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Are 28 Days Later Zombies acutally Zombies? Yes. Here's why.

Zombies! Run!

I just read Mat Elfring's ' Overused Comic Book Gimmicks: Zombies' and really enjoyed it.  I'm a zombie fan and (despite Mat's previous explicit bigotry and hatred towards Irish people) this actually articulated a lot of my frustration of the increased quantity rather than quality of all things undead.  There was one sentence that stuck out though, something which has followed me around when talking about zombies with friends.
 "Argh, this statement hurts my feelings"

28 Days Later, which technically isn't a zombie comic

 I have to be completely honest and admit that I came down on this line of 'they're not really zombies but it's good stuff nonetheless' initially but through exploring this sub genre of horror, I've actually come around to the idea that the 28DL monster does deserve it's place amongst its brainphillic peers. But rather than leaving it at 'take my word for it' here's my reasoning behind it.

'It's rabies, not a zombie virus'

Firstly it was explained as an aggressive mutation of the rabies virus, so there's that.  Secondly this 'zombie virus' people like to talk about?  Doesn't really exist in fiction.  Most writers like to neatly explain where the zombies came from.  Night of the Living Dead used radiation as an origin, Resident Evil used both the biological T-Virus and the parasitical Las Plagas, Some writers go for the 'it's magic, just go with it' angle as well.  Hell, the Marvel Zombies used 'extra-terrestrial' after Sentry touched a funky asteroid.  So there's no discrete boundary which can be laid down to define a 'proper' zombie origin.  Personally, I prefer it when it's not explained (here's looking at you, Kirkman).

'They run, zombies don't run'

The fact that they run is important but I'll touch on that in a bit.  The addition of the ability to run seems to be a deal breaker for a lot of people but lets go back to the 'classic zombie' in Night of the Living Dead.  When that came out, Romero basically took the idea of the zombi or nzambi and updated it.  Bear in mind the traditional zombie was one person, raised from the dead and controlled by one person.  No plague-like spreading through bites or bodily fluids.  'You gotta shoot 'em in the head!' ? Nope, nothing so exciting.  All you had to do to beat Z was use salt.   
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Romero changed that and several artists have put their own spin on the formula years since.  And if we look at the plethora of variations of zombies today, their characteristics all lend and borrow from the same pool but there's no 'this is what zombies do, this is what zombies don't do'.  And the same thing goes for 'but they're never technically dead' argument.  But in the end, the attributes of Z doesn't matter much when you get down to brass tacks and this brings me onto my last point.

'Pfft, whatever. They just don't feel right, you know?'

I love zombies because of it's appeal to darker things.  But zombies aren't just the brain biting bad boys of horror.  They are walking representations of death, your death, your deepest fear of dying.  They are often slow moving and in the distance but deaths slow march is constant.  You can run but not forever and there is no cure (expect in the lower end movies that positively require a happy ending).  Pure and simple, zombies focus our fear of death.  Here we go full circle and go back to the 'it's rabies' thing... and 1968. 1960s: Cuban Missile Crisis, assassination of JFK, Gulf of Tonkin. Knees deep in the Cold War.  How did the dead rise?  Why was death coming for us all in Romero's Night of the Living Dead in 1968? Radiation.  
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Well what about the Return of the Living Dead (1985)?  Surely being inspired by NOTLD, it'd keep the same or similar origin?  Nope.  It changed because popular fears shifted. The advent of binary chemical weapons, reports of 'yellow rain' application by the Soviets, President Carter changing his stance in funding for such chemicals.  How were the dead rising this time?  You guessed it, toxic chemicals. 
 Now lets look at 28 Days later.  This is post 'Anthrax attacks' and 9/11.  Suddenly our capitals aren't so safe any more.  The fear is that death can come through a disease and in this globalised world we live in, it can come out of nowhere. And fast. The fear shifted to terrorism and bioterror. Still don't believe me? Well it's not like the posters left a giant biohazard sign on them. Ahem.
If you really wanted to go further you could argue that The Walking Dead is less of a zombie romp than 28 Days.  Why?  Because Kirkman brilliantly uses the idea of zombies more of a tool to put his characters under tremendous amount of stress (I mean stress in the psychological sense, not the 'since Arrested Development was cancelled, there's nothing good on' stress)  Take for example, Carl Grimes, symbolising innocence and how children lose their innocence in the face of a large traumatic event (death, family divorce etc)  The zombie survival is playing second fiddle to the real topic of human survival.  You could argue that the zombies could be interchanged with alien invasion, dragons, super aggressive Mormons (doubt it'd be as good).  Whereas 28 Days is a more traditional approach, staying within the tropes and motifs of the sub genre.  But I think that might be a different debate.
I can concede one area though and that is with those who view Zombies as purely a 'Horror Movie Monster'.  Much like Frankenstein's monster, Dracula or werewolves that populated early 'B' movies.  There, continuity of attributes helped establish these characters in popular culture and letting zombies run might look like giving Dracula rainbow powers or werewolves the ability to fly.  It seems to that crowd that breaking continuity of the trope is the same as 'breaking' the very fabric of the character.  But with the growth of transmedia interpretations of not just zombies but more or less everything those guys are gonna have to let go of little Zed.
You should come away with these two things:  
  1. No two zombies are the same but what they represent tend to be thus and 28DL zombies meet the criteria.
  2. Mat 'Inferiorego' Elfring may harbour bigoted sentiments.

