Episode 844: Carrying On

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I started Bricks of the Dead at the beginning of 2010, although this silly little zombie comic actually began it’s life in late 2009 on another website under the name “Lego My Brains”. All told, I’ve worked on it for close to nine years, which is a hell of a long time. Let’s look at what we’ve accomplished in that time:

Bricks of the Dead by the Numbers

  • 844 in-canon comics
  • 149 guest, special, and behind-the-scenes comics
  • Roughly 36,000 comments
  • 400+ reviews
  • Roughly 3.5 Million page views
  • 328,900+ lifetime visitors
  • Visitors from over 190 countries and territories

A Brief History

It wasn’t originally my intent to make an ongoing story, let alone one that would last for years. I originally intended Bricks of the Dead to be a sort of little experiment. I figured I’d make a couple of comics, which would be the equivalent of twenty to forty episodes, and call it quits. As I’ve mentioned a time or two here, what I really wanted to do was make some short stop-motion videos using LEGO, and I saw this as a way of learning the photography basics to let me get there. The problem was that I ended up having a lot of fun putting together those initial comics, and wasn’t getting anywhere with stop motion. The next step was obvious: forget about video, and make a webcomic.

I had a rough idea of a story, but that ended up being quickly abandoned as I started shooting and assembling episodes. In my original outline, things got pretty silly. Stewart was going to raid a comic book store, steal a katana, and end up killed by zombies when his sword – a non-functional wall-hanger – broke. Eventually, the remaining survivors would make their way to a farm, where they would be besieged by a huge group of zombies. The only way out? Hop into the driver’s seat of the combine harvester, and plow through the zombie mob.

I decided to go for a slightly more grounded approach, although things did still get pretty ridiculous from time-to-time.

Things I Wish I had Done Differently

Throughout my time making Bricks of the Dead, I made a lot of mistakes. I won’t go into the technical challenges I could have handled differently, since there are loads of those and they’re pretty boring. Instead, I’d like to look at things from a planning and writing perspective.

When I began the comic, I did have a rough outline of where things would be going. The problem was twofold. First, the outline was far, far too rough. I should have invested more time and done a complete outline, and better organize things into arcs. Second, I abandoned my outline whenever a better idea struck me. In retrospect, I should have had that better outline, but also made room within it to explore new ideas.

Another regret I have is the way I handled certain characters. I introduced a lot of characters that only had limited use. They were there to move the story in a certain direction, or to explore different ideas. They weren’t fully formed characters, and so they would often drop out of the story, never to be seen again. Clearly, you readers also had problems with this. The biggest complaint I’ve had since announcing the story was drawing to a close is that I never wrapped up Inez, Clark, Barb, and many others.

I also wasn’t great with tonal consistency. I largely tried to tell a serious story with the comic, but one that would also hit on every zombie story cliche and trope I could manage. From time to time, however, the seriousness would drop and things would get downright wacky. Remember the guy with the chainsaw? Yeah, I could have handled that better.

Mea culpa.

The End

This, then, is the end. It wasn’t how the comic was originally going to end, but as the years rolled by, my goals changed quite a bit. Instead of ending with a big zombie showdown, I wanted to end by focusing on how much the story had changed some of the characters. I focused on three: Sam, Cheryl, and Murphy.

Sam has long been my favorite character in the comic, so I ended up addressing his story arc a while ago. He was a confident guy that wasn’t terribly capable, suffered horrifically for it, and had to build himself back up to be able to hack life in the new zombie world.

Murphy was someone who thought he could get through anything by being authoritative and decisive. It largely worked for him, but along the way he witnessed how unpredictably people reacted to the new world. An old friend became a monster, while another gladly risked his life to help. This knocked a lot of the brashness away.

Finally, we have Cheryl. She’s always been direct, but she’s also been the character striving to bring people together toward a common goal. Along the way, a lot of people have died horrifically. Now, she’s much less interested in getting buy-in from people, and not afraid to get her hands dirty to protect, or avenge, her friends.

This is where the story ends, but the characters will live on. Their world hasn’t changed. It’s still dangerous, and becoming more so by the day. Soon, easy-to-access resources will begin to become scarce, and things will get really tough.

Someday I might return to these characters, and check in to see how they’re holding up. I don’t have any firm plans on that at the moment, but I suspect that I’ll want to revisit the little world I invested so much time in over the years.

So What’s Next?

Now that Bricks of the Dead has wrapped up, what am I going to be doing to keep myself off all the hard drugs? Well, I’ll likely check in on comments here for a while, especially the AMA page I setup. But beyond that, I’m going to be moving on to other projects.

One of those projects is a new blog I started called GameDevRookie, where I’m going to try to teach myself how to build some simple games and blog about the entire experience. My first project, naturally, will be zombie themed. The posts will be longer than at Bricks of the Dead, and consequently come a little less frequently. If that sounds interesting to you, please stop by.

