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The Zombie Hunters
Jenny (left) and Sammie (right), about to kick some undead ass "Years after the crippling outbreak that turned most of the human population into undead, a small community of survivors have taken up residence on an island, home to the abandoned facilities of the Argus Research Campus."
—LOG ENTRY #1536
The Zombie Hunters
by Jenny Romanchuk, running since late 2006, set in the
. Originally conceived as a private
comic for herself and
, after they featured in a funny dream involving zombies, Romanchuk posted some strips online, then decided to
the concept when they were well-received. It updates weekly on Mondays and occasionally Thursdays. It can be read
The story centers on a
crew of young, government-sponsored
, (the eponymous "
carrier Zombie Infectees
dividing their time between coping with their
at home, and trying
not to get bitten
of zombies. When not fighting for their lives,
searching for salvage
, they're training in
who chafes as much at having to work
with his juniors
as he does at their treatment of him. Alongside all this, A.R.C
doctors and scientists
keep working to
Find the Cure
keep technology running, Red Halos keep order, and ordinary civilians go about their lives.
It all sounds perfectly reasonable and civilized. It isn't.
(The comic is rated R for violence, disturbing images, coarse language, and the occasional zomboobie)
This webcomic provides examples of: Action Girl: Jenny, Maureen, Sammie. Action Prologue: "Time to run." Action Survivor: The Zombie Hunters. The ones that live, anyway. After the End: If not after than at least in the midst of The End. All There in the Manual: A significant amount of background information can be found on the website. Ambiguously Jewish: Dr. Isaac Mercer already. Apocalypse How: Class 1: Human Die-Back, but only just. In this near-future Post- Zombie Apocalypse, The Virus was a Depopulation Bomb, humans are an Endangered Species, and Earth is overrun by The Undead. The struggle to avoid a full-bore Class 2 is a driving force in the plot. becoming Art Evolution: In the early chapters, the character designs were simpler, with some Animesque stylistic conventions, particularly during comedic moments. Beginning at Chapter Three, and coinciding with the plot's turn for the dark, the designs become more realistic and the atmosphere more gritty and detailed. Art Shift: The details get cranked up to 11 whenever a zombie shows up. On the other hand, Animesque facefaults still manifest at given comedic moments. Author Avatar: Badass: Wastelanders, which many Zombie Hunters are. Basically, the known survivors who were surviving without ARC. Bald of Awesome: Charlie. Bald of Evil: Charlie again. Before he was a 'half-life'. Battle Couple: Jenny and Milo before the accident Battle Cry: " Battle Cry!" Beware the Nice Ones: Black Eyes of Crazy + Glowing Eyelights of Undeath = Uh-oh. Black Speech: The zombies' grunts and moans. Body-Count Competition Body Horror Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Mocked here.
Show your best sides at the same time! Spine Removal!
Break the Cutie: Happened to Jenny and Katie at some point in the past. The long flashback gets around to depicting the events in question. Bullet Proof Fashion Plate: Charlie, especially his labcoat. Lampshaded in this strip California Doubling: Romanchuk uses Sault Ste. Marie Ontario for wherever her Hunters travel. Casual Danger Dialog: Jenny and Sammie, to the point where other characters start asking them to shut up. Chaotic Stupid: Chaotic Shortbus; one of the Red Halo guys riding with Maureen levies this accusation against Jenny and her cadre in the first arc. Maureen doesn't disagree. Chekhov's Gunman: Milo and James turn up in the ARC propaganda film a full chapter ahead of their introduction. The Chew Toy: Jameson. Cloudcuckoolander: Katie, again. She's always been a little off, but it's recently been revealed that she's a severe PTSD-case and . Her style of hallucinates zombies when frightened being friendly is likely a result of this. Cluster F-Bomb: Take out the profanity and the script gets a lot shorter. Corrupt the Cutie: Katie. She goes from a skirt-wearing, well-manicured young woman to an unkempt Bad Ass Long Coat tomboy in the span of ~11 months. Milo's death probably has something to do with it. Pretty sure James's death didn't help either. As bad as those are, they probably can't beat Katie disemboweling a Raider. With a sword. Cosy Catastrophe: The survivors at ARC. Could Have Been Messy: When Jameson's mom showed up. Cradling Their Kill: Mercy Zombies. The Dead Have Eyes: A new Basilisk zombie who has had his entire face eaten off is still able to use a paralyzing gaze on his victim, employing only his empty eye sockets. Debut Queue Deer in the Headlights: "Freezing up" in in-world slang. The characters have started taking bets over whether newbie zombie hunters will do this when confronted with the slavering hordes for the first time. Dirt Forcefield: Look