Episode 836: Options

Photo of author



Zombie Cliche Lookout: Sharpening the Point

Villains in zombie stories come in a lot of forms, but today we’re going to look at the militaristic variety of which Ned is a type. With these bad guys, being listened to and taken seriously is extremely important. They’re in charge, and they want to make sure that everyone knows it, and readily acknowledges it whenever it comes up. They take challenges to their control very seriously, and will tend to overreact to assert themselves out of a deep and abiding fear of appearing weak in front of others.

Smarter militaristic leaders will realize that their approach doesn’t always work, and rely on trusted lieutenants to pick up the slack. Their biggest challenge is having normal interactions with other people because their forcefulness and thin skin tend to blow up conversations into conflicts.

Naturally, one can analyze these characters in many different ways. Are they covering up their own inadequacies with out-sized bravado? What shaped their minds into believing that the best, or perhaps only way of solving problems is with overwhelming force? And in what ways can a savvy survivor take advantage of their mindset?

About this Episode:

In the third frame, I wanted to show visually how overwhelmed Murphy is at the moment. The idea was to make him very small, almost crushed, at the bottom of the panel, with the others in more dominant positions above him. No clue if it worked, but I try to do some half-assed art stuff every now and then.

Discussion Question: So What’s Ned’s Deal?

You read the zombie cliche lookout, right? Well, get in there and psychoanalyze Ned. What’s going on under the hood with him? Does his toughness belie a weakness, or is this simply his best way of managing things? How can Murphy exploit that?

17 thoughts on “Episode 836: Options”

  1. Typo alerts: “come in a lot of form” form–>forms

    “going to look the militaristic” Insert “at” between “look” and “the”

    “Ned’s Dead” Really looks like a lively chap for a dead guy! Dave knows the fix for this one, I hope! 😀

    Some typos for you Dave, and that last one is a bit wacky! 😀

    • Oh man, that last one.

  2. I can’t help but believe the typo for the Discussion Question section is a hint of bigger things to come Ned’s way! Discuss! 😀

    • Hah. No comment.

  3. I kind of get the third panel, but it seems more like a zoom-out maneuver a film crew would perform, not really seeming like Murphy is smaller, just shows the big picture a little.

    Good try for what Dave was aiming for, could be better, though I’m not sure how! 😀

    • I’m sure there’s a clever photographic trick that would have accomplished this much better, but I am a dilettante at heart.

      • The problem is that the camera is looking down on the group, so everybody appears smaller. (It even looks as-if Murphy is larger compared to the group (to me 🙂 ) )
        The ‘clever’ trick is that you actually have to get down with the camera and make it look UP to the group. Then you could put in Murphy at the foreground (out of DOF) and maybe take of his legs (off-screen of course), so he actually is smaller. If the DOF is too large (as it often is with these sort-of macro-photos), you can make two photo’s with the group in focus on one and Murphy in focus on the other… then blend them so both are in focus.

        • That seems like it would do the trick.

  4. Also, Ned seems hell bent on either having Murphy in his group or dead. Can’t he just let him go if he doesn’t want to join their group? I think Ned is overestimating his ability to force Murphy into his group unwillingly. What does he do if Murphy simply asks for his gun and says explicitly that he doesn’t want to join Ned’s group?

    • Further to this, let’s say Ned wants to allow Murphy to leave. How would you imagine he does this without seeming weak?

      • That’s a damn good question. A further consideration is whether Ned can afford the risk of having Murphy out there after having this interaction with him. Is he strong enough for that?

  5. Also, I wonder if Ned’s paying attention to Henry? One small flick of his wrist and the gun could be in his main hand and fired at Ned. This next episode should be really interesting, I know Dave’s written it already but the best episodes always have a plot twist to them! 😀

    • You just made me check the scheduled episode to remind myself what happens next.

      • If it’s not what I wrote above, ALTER IT NOW!!!! 😀 😀 😀

        Something drastic HAS to unfold and I wouldn’t believe less is possible right now! 😀

        • Hah, don’t worry. We’re getting to the action. I just have to finish the setup.

        • Hope you’re taking notes I certainly would! 😀

  6. I forsee the bad guys motive being explained like this:

    “Oh, but we do… For you see we…”


    Gus snipes him. The end.