The Holy Grail of Laptops? Savy techies help and input needed.

Okay long story short, after a long tour of duty, my laptop needs to retire.  When I say it's falling apart, I really mean it's falling apart.  The casing's coming apart.  I recently had to firstly cordon off one of three of my user profiles on it and eventually delete everything in it.  The 'great purge' as it's known in my head, it was the computing equivalent of amputation.

If my laptop was a dog, it would have been put down by now.

So I started picking up extra shifts and saving for a new laptop but being a casual gamer I thought I'd look around for a machine that was

  • A laptop (I travel between Northern Ireland and England a lot and I need something I can bring on the plane),
  • Had a dedicated graphics card
  • Was affordable £400-550 (Roughly $650-880).

Within five minutes of researching I came to realise I might as well ask for a goose to gander my way and lay a golden egg.  That said after a few hours poking around the internet I found this beauty: Acer Aspire AS7741G-6426 (or Acer Aspire 7741G-7017)  Which seemed to tick all the boxes... expect I can't seem to be able to buy it anywhere.

So all I'm asking for is advice.
  1. Does anyone know where I could buy this machine in the UK? (or EU/US, depending on shipping really)
  2. Is there a comparable machine out there with these specs?

Any help is a great hand.

New Thor:God of Thunder Video Game Trailer



Sorry to any GL fans but this game trailer looks better polished than the strange looking Ryan Reynolds on Oa.  But less negatives, I hope we'll be transported to Asgard and get to fight a whole bunch of different creatures from Norse Mythology.   Frost Giants? Surtur? Have at thee!

 Looking good, Sega, looking good!

The whole Captain Marvel/Mar-Vell thing

I just came across this and thought I'd share.  Basically a video that discusses Marvel and DC's Captain Marvels.  It goes into something that really interests me which is the history and logistics of publication as well as little odd facts.  The same guy who does this also did a very good ' Magneto was right' video which argues that if you were a mutant, you'd probably side with him.

I didn't know a lot of these things but they do interest me.  If anyone has any tid-bit facts please, show off your knowledge a bit, I'm genuinely intrigued by topics like this

The New Dead Island Trailer Will Crush Your Heart

If you haven't seen it yet, there's a trailer for an upcoming video game. I gotta say, this thing made my throat dry a little bit.  Trust me you'll want to watch it.

There's a couple of things that I love to see in all mediums of creativity which this 3 minute trailer grabs.  One: A great narative, Two: Juxtaposition in pacing and Three: Zombies.  I'm a zombiphile through and through (I have a text document on my laptop, an article: Ode to Zombies which I should really get round to finishing).   But this highlights everyone's favourite zombie comic's best feature:  It's not about the undead, it's about those left to deal with them.  Immediatley I thought of Rick and co (I actually though, 'Grimes wouldn't have let this happen on what looks like day 1')
Anyway, if you haven't got a tear in your eye after watching that, you have no soul.

What's been played to death? (Cool Anime Video included)

  I came across this recently, thought it was actually quite cool and must have taken effort to make.

Yeah not themes exactly but it hints at a larger thing.  I'm not poking fun at our Anime cousins, partly because I'm sure we have a lot of over-lap between AnimeVice and ComicVine and mostly because Deathnote is one of the best television shows made. That's just a fact, don't even try and argue against it.
Anyway, that brings me to something that I'd like to hear opinions on: What themes, motifs or styles being over used in your favourite media?  
Mine has to be the 'no-one stays dead' in comics plague.  Despite being told by a couple of people that Brightest Day isn't that bad, I still can't get my head around what the appeal to pick it up in the first place would be.  Instead of thinking 'Wow, I wonder how you would deal with being pulled back from the abyss like that?' I think 'Meh, I'll just wait until a character that's appearing in my pull list dies.'
I think this is a by product of heroes never staying dead or the 'no body, no death' rule.  I love(d) Nightcrawler and his death was huge to me. I still can't shake the feeling that one day a writer (lets call him Dave) will ruin this.  Dave will think to himself one day, ' You know who was cool? Nightcrawler! Awh man, his death was awesome too. I've got a great idea. Let's literally dig up his corpse and reanimate him, just to, you know, see.'  
Dave, we know it's coming from a good place but let him rest in peace.
Anyway, what are you sick of seeing?  
  • Every English character comes from London? 
  • Post CCA shock for shocks sake?
  • Scantly clad women? 
  • The brooding anti-hero?
  • Your own face in the mirror each day?


