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Literature / The Extinction Parade

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The Extinction Parade is a story by Max Brooks, author of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, about vampires in a Zombie Apocalypse battling to save their food source from being devoured by the less glamorous kind of undead. It features many of the same themes that World War Z used, namely the world's (especially the Western world's) dependence on fragile supply chains that are vulnerable to resource shortages, Global Warming, and other disruptions, only this time in an Urban Fantasy setting with "the First World" and "oil" swapped out for "vampires" and "human blood".

The Extinction Parade began life as a short story published by The Daily Beast and in a collection by Brooks, Closure, Limited and Other Stories from the Zombie Wars, and was later adapted into a comic book published by Avatar Press with artwork by Raulo Caceres.


  • Bloodier and Gorier: No vampire vs. zombie comic will be complete without blood.
  • Canon Foreigner: Willem, the human servant to the narrator and Laila, was introduced in the comic book.
  • Cool Versus Awesome: The premise is essentially "vampires vs. zombies".
  • Creator Provincialism: Averted. While The Zombie Survival Guide and, to a lesser extent, World War Z both heavily focused on the United States (to the point where the latter even lampshaded it), The Extinction Parade is set entirely in Malaysia.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Happens to a lot of people who became zombie chow.
  • Defector from Decadence: Nguyen, a student of French existentialism who had come to reject his fellow vampires' "live fast, die never" worldview. He is the first one of them to realize that the zombies are as much a threat to vampires as they are to humanity.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: As in World War Z, the Zombie Apocalypse is heavily used as a metaphor for peak oil and climate change.
  • Downer Ending: At the end of the short story, Malaysia is overrun, Laila and the rest of the vampires are dead, and the narrator is alone and wondering whether vampires and humanity will survive.
  • Driven to Suicide: Willem does this to make a point to the vampires. Sick of having been abused by them all his life, and figuring that they'd abandon him anyway, he throws himself to the zombies, but not before giving them a furious "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: How Willem feels towards his vampire masters. It's why he kills himself.
  • Everybody's Dead, Dave: Prior to the main outbreak, small outbreaks were reported in Malaysia and Australia. As time goes by, news reports show zombies in Vancouver and Toronto. Once scene show the discussing about the outbreak, which has now spread to Russia, France, Mexico, India, and everywhere else in the world.
  • Hold the Line: One safe zone which houses a refugee center has only a bridge as its passage. The bridge is blocked with two buses and several trucks. Remaining Malaysian Army soliders, SWAT, police officers, and civilian volunteers attempt to fight off the zombie horde, only for it to form a Human Ladder and spill right over the barricade.
  • Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: A variation. For vampires, hunting humans comes naturally, so when they want to change it up, they hunt rich people, those who can't just "disappear" so easily without somebody noticing. The real "game" is in covering up their deaths, making them look like accidents, suicides, muggings gone wrong, or crimes of passion.
  • The Immune: The vampires, in more ways than one. Not only can they recover from being exposed to infected zombie fluids (a great help when fighting hand-to-hand like they prefer), but the zombies can't even sense them, as they too are undead.
  • Legacy of Service: Willem's family has served the vampires for generations, as have many other vampires' Renfields.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: The vampires are this compared to the zombies; while they see humans as a food source and nothing more, they at least have personalities, which makes it possible to root for them, unlike the mindless zombies. They also at least have some interest in the continued survival of humanity, since without humans they would starve.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Several scenes in the comic depict the different armies of the world attacking zombies only to be mutilated and torn apart. In the 4th Book, there are scenes where both police and the Malaysian Army fight a horde of zombies in Kuala Lumpur. The military uses techniques such as jet bombers, flamethrowers, assault weapons, and other tactics that are meant to kill humans but not zombies. However, it should be noted that some soldiers were seen shooting and rifle-butting zombies in the head.
    • A flashback later in the comic depicts the Malaysian High Command plotting strategy after the fall of Kuala Lumpur, regrouping their forces and seemingly adapting their strategy to combat the zombie threat... only to be massacred to a man when Nguyen and his vampire army seize their command centre, taking it for their own. So the Malaysian Army ultimately was useless... but only because their leadership was decapitated, leaving them leaderless and disorganized, hence easy prey for the zombie hordes.
  • Missing White Woman Syndrome: The reason why vampires use the poor as their main food source. When a middle-class (or, God forbid, upper-class) person goes missing, it typically sparks a manhunt, forcing the vampire to devote considerable resources to covering up the death as something mundane. When a poor person goes missing, however, it's usually chalked up to street crime, with few outside the victim's family paying it any mind.