at all that blood! Wait. Disaster Scavengers: The actual job of the so-called Zombie Hunters. Doesn't Like Guns: Charlie, as seen in this sequence. Doomed by Canon: Milo. And the kid with the Dinosaur Plush in a side arc. Earth Is a Battlefield: And humanity is losing big time. Epic Flail: Brick Flail! Battle Cry! Everything Is Trying to Kill You: Life as a Zombie Hunter is usually measured in hours—days if you're lucky. And like any good Zombie Apocalypse story, zombies are only the most obvious of the Everything. Fellow humans are nearly as bad. Expressive Shirt: Jenny's signature, much-loved orange bear hat. Faceless Goons: Most of Red Halo. Facial Horror: One way to go due to hungry zombies. Fantastic Caste System: The infected live in roach and rat infested barracks, unlike the more mobile noninfected, and only the infected are expected to serve as Zombie Hunters. Fantastic Racism: Jenny makes her attitude towards Charlie very obvious. Fascists' Bed Time: Humans infected with the dormant form of The Virus live under severely restricted conditions for the safety of the uninfected. Faux Affably Evil: Jasper Field Promotion Fingerless Gloves Five-Man Band Flipping the Bird: A common answer to annoyance. Foregone Conclusion: Milo will die. We already knew this because we are introduced to him after he's died. We see him only through flashbacks. A lot of them. Actually, now he HAS died. Foreshadowing: In spades. Four Eyes, Zero Soul: Mercer... maybe. Gallows Humor: The majority of the jokes in the series (particularly while out in the field). Genius Cripple: Megan Glass Cannon: Crawlers. Just as infectious as the rest, but nigh-harmless to the experienced. One bite is still fatal. Gorn: Mostly zombie gorn, but still. Nearly all zombie-caused deaths, as well. Guest Star Party Member: Daniel, Jasper, James ( ). extremely briefly Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Sammie Hatedom: Mrs. Walters, Jameson's mom, got one after attacking Katie out of nowhere. To the point some really wished Sammie or Maureen got to her first... The Heart: Sammie. She can sometimes appear like it. Subverted, as she is not this. Hero Antagonist: The main cast is often right off Anti-Hero generally. The Red Halos and zombie hunters don't get along. The main Halo we see is Jasper, the resident Jerkass guy. Horror Hunger How Many Fingers? Sammie: How many hallucinatory fingers am I holding up? Katie: *flips Sammie the bird* Sammie: Atta girl! Improbable Weapon User: Jenny is quite proficient with a shovel Sammie, as seen in the page image, used a brick. The below quickly followed. Improvised Weapon: Two words: Brick Flail. Infant Immortality: Averted. A short strip details a kid running away from the zombies after the initial outbreak. Eventually they find an abandoned house in the woods, the kid goes to sleep hiding under a bed and is woken by a zombie dragging him out. It's heavily implied the kid is killed. Is That What He Told You?: Jenny has one of these going on in regard to Milo's death. Arthur refers to it as an "accident," when really he ordered the hit himself. It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time: Invoked as a chapter title Jade-Colored Glasses: All the veteran zombie hunters have had most of their joy and optimism ground out of them. Jerk Ass: Jasper Jerk Ass Woobie: Charlie can be an uptight, surly jerk to pretty much everyone around him, but it's hard not to feel sorry for the poor guy as he earnestly tries to get along and relate to his new squadmates as they coldly rebuff him. Megan's pretty much the only real friend he has, and the only person who treats him like a human being. Mrs. Walters. Considering the only family she had left is dead, and all. Kill the Cutie: James Le Parkour: The Hunter zombies do this. Really silently. Male Gaze: In-comic example here. Man in White: The half-zombie is dressed in bright white - and manages to stay that way - despite his constant wading through blood and gore. He explains how this is possible while during a "fan mail" strip : he uses Gain laundry detergent between every panel. The Medic: Sammie and Megan. The Mentor: Isaac, Arthur, and Megan. Mentor Occupational Hazard: Was strongly, strongly implied to be the case for Megan for a long time. Confirmed during the flashback arc. Mercy Kill: A decently-likely necessity if you survive being — played with — by Berserkers. One of type of zombie is called a Mercy. They actively seek out the suffering, protect them from other zombies, then put them out of their misery while gently cradling them in their arms. It's both touching and terrifying. Nice Hat: Doubles as an Expressive Shirt. Night of the Living Mooks: Crawlers, which aren't dangerous unless you get within reach, or they attack . en masse Nightmare Fuel Coloring Book: A child's doodles feature bloody monstrosities labelled "Mom" and "Dad" eating his sister and dog. It's that trope's picture. Ninja: Functionally, Hunters. Excerpt from the Hunter entry:
I will always find you. Before you ever find me.