A philosophy question that's melting my brain

Okay, there are three scenarios.  Answer them as you go along.
Scenario One
There is a train coming and it's breaks aren't working.  There are five people on the tracks and the train can't stop in time and will kill them.  However in front of you is a lever that will switch the train onto another track where only one person is standing.  Do you pull the lever to have one die rather than five?
Scenario Two
The same train is coming and will run over and kill five people. However this time there's no lever but there is a very large person beside you.  If you push this person it will slow the train just enough so that the five other people are saved.  You yourself aren't big enough to slow the train (In this hypothetical world, you do go to gym post-January 15th) Do you push the fat guy to have one die rather than five? 
Scenario Three
There are five people all aged the same, waiting on an organ donation and one person with an entire body full of healthy organs.  If you kill the healthy person, five people will live until they're 90, if you don't kill the healthy person they will live to 90 but the others will die within the day.  Do you sacrifice the healthy person to save five people?
Got your answers?
Well apparently this has got philosophers a bit stumped.  It's the equivalent of a maths problem for philosophy.

 Yes, this is an actual Philosopher and they do smoke pipes
 Yes, this is an actual Philosopher and they do smoke pipes

The problem lies in that most people will say yes to the first one, possibly the second and probably not the third but in reality all three are the same question worded differently.  Do you sacrifice one for the greater of the group?  However the 'gut feeling' that most people experience with the first and the 'gut repulsion' of the last is where philosophers get interested.
I think this is interesting because in comics we see a lot of sacrifice for the greater good and there's traditionally strong moral codes associated with superheroes, anti-heroes and even villians.  I'd be interested to know:
Do our views shift slighty in accordance to our favourite characters?
Do you know a similar instance in comics?
Why don't more people smoke pipes?

Does anyone else like this type of music?

  The rise of 2ManyDjs, Girl Talk, The Gray Album (a mash up of Jay Z's Black Album and the Beatle's White Album) means the attention to mash up artists have been slowly growing over recent years.  The use of small samples as instruments themselves intrigues me. 
Which led me to this troup: Kids and Explosions.  This is off their latest album (download for as much as you want to give)

  Yeah it's a big abstract and yeah it's more of a headphones song than 'lets all sing' song but I cannot stop listening to it.  I think it's a great song off a new album.
I looked at how many views it had on youtube, it was only 11 at the time of posting this.  I'm either very far ahead of the curve or far off it.  Either way the music makes me happy so I'm sticking with it!

Let Comics be Comics

I know there's a need to defend comics as a legitimate medium of art rather than 'the funnies' or capes and spandex. People who genuinely love the medium are quick to respond with "It's literature!" in a way which I think is unnecessary.  Why are we so keen to even defend it as literature? I've read some horrible literature.  Enjoy the fact that this medium's blend is different, distinct and delightfully so.  Revel in the art work. Submerge yourself in splash pages. Ordain oneself in onomatopoeia.
It's frustrating because to a lot of people, when you say you read comics, simply hear the words "I read a childish picture book about people in capes and tights" While this is certainly true to some extent it's akin to, when hearing someone watches a lot of movies, responding with "Oh so you watch romantic comedies?" Or if someone says "I read literature" another assumes "Ah, Dan Brown novels then?" "Music you say?  So do you prefer the Beatles or Mozart?"  I'm not trying to put down the capes, we know the bad reputation of comes from the CCA guidelines which stifled creativity and left no room to be edgy or thought provoking.

 Art... by Art!
 Art... by Art!
I'm happy for comics to be comics.  There's no need, reason, rhyme or point to justify it by trying to squeeze it into an already established category.  Justify it, instead, with examples of comics you've read and found great. Especially those that don't conform to someones idea of capes and cataclsymic catastrophe.  I always hold up Maus (history), I Killed Adolf Hitler(hell, when you think about it Rom-Com), The Walking Dead(horror), Fables(fantasy), Sin City (crime/thriller) or Alan Moore ( everything) as just a few stalwarts of excellence.
In the same way a painting can make you think, a film can make you scared, video game make you laugh or a novel make you cry; a comic book can open up worlds you never could have thought of yourself.   Therein lies the legitimacy of comics as a seperate category.
I don't need this faux-approval of critics from the other mediums or those who've never read a comic. I don't need to insist on calling it a 'Graphic Novel' every time because it sounds more adult.  And I certainly don't need to legitimise a love for approval of others.  So can we drop this need for approval? Strangely those trying to make it look more adult to the outside are the ones acting childish whining, 'Nuh, uh! It's not a comic, it's a graphic novel!' to others whose preconceptions are in fact the only childish thing about the whole debate.
Let comics be comics! 
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Spider-man musical is 'epic flop'

Well over at the BBC, they're reporting about the Spider-man musical.  I long thought U2 couldn't ruin everything I love and then they made an attack on comics with their musical.  Well, Paul (his name's not Bono, it's Paul.  If everyone insisted on being called a name of their choice there would be a sh** load more  'Dr McAwesome's) .  His displeasure is my pleasure.  It's not nice, I know but his arrogance makes me want to vomit blood.
Although that said, I do feel sorry for the actors who were left hanging, they seem to be genuinely nice people.  But, they sided with Paul and David (the Edge, really!?) so they work for the devil now.

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