The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

The ZRC Responds to ZRS Comic-Con Panel

The so-called ‘Zombie Research Society’, who seem to have never conducted any actual research on Zombies beyond skimming previous works of Anti-Zombie prejudice and extrapolating from hate fiction, had a panel at Comic-Con this year, and they shot video.

Naturally we feel the need to respond to their allegations and slanders.

Here’s the first part of the video itself:

Responses follow:

1) While George Romero’s ‘Night of the Living Dead’ is obviously a seminal work in the creation of the ‘modern Zombie’ concept, it’s worth noting how few modern ‘fans’ of Anti-Zombie media have actually seen and paid attention to the film, something that even Mr. Romero frequently laments. It would be more accurate to say that the ‘Modern Zombie’ is a cultural grab-bag that is picked up from the zeitgeist and frequently misattributed to ‘Night of the Living Dead’.

2) Max Brooks’ take that Romero (and of course Russo who often gets forgotten in discussions of ‘Night’) invented the concept of a Zombie ‘horde’ is… well, questionable. I’ll be generous and assume he means to use the word ‘virus’ here metaphorically, since the cause of Zombification is never explicitly stated in the Romero films. In actuality, since the recently dead reanimate whether or not they have been ‘infected’, in most cases, the ‘virus’ model is inaccurate. The only cause that is strongly hinted at in the original film is actually radiation accompanying a space probe returning to Earth.

3) Re: Dr. Schlozman’s discussion. Yes, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ is *public* domain (not eminent, that’s something else entirely), and you can easily download it. The Internet Archive has multiple versions, here’s one. Schlozman’s misanthropic take on humanity neatly mirrors Romero, but is fairly depressing from a medical man. Zombies need medical treatment too you know! Ignoring them is just callous.

The discussion continued here:

4) As for Zombies as something ‘to laugh at’, and this being an innovation starting in/around ‘Return of the Living Dead’, I think that was less of a distinction for that film series than the ZRS believes. George Romero has slapstick in ‘Dawn of the Dead’, which came out 7 years before ‘Return of the Living Dead’, but it’s generally ignored and seen as a drama, not a black comedy. It’s hard to miss Romero’s stabs at humor if you’re looking closely, however, and the wacky polka ending sequence for ‘Dawn’ gives the game away at any rate.

5) ‘If Zombies were a race that movie would be racist’. Really? ‘Return of the Living Dead’ is where Max Brooks draws the line? Also, Zombies aren’t a race, but much like race, the status of being a Zombie is a complicated and subjective social construction, and unfortunately, also like race, carries with it the sting of prejudice and discrimination.

6) ‘Song of the South’ of Zombie movies. Ok, Brooks is funny, I’ll give him that. Not sure what his particular beef is with ‘Return’, other than the fact that his own prejudices are clearly more Romero and less Russo.

7) Scott Kenemore’s favorite Zombie movie is ‘Return of the Living Dead’. Interesting.

8) On the Zombie culture ‘explosion’: Oh, it’s rich for the ZRS to comment about what we call the ‘Zombie Flavored Creativity Substitute’. These guys try to tie Zombiism to *everything* Drug-resistant bacteria, rabies, you name it, they think it’s Zombies! Pot, calling kettle!

9) Kenemore thinks Zombies haven’t peaked yet because Vampires are not seen as peaking after over a century. Fair enough, I guess, although it’s not like any one cultural phenomenon is guaranteed its time in the sun. (not a Vampire joke I promise)

10) Brooks and the ‘social and economic upheaval’ theory. Oh boy. When are we *not* in a period of social and economic upheaval? Seriously? This is all relative. The 80s were pretty apocalyptic for the poor and middle classes, in England and America, actually. Why didn’t they get their wave of Zombie escapist fiction, by this logic?

11) James Lowder and the publishers as gatekeepers issue. I think this is key. Today, traditional publishers are highly interested in publishing Anti-Zombie fiction, and if that fails, you can self-publish with far greater ease than 10, let alone 20, years ago. We should always remember that previously, finite resources kept genre fiction capped at certain levels. That’s less true today.

On the whole, the panel was… about what I would have expected, judging from this released video. No sympathy for the Undead, mostly shallow coverage of their issues and unique Vitality status, judging the Differently Animated as a pop culture phenomenon and not a population.

Update: More video from the panel is apparently still being released, and we will respond to that in turn later here on the ZRC blog.


About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.

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