No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: The Berserker zombie's modus operandi. Noisy Guns: Averted: a gun runs out of ammunition with no accompanying sound whatsoever Noodle Incident: "The Accident," the cast's shorthand for referring to how Milo died. Turns out Japser murdered him. Not Good with People: As the cast page notes, Charlie has trouble understanding why pointing out the flaws in his teammates' plans doesn't get him any respect. Older Sidekick: The role Charlie's handlers have forced him into alongside more experienced Zombie Hunters, all of whom are under thirty. His resentment is palpable. Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Justified... there aren't a lot of scientists left. One of Us: When Romanchuk found TV Tropes (and this page), she liked it so much she saw fit to gush on Facebook. Fans knew this already, as it is mentioned several times in the non-canon side stories that Jenny (Both the comic version and the real life version) is a Firefly fan. One Head Taller: Milo and Jenny Only One Name: Charlie Our Zombies Are Different: There are at least seven different types of zombie, ranging from the shuffling, pathetic Crawler to the deadly efficient Hunter. Two other types have superabilities to paralyze or incapacitate humans, and yet another exists to give a sickeningly gentle Mercy Kill to the suffering. Perhaps the most feared are the Berserker zombies, which have near-human intelligence, are insanely strong, and like to kill slowly and creatively. Painting the Medium : Zombies get the Black Speech bubbles, whether or not they're being "translated". Parental Abandonment: It's hard to find a character with even one living parent. Personal Space Invader: Katie when being friendly. As seen in the latter Cloudcuckoolander link. Pet the Dog: Jasper defending Katie from some bullies. Lampshaded in The Rant. Pistol-Whipping Please Subscribe to Our Channel: A now-defunct "Please Vote" initiative included incentive bonus art. Plunder: What Disaster Scavengers wouldn't skim a little off the communal salvage? Or hide contraband in their bra to smuggle in on the sly? Or foolishly lead their team into a zombie-infested Red Zone while looking for things to loot? "I <3 looting" even appears as a Fun T-Shirt slogan by a Zombie Hunter. worn Police State: The Argus Research Campus (ARC) Posthumous Character: Milo and Megan Pretend We're Dead: Inverted. Charlie's Half-Human Hybrid nature allows him to stride purposefully through the groaning, shuffling zombie hordes, peevishly bellowing for his teammates, completely unmolested. Pretty Little Headshots: averted in the most gory way imaginable Put on a Bus: Daniel. He hasn't been seen since the comic began its epic flashback storyline. Justified in that he was apparently a new addition to the group— ala-Jameson—at the start of the story, and the flashback hasn't caught up to his introduction yet. Putting on the Reich: Red Halo "The Reason You Suck" Speech: On a botched mission, Charlie rants at great length how his young team-mates are all going to die since Youth Is Wasted On The Too Dumb to Live. Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Basilisk class of zombie sports red irises instead of the typical white, to denote its uniquely paralyzing gaze. Red Shirt: Several, most notably Jameson Replacement Goldfish: Jenny to Arthur Adams. The Reveal: It turns out Jasper killed Milo, apparently under Arthur's orders. Rule of Scary: Why do zombies want to eat you? Why do some want to torture you to death and others want to give you a nice deadly cuddle? Because it's fucking scarier that way, that's why. Scarpia Ultimatum: Apparently part of the deal Maureen makes with Jasper to get her friends to safety after a botched mission. Scary Shiny Glasses: Mercer does this particularly well. Scavenger World: The survivors in the Wastelands. Schedule Slip: A notable exception. Always updates on Mondays, with an occasional Thursday thrown in. Self-Insert Fic: The principle characters are based upon the comic's artist and friends (right down to their hometowns). Shoot Out the Lock Shoot the Dog: Nobody catches a break in this comic. Shout-Out:
"It's a brick flai..."