  • More Dakka: A group of vampires found firearms and use it to mow down zombies with ease.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both the narrator and Laila in the comic.
  • No Name Given: The narrator, to the point where it's only in the comic where her gender is made obvious.
  • Nostalgia Filter: The narrator describes the Emergency and the 1969 race riots in Malaysia through such a lens. They sucked for humans, obviously, but for vampires like her and Laila, they were a buffet, as the backdrop of war and civil unrest made it easy to get away with murder.
  • Not Using the Zed Word: Vampires call zombies "subdead".
  • Our Vampires Are Different: The Must Be Invited rule is a load of bull, though the narrator and Laila do make a pretense towards it in one instance, just to make the hunt more interesting. Also, as undead creatures, they're invisible to zombies and partially immune to The Virus; while they will get sick if directly exposed to zombie fluids, it's not fatal and will eventually pass.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: They pretty much follow the "rules" laid out in The Zombie Survival Guide, albeit with No Zombie Cannibals extended to all undead, including vampires. The narrator even notes how ridiculous the idea of such zombies destroying the world should be on paper, saying that it's only because the world had grown so interconnected, and the people so apathetic, that the zombie plague managed to spread so far and so fast. Other vampires note that every prior outbreak had been easily put down by humans, and go on to believe that this one will be no different.
  • Police Are Useless: During the early days of the outbreak, the police along with the Malaysian Army attempted to cover up small scale outbreaks in towns outside Kuala Lumpur. As more zombies started pouring in, we can see them enforcing curfews and shooting anyone in sight. However, just like their military counterparts, they do not use tactics that kill zombies, instead deploy riot shields officers and SWAT officers to reinforce the Army. It does not end well.
  • The Renfield: The vampires use human servants to manage and put a living human face on their finances, as well as to cover up their misdeeds. Most of them are recruited through promises of wealth or eternal life, or through simple intimidation. The narrator and her partner Laila have one that they call Willem (real name Mohammed Ishak), whose family has served them in this capacity for several generations.
  • Scenery Gorn: This is how Kuala Lumpur looks when the vampires revisit the overrun city. Burned out buildings, dead and decaying bodies of zombies and victims torn apart, discarded weapons and equipment, and broken cars litter the lifeless streets.
  • Screw the War, We're Partying: The vampires eagerly exploit the collapse of civilization to go on a rampage. It's shown that they did the same thing during The Dark Ages after the collapse of Rome.
  • Shown Their Work: Max Brooks was able to accurately portray Malaysia in his story. In one chapter, a SWAT officer asks the vampires to show their MyKads, a type of citizen ID for Malaysian citizens.
  • Shout-Out: The narrator's final speech to Laila is very reminiscent of the artilleryman in War of the Worlds.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Nguyen accuses his fellow vampires of being this, using the Zombie Apocalypse as an excuse to feast rather than show any concern about the fact that their food source may well be wiped out by the zombies.
    • Ironically, Nguyen becomes this later on when he organizes his "army", with said army being utterly incompetent and unfamiliar with the most basic tenets of warfare (including such basic matters like knowing how to maintain the base's generator). Worse, in building his army he wiped out the Malaysian military high command in order to get his base, thereby leaving the Malaysian human survivors leaderless and the whole of Malaysia to be overrun by zombies.
  • Undead Child: Already mentioned above, zombie children and babies add ranks to the ever-growing horde.
  • Vampires Are Rich: Goes hand-in-hand with a populist, anti-elitist streak. The narrator describes vampires as parasites who contributed nothing to society while exploiting its weakest and most vulnerable members, targeting poor people as food because their disappearance wouldn't arouse as much suspicion. She laments the fact that vampires grew fat and lazy subsisting on easy prey rather than learning how to live off of tougher prey in the form of the rich and middle-class; instead, they treated killing rich people as a mere sport, and simply fled to the Third World once the West no longer had enough desperately poor people to sate their appetites.
  • Your Vampires Suck:
    • The narrator gets off some jabs at Dracula when discussing how some vampires in the West literally call their human servants "Renfield". Also, when she describes human love as "an apologetic perfume for the stench of human lust", one of the images used is of The Twilight Saga.
    • With the zombies, meanwhile, several vampires mock the idea that slow, clumsy, stupid shamblers could ever destroy human civilization. Much like in World War Z, it's the weaknesses of humanity, not anything innate to the zombies themselves, that allow the zombie plague to grow to truly apocalyptic proportions; before, they'd managed to put down zombie outbreaks with ease.
  • Wretched Hive: What becomes of Kuala Lumpur after being overrun with zombies. One of the vampires mentions Singapore also looks like this. At this point, it is safe to assume that all major cities in the world have turned into such.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: It started in Southeast Asia, and rapidly spread around the world.