A Huge Thank You

Finally, I want to say thank you all. I couldn’t have kept this silly little comic going for all this time if I didn’t have people like you that were interested in the story and fun to talk to. Bricks of the Dead was a lot of work, and having all of you coming here week after week made it all worthwhile. I know some of you are disappointed in how I’m wrapping things up, and I’m sorry about that. I do hope you come to remember the things you liked about the comic and its humble create, and forget about they way he screwed everything up at the end because he’s a big dumb idiot.

41 thoughts on “Episode 844: Carrying On”

  1. Typo alert: Inex–>Inez 😀

    One typo, but what a typo! 😀

    • Only one? I’m shocked, especially since this was a pretty beefy write-up.

      • Dude! Last typo you’ll ever make with this series! 😉

  2. For an ending, Murphy sure has that poiceman’s uniform on! I wonder how many spares he has hiding in the closet at home? 😀

    • He knows how to keep things nice and neat, even in rough situations.

  3. Wow. Those numbers are pretty impressive!
    That original plan with the Sword and the Farm sounds absolutely Nuts! That’d be a lot of fun. A little ridiculous, but still very entertaining. 😀 Hah!

    “The End”
    I’m actually pretty happy with this ending. Obviously I’d love more, and I’ll be there when you inevitably do more. But the way you explained it has really gotten me to respect this ending. And I do feel quite a bit of closure. I think, other than a cure or killing everyone, this is about the only way to really end a long running zombie apocalypse story. Maybe not so many BIG (HUUUUGE) loose ends, but still, it’s okay. So, I’m at peace. I am satisfied. And there are no hard feelings about the ending. 🙂
    Also, this way, I still get to think about what happens next! Much better than everyone just being dead. 🙂

    And You’re Welcome, Dave! Lol!
    Nah, Thank You! Thank You, Dave! You have been Great! You are a very smart, fun, and talented guy! I’ve loved watching your photography change over the years. You have Improved a lot! Now I would even consider you… an Okay photographer. 😀 Lmao. Kidding! You are Very Good! I Love all the thought you put into the way the panels look. Boring pictures can kill a comic. But, You have always made your’s very interesting, and sometimes even Beautiful! (Heart Emoji) 🙂 <3 😀

    Thank you for everything, I will definitely check out your blog! Sounds interesting! Could turn out to be very boring, but imma give it a try! 😀 Lol. 😉

    Okay, since I don't want a comic longer than the actual post, I'm gonna end this here. 🙂 <3 😀 :p 😛

    • Wow, I’m really glad I could bring at least one person around. That’s a big win.

  4. This makes me sad but I understand. And 9 years, wow, that’s feat. Thanks for the years of entertainment. Good luck on your next project.

    • Thank you!

  5. Well done, Dave. It’s been wonderful reading your work. Good luck with the video game.

    • Thank you so much.

  6. Dave, BotD has been fantastic, regardless of any flaws you perceive. Your comic was one of the first I found when I began to bat around the idea of a brick comic, and I’m glad it was. In no small part did it inspire me to begin my own comic (now in its fourth year of publication!). It has truly been an honor to have done two guest strips for you during the BotD run. It is an unrealized goal of mine to reach for your production quality and popularity (I have nowhere near the number of views or comments as BotD — I tried writing lengthier commentary, asking questions of the audience, but it still wouldn’t generate any conversation. I’ve discontinued doing that, but I suspect I should return to it with a better approach).

    But I digress.

    Thank you for doing this, and thank you for bringing it to some form of completion rather than simply letting it go. I do like that you have left things open and that we may look in on our favorite characters from time to time.

    Best of luck!

    • It’s definitely not easy to build up an audience. A few things I had success with:
      – Hold a few contests. You can try to find donated prizes, or just buy a few. Advertise these where you can.
      – Add content beyond just the comic. When I was started I did games, creation highlights, reviews, and just random blog posts. I also did some tutorials, but should have done a lot more.
      – Respond to every comment, even very brief ones.
      – Share you comic in places that allow sharing, and that would be interested, but don’t spam.

    • Also, you started your comic as one of the first Lego comics, there were only a few of them around back then! Currently, the world is much more fast paced. It all needs to be quick, quick, quick…. look at all the social media. Currently, there are 10 active lego comics with their own site ( https://www.foolishbricks.com/ultimate-list-lego-brick-comics/ ), not much of them have many comments. Same with my comic, the numbers are there, but people don’t take the time to comment. I’m not focussing on comments anymore. These days you need to give people something to comment on… otherways, they’ll move on, to all the other goodies on the net, right after reading. And who blames them, I do the same thing.

      Thinking about this;

      One of the other reasons, I suspect, is the fact that BOTD has a very specific theme and a popular one at that. That makes conversation easier. I also came here to read how the zombie-cliche etc fit into the comic. Once you attract a community, they will stay, if not for the comic, then for everything around it. besides, the discussions related to the comic also made you care more for the characters within the comic, so it worked both ways around.


      Again, thanks for all the effort you put in your comic! – You will be missed
      Good luck in the gaming business!