"No. No it's not."
"Well, Jenny. I have something to tell you. I see
dead people." Skirt over Slacks: Katie wears a skirt over her slacks. No one is really sure why, not even her teammates. Slasher Smile: The Manual's Berserker is a Most Triumphant ExampleCharlie had one, but he got better. Slow Motion Fall Sour Supporter: Charlie, chafing against his position as Older Sidekick and the foolhardiness and immaturity of his more seasoned, but much younger teammates. Standard Bleeding Spots: Of the over-one-eye variety. Strapped to a Hospital Bed: Charlie, the first time Jenny meets him. He wasn't quite himself at the time. Subtext: Several places. The subtext corners the text in a dark alley, beats it up, and steals its lunch money in the sequence of strips starting here. Super Speed/ Super Reflexes: Hunters and Berserkers. Taking the Bullet: Justified. Charlie puts up an arm to block a zombie bite intended for his wounded teammate Katie. Since he's a Half- Zombie, it to him. barely registers as painful Team Dad: Charlie is a dysfunctional version towards Jenny, lecturing and yelling orders he knows will go ignored, but when his teammates are threatened, he becomes brutally efficient. Team Mom: Maureen. Tear Off Your Face: One Mauve Shirt gets his face eaten off. He is alive and paralyzed during this process. He shows up in the next couple pages as a faceless zombie. Tempting Fate/ Foreshadowing: I won't be here forever, Charlie. Too Dumb to Live: A deeply frustrated Charlie's opinion of his young teammates,(Jenny in particular) after a routine mission goes FUBAR. Tranquil Fury: Mau sure looks calm for someone who probably is so mad she can't see straight. True Companions: What a good team of zombie hunters should be. Typhoid Mary: All the Infected. The Undead Undeathly Pallor: Apart from his mismatched zombie eye, this also more subtly marks Charlie as undead. Victoria's Secret Compartment: According to Sammie, the perfect place in which to smuggle beer. Jenny tries it, but... well... The Virus: D'uh. Subverted as a Zombie Infectee isn't killed by it, but they will turn upon dying (of natural causes or otherwise). Vitriolic Best Buds: Jenny and Sammie. Probably. Was Once a Man Whole Episode Flashback: 9/10ths of the comic has been told in flashback and is slowly working its way back to the present. Wimp Fight Write Who You Know: Jenny and three other Hunters were initially named and based on the author and her friends. Very quickly, the characters developed beyond those roles. Writing for the Trade You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Sammie's is an indeterminate dark blue, or possibly an artistically-represented black. Your Mom: Sammie and Jenny share some Casual Danger Dialogue. Sammie: These guys could be, like, berserker zombies. Jenny
: Heh. Berserker zombies
Sammie: In bed. Jenny: With? Both: YOUR MOM! Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: The opening arc finds the Zombie Hunters led astray into a zombie-dense "red zone," for three days straight, because the young team captain felt like doing a little looting. Zombie Apocalypse: But of course. Zombie Gait: Some zombies do the requisite shuffle and moan, but others are swift, silent, and lethal. Mercies are graceful and patient, while Berserkers are swift, loud, cruel, and lethal. Zombie Infectee: Infected humans "turn" shortly after death. The introduction of zombie saliva into the bloodstream (usually through a bite) causes an active infection which is fatal within hours. But contact with any other bodily fluid merely causes a latent infection in which the Virus remains dormant and has no real effect on the victim's health. Infected humans may spread the Virus to others but they will not die of it themselves.