one, because I’m fleshing it out in my head as I type. The short version is that, in horror fiction (not the zombie sub-genre in particular), there seems to be a correlation between a character’s ability to stay calm, and that character’s ability to accomplish things. Now, a quick clarification here: I’m not talking about how panicking reduces one’s ability to concentrate and accomplish complex mechanical tasks. That’s a given. What I mean is that it seems that a person’s level of calmness has an almost magical effect on the way the world works.

Case in point: had Barb become despondent about the truck’s not starting, her luck would have continued to run poorly. Instead, she forced herself to stay calm, the her luck immediately turned around.

About this Episode:

When it comes to fonts and visual effects, I generally keep things pretty simple. Noise effects are displayed in a larger, bolder font with a white outline. Dialog is simply a black, comic-inspired typeface with the contrast coming from the dialog balloon.

This week, I tried to mix it up a bit to really sell the idea of the truck roaring to life. I liked how it worked out, so you’ll be seeing a few other, similar effects in the coming episodes (those that I have completed in my buffer, that is).

Discussion Question: Benefit to Freaking Out?

Obviously, staying calm in an emergency offers huge benefits. Fighting zombies is much, much easier if you can think clearly. That being said, I’m guessing you guys can come up with a couple of benefits of not staying calm. Yeah, it’s counter-intuitive, but these questions can’t all be easy, right?


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First, as to the cliche look out, I assume that all movie characters have access to the force but can only use it to alter their suroundings when they are focused.

That or the naritive is very cruel and feeds people to monsters only when they are over come with panic 🙂

As to the disscussion question, actually there are quite a few times when simply reacting is the best course of action, even with full blown panic modes. Take birds for example. You startle a bird, does it stay there and scan the area for danger, plotting out a carefull escape rout incase a cat is lurking about? HECK no. They just fly man, they just run for it! Those extra three seconds plotting an escape rout could have been spent putting three extra seconds of distance between the bird and dinner with a feline…


“I assume that all movie characters have access to the force but can only use it to alter their suroundings when they are focused.” – Okay, this one got a smile out of me. You took what I was trying to say in my rambling, incoherent mess, and summed it up nicely.

Well said on the discussion question. An abundance of caution is likely why mankind is still around, and explains why we’re so easily spooked by catching things out of the corner of our eyes, or hearing a weird noise when home alone at night.


I don’t know about where you live personally, but in large cities, birds have become accustomed to people wandering past them. For instance, there are pigeons on a regularly used concrete footpath in the city I live in, and they are constantly feeding on bat droppings containing food residues from bats roosting in the branches above the footpath. If someone walks towards them they will move out of the way of the person but will still feed on some nearby leftover food item they are concentrating on.


That’s an interesting tweak on things because those birds have been conditioned against their instincts.

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Ah, see those be /city/ animals. Which are admittedly slightly more terrifying than county animals.

I mean, a small bird that is willing to stand up to a human and say, “Hey! I’m walkin here! Now make with the bread cumbs pal. Chop chop. Day lights burning!” That, is a bird you do NOT want to mess with.


I’d say that freaking out will prevent you to think reasonably.
This way you could come up with a solution that might sound crazy but could actually save your life while no reasonable or reflected option can be found.

About the noise effect try out, I love it. It brings the dynamic a photo alone can’t. That also shows the attention to details you give to your work. Good stuff.


Looks like you’re revisiting all Hollywood’s cliché (the car that won’t start, the take a breathe and make it work,…) the past few episodes. Is that on purpose or is it just serving the story well?


I wish I could say it was part of some master plan, but it just happens to be fitting in the story.


Freaking out would also allow you to not save any resources to get out of a situation where you’d need all you have for that one shot.
Sometimes when you think too much about it you’ll think about your next move and saving stuff to make it happen without even dealing with what is in front of you. Too bad you tried to save resources for what’s next and actually failed your on your first test…

Man I’m struggling to make myself clear here…


I get what you’re saying. I do this in games. I hold onto everything for “when I really need it”, and end up finishing a game without having used any of it.

Pepper Valentino

I think the sound effect looks good!
Although, it Is messing with my OCD a little bit! Haha!

I hope we get to see some Squished Zombies in the coming episodes! 🙂

BTW. This is my first time commenting! Hi Guys! You’re all Awesome!!!

Pepper Valentino

Just how many zombies are there supposed to be around the house?


I’d say there are a couple dozen zeds here. We don’t necessarily see them all in the comic because it would just be crowded and confusing, but the idea is that it’s a small crowd.

Pepper Valentino

Omg! You responded to me!!!
This is crazy! Hehe. 🙂


Hah. I try to respond as much as possible. Lately work and other commitments have made me miss a lot though.


I like to think that if you’re going to panic, you should go ahead and do it. Get it out of your system. Then you can focus on the situation.

Pepper Valentino

Otherwise, you’ll be holding it in.
And then you’ll be panicking about panicking.
And that leads to an eaten face.

Pepper Valentino

So excited to comment!
This has got to be the longest wait for a new episode EVER!

Pepper Valentino

Also, great choice on “RawRawRawRawRaw”.
It’s perfect!
I don’t think I would have thought of that.

Do you have a big cache of sound effects, or do you just make them up as you go?

I’m guessing a lot are pretty easy, but some have to pretty difficult.

Pepper Valentino

Uh oh!
In the previous episode:
Is that a hair on those black slant pieces behind the front wheel?
I hate it when that happens. 🙂

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