      • “Also, you started your comic as one of the first Lego comics”

        That’s a damned good point. There were handful out there, but not many. That said, I think most were better put together than mine, especially at the beginning. I’ve been incredibly lucky.

  7. Thank you for the ride. It has been turblent at times but always interesting. I know we don’t want you to leave, but to quote a great artist, “You’ve only mastered an art style once you’ve out grown it…”

    I look forward to your game as the world needs more zombie games…that aren’t just shoot ’em up or Tale Tell copies that make it look like you’re doing something but it doesn’t matter the plot will only go in a line.

    I’ve used RPG maker myself and what you’ve mentioned about the outline is also true for the games. Make something that is detailed on paper, fix cleanly together, and then put it into production. It’ll save you from head aches later. You can wing it if things are episodic, but that doesn’t work in video games. :p

    Looking forward to your future endeavors. Take care man!

    • Thank you much!

      As to the game dev thing, I have no illusions of doing that as a career. I am interested in software development in general, and think this is a great way to learn it while also doing interesting things.

      • Always a good way to learn and have fun with learning.

  8. D;

    You will be missed. Your comic gave me something to read every M,W,F. The discussion questions were fun to participate in and… Well… Who hasnt imagined building a lego city and letting it get over run with Zombies?


    Can you leave us a link to where you bought all your crazy lego’s? Zombie monsters and fancy guns are not something sold at normal toy stores.

    • Man, I bought stuff all over the place. Citizen Brick for zombie heads and printed torsos and legs. GI Brick and Brickforge for weapons. I also picked up a handful of pieces from companies that don’t seem to exist anymore.

  9. Thank you for all you did, very entertaining.

    • Thank you!

  10. I’m not yet caught up, but I pressed last to see how many behind I was. Wow, last comic.

    I’m gonna go back and continue reading, but I just want to say thank you for putting this together and letting us all see it.

    Good luck in all you pursue.

    • Let me know how you liked things once you get caught up.

      • Ooh, that was how The Walking Dead needed to go (I’m also not caught up on it, but Negan… c’mon!). I wasn’t expecting it to end just where it did, but I think it’s a fine place. Especially after reading your summation of the characters’ arcs.

        I do hope you decide to give us some updates in the future, once you find the time to do so.

        Thanks again for putting this out into the world.

  11. It’s not clear which way those two are headed, but I presume it’s into a sunset.

    Congratulations, well done. I’ll miss the comic, but hopefully you will check back on the story before too long.

    • Thank you, sir. And yes indeed, they’re heading into the sunset.

  12. Wow, work exploded and I got behind on comments and questions. Sorry everyone. I’ll start catching up today.

  13. Dave,

    I stumbled on to your website about 3 years ago and in that time, this little niche of the internet you carved out managed to become a place for me to dive into and enjoy the experience. It was almost like your own version of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood in so much that you always had things other than just the comic going on here. Whether it was your how-to-builds, product reviews or your let’s play segments, it was always fun to come here. On top of all that, it was always provided free of charge by you. For that, I hope you take as much pride in yourself for having made the internet a little bit nicer place to be because you deserve it. You are a genuine good guy and I wish you all the best in the future.

    • Thank you, sir. I think I’m going to put “a genuine good guy” on my resume!

  14. That’s what I get for taking a hiatus and not looking back at this comic. It’s over.

    At least it’s completed.

  15. Never took the time to salute your accomplishments. Heck of a job with that comic, congrats. Take care and be successful in your next projects, wether it involve lego or not…

  16. It’s a little late, but Happy 2019, Dave and commenters all and sundry! 😀

  17. Looks like Kirkman was inspired by you…. you ended so he saw nompoint in carrying on the TWD comic anymore either… 😉

    • Damn right!

  18. Hi yall! Happy…all the holidays since last time! 😀 God bless! <3

  19. It’s great finding the site and comic some years after I read it. I hope life is treating you well in these times.

  20. 2020 knocked us about with Coronavirus and made us obey social distancing restrictions or die from the virus or get infected and spread it to others. We’re getting close to wrapping up this year, 13 days left until the calendar finally flips over to 2021! Trump ruined America, depends on who you believe, really, and a whole lot of other things happened as well, too numerous to go into detail here!

    Wishing you a Merry Christmas for 2020, Dave! Hopefully you’ll see this and give us an update on what is going on with your life, and whether it took you in directions different to what you were hoping for! 😀

    I will keep checking back, as Number 5 said: “No disassemble!” 😀

  21. Manuscript is a collective name for texts

  22. Just went and watched Wyrmwood:Apocalypse in the local cinema today.

    It’s a pretty original variation on how the zombies in the movies work, they can be cured, and some can control others. Dave, if you’re around, you would want to pick this up on whatever internet streaming site you can use to view it.

    Lots of guns and violence related to being in a zombie apocalypse and how the characters react to it is unique.

  23. Y’know, now that this is over, I think you should make an official discord server. I would totally join!