Episode 753: The Signal

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Zombie Cliche Lookout: Communication Limitations

When we’re not dealing with a large-scale zombie outbreak, we have an incredible variety of ways to communicate with one another. We can call on the phone from anywhere, text message, social media messaging and tagging, video chat, radio… I could go on and on. But when society starts shutting down, those communication channels are going to start closing off pretty quickly. The cell phone network can’t deal with a large scale flush of users, as those who lived through 9/11 or the power outage that took out large parts of the US and Canada several years ago will remember.

Once the power starts going out, all those fancy tools will stop working. The same is true of internet connectivity. While the internet itself is pretty durable, individual services are much less so. Want to stay in touch when dealing with zombies? Get some walkie talkies, plenty of spare batteries, and a few different charging options.

About this Episode:

With this arc, I wanted to have the characters have a plan and execute it, but didn’t want to show any of the planning process in the comic itself. I wrote this to sort of hint at the idea that, when Barb came back from investigating, they quickly threw together a plan to escape, with you readers being able to reverse engineer that plan as things played out. Today’s episode is the completion of that plan. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it doesn’t look like everything came together quite like they had planned it.

Discussion Question: Keeping in Touch?

You’ve survived the initial chaos of the zombie apocalypse, and are now surviving day-to-day with a small group of people. What strategies and technology would you use to keep in touch with one another? How would you communicate when you’re in a situation where you can’t make noise?

21 thoughts on “Episode 753: The Signal”

  1. Amazingly, only one typo: “will remembers” remove “s” from “remember to correct this lone typo! 😀

    • I’m shocked. I wrote this while multi-tasking. I figured there would be several mistakes. I did proofread, but it’s tough to spot your own errors.

      • You could probably try searching online for a proofreading program or site. Google turns up plenty of search results for me, just using “proofreading program” – YMMV, though! 😀

  2. Well, we know Clark made it – or did he? I’m pretty certain Teddy and Kelly would’ve been a bit late to the truck, if they even made it! This is really not clear, I’m also certain Vicky is a goner, too! We’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose.

    It’s also interesting to wonder if Barb had a view of any of this, or of who got in the truck. Even in a zombie apocalypse, if you’re getting into the truck that’s supposed to be your rescue vehicle, you should always let the driver know exactly where you are. It doesn’t seem like anybody thought to bring a flashlight or makeshift light source, though! I’m fairly certain Ted’s place would’ve had at least one half-decent flashlight. 😀

    • Oh, I get it now.

      I thought she came back to the house, heard two gunshots, and left.

      I was like “what the hell kind of plan is that?” Haha! 😀

      Now it makes so much more sense. The episode is 100 times better, now!

      Thank You!

      • Hah, I’m using the classic “hit the side of the vehicle two times to tell the driver you’re ready to go” signal. I could totally see where that would be confusing.

        To BV: I love how you’re trying to puzzle this out!

  3. The illusion that the truck is moving seems to be perfect! In the last two panels this can be plainly seen! Well done, here, Dave! 😉

    • Thanks! I tried a few of the tricks you guys recommended last time.

  4. As to what the plan was, the short version is that Barb secures the keys to the truck and starts it up, while the others wait and get ready to load up. This seemed simple enough, except for the zombie complications. Also, Clark’s part in this is very muddy. 😀

    • As is Clark’s part in all things.

      • The only thing I’m not sure of is whether he’s totally losing his mind, or if this is intentional on his part because of some personality trait that makes him not want to be helpful to others. He totally could’ve helped Vicky and the kids and get all of them to safety, yet he didn’t even try! It’ll be rather interesting to se what he tells barb, and just how far up his tree she climbs! 😀

  5. Smoke signals? Spray painting walls with I AM HERE AND TOTS NOT A ZOMBIE LULZ?

    …yes…I…would probibly speak in leet with my messages and totally deserve to be eaten for this.

    On a side note about the comic. Its actually a good thing not to detail everything the characters do. Especially for a comic that progresses about 10 seconds of the story 3 times a week. There is plenty that can be summed up or left to the readers own imagination and keeps the story with being bogged dow.

    • Yeah.

      About two weeks have passed in the comic. Right?

      I think thats like 53 comics per day.

      So,to get a year into the apocalypse. That would be 19,631 episodes!

      With 2 episodes a week. Taking five weeks off a year. Thats 94 episodes a year.

      19,631 divided by 94 is 208.

      So it would take Dave 208 Years to get the comic a year into the apocalypse!

      Wow. 😮

      I think I did that right! Haha! 🙂 Good luck, Dave! I hope your kids like legos and zombies!

      So, Two centuries down the line, Teddy Jr. will be 8 years old, instead of 7. 🙂

      • But idk. Kinda tired. And may have entered a wrong number into the calculator. So I might be off a little.

    • Hah, I’m not going to try to correct your math, but I will say that I’m going to be doing some things in the comic to advance time a little more quickly soon. I’m not 100% committed yet, but I’ll probably jump forward by at least a few months once I wrap up the next short arc.

      • Yes. It seems like things are kinda starting to come together for the “outbreak stage”.

        That sounds awesome! I cant wait!

  6. Episode:
    Now that I understand what is going on, I really Really REALLY love this episode! 🙂 Love it when characters slam on a vehicle to signal the driver to gtfo of there!

    Yes. We are all screwed.
    I think it’s safe to say, That the biggest loss when the power goes out, will be Bricks of The Dead: The Most Awesome Web-Comic About Life, Death, Love, and Zombies…Mostly Zombies. :'(

    About the episode:
    Yeah. I think the plan just got dicked. 🙂

    Gotta learn sign language,I guess. 😐 Preparing for the zombie apocalypse isn’t as fun as I thought it’d be. Haha!

    Or use different colored cards. (Maybe uno cards) and have different colors mean different things.
    This might suck for you, Dave. You being Colorblind and all. But maybe not. It depends how colorblind you are. Who was the other colorblind one, here?

    Or! Get identical tattoos of all 26 letters on all of your bodies. Have them spread apart, so each letter has its own area. Then you can spell things out, silently,from a distance. 🙂 It’s pretty much sign language,except you have to spell everything out. But this might be better for if you’re really far away.(too far to read sign language,but not too far to see what part of their body someone is touching.)

    Okay, that last one is a little crazy. Haha!

    The Question gave me an idea. If everyone turns after they die. And you live in a community,like Alexandria in TWD. You could make some sort of trip wire by someone’s bedroom. (something that a living person could easily avoid, but a zed could not) And have it release a red flag on your roof. That way, no one accidentally runs into a Zzz turned into a Z E D. 🙂

    • I really like the sign language idea. It would have to be something a less complex than Traditional or American sign language. I’m picturing the hand signals military people use in the movies.

      Cool idea on the tripwire. Also a good reason for people to lock their doors at night.

      • Yes!

        It always pisses me off when I think of The Prison in The Walking Dead.

        They have cells with doors, and they dont even think of closing them. They just leave it open.

  7. OMG, I can’t believe this, did Clark really ditched the kids?

  8. If / When Barb opens the back of the truck and finds only Clark she is going to be pissed.