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Webcomic / Dead of Summer

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Dead of Summer is a Zombie Apocalypse webcomic written by Marty 'F'nday' and Nick 'Ghostfreehood'. At the moment, it is complete, though Nick has stated that it "isn't necessarily over but for the moment. I can't say when it could return but before my life's work is over, it will be done."

The comic is divided into two distinct Books, each set in Baltimore. Book 1 revolves around the adventures of the main character, Nick, as he wakes up one morning to find the city overrun by the undead. While his major priority is to escape, he soon runs across other survivors—Marty, Dan, and Ed, to name a few. They begin to adventure across the city, killing copious zombies along the way. And that's just the beginning. Tensions rise, as does the body count, as one by one, Nick's newfound allies are killed. Soon, he's the only one of the group left. Overcome with exhaustion and guilt, contemplating suicide, he collapses as a zombie approaches.

Nick wakes up in a room, on a pile of zombified bodies. He is somehow perfectly alive and well. End Book 1.

Book 2 picks up right where Book 1 left off. Nick discovers that he's in the Baltimore Zoo, which has been taken over by the military. Dr. Alan Stone and his wife, Lydia, are scientists with a plan to destroy the zombies. But Lydia seems occupied with a dead monkey, Tito, and there's hints that Alan's not quite right in the head. Not to mention William, the head zoologist, who's bitter about the zoo being taken over. Eventually, both he and Nick are exiled into the irradiated city...

The rest really needs to be read.

The archive can be found here, the first comic can be found here, and the entire comic can be downloaded here. Currently weblinks are from the Internet Archive, as the site proper has been hacked.

No relation to the TV series of the same name. Nor does it have any relation to the oppositely-named Dead of Winter and Dead Winter.note 

Dead of Summer contains examples of:

  • And I Must Scream: A comic page has this as the title, and it does happen with Panther, who's found at the bottom of a cliff, tied up, with a bag over his head. As revealed in his inner monologue, however, he starts screaming in the hopes that anyone can hear him.
    "If they can hear me, they can help me. Please, God... let them hear me."
    • In a straighter example, one can only wonder if KILROY was conscious of the fact that he'd been reprogrammed to explode and kill everyone.
  • Anyone Can Die: Since it's a Zombie Apocalypse, it's natural that both good guys and bad guys bite it now and then.
  • Arch-Enemy: Doug Fetterman, to Panther. A background character comments that 'they want[ed] each other dead.'
  • Art Evolution: Book 2 has a much cleaner art style.
  • Bears Are Bad News: How do you make a grizzly bear even scarier? Make it a ZOMBIE!
  • Bee-Bee Gun: While the type of insect isn't specified, Commander is on the receiving end of this in Book 2.
  • Big Bad: The zombies, but also Alan Stone. A case can also be made for Doug Fetterman.
  • Body Horror: What Alan becomes.
  • Breakout Character: The Protomen. According to the comic's author, their integration was secondary, as originally, the characters in Book 2 were going to be just a group of people who lived underground. They soon became major characters, and have drawn many fans to the site for the sole reason that they're the Protomen.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Invoked, and lampshaded. Doubles as a very funny moment.
  • Camera Fiend: Matt.
  • The Chessmaster: Alan and Fetterman.
  • Cloning Blues: Averted; the clone is homicidal, loyal to the baddies, and proud of it.
  • Cool Bike: Nick and Marty find these. Commander rides one, too.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: It has a lot of deaths, being a Zombie Apocalypse story. One among them stands out, though. Getting your eyes torn out, then having a huge electrical wire jammed into your mouth.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Nick, at points. The Protomen are also this, Heath Who Hath No Name in particular.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: The poem is referenced.
    "We will not go quietly into the night!"
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Ed picks up a huge rock and throws it, crushing zombies... but causing a cave-in, which swiftly becomes a flood.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Nick has this happen, but it's more like 'Dreaming Of Things Happening Now.'
  • Driven to Suicide: Nick at the end of Book 1.
  • Drowning Pit: This happens to Ed and Dan in the end of Book 1.
  • Drunk with Power: Used as a page title as Doug Fetterman does some Evil Gloating, though it's closer to Drunk on the Dark Side.
  • Evil Brit: One of the bad guys in Book 2 has a British accent. As expected, he's evil.
  • Evil Chancellor: Doug Fetterman. Though it's a slight subversion in that the other characters know he's evil.
  • Evil Plan: Doug Fetterman's scheme to take over.
  • Evil Twin: More specifically, a robotic clone of Panther.
  • Eye Scream: Done by Panther's clone to Dr. Light.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Panther. Or not. That Panther was an evil clone, as part of Fetterman's Evil Plan.
  • For Science!: Said verbatim by Alan as he injects himself with the 'cure' for zombism. It doesn't end well.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Lydia has shades of this. This also includes being a friend to undead things, at least as far as animals go.
  • Groin Attack: Used multiple times on Matt, with Len getting so fed up he tells the girls to stop.
  • Guinea Pig Family: After the aforementioned 'For science!' moment, Alan injects Lydia, his wife, with the cure.
  • Ideal Illness Immunity: Early in Book 2, it's revealed Nick is immune to being turned into a zombie, and his cells actually regenerate stronger than before.
  • Just in Time: The real Panther returns just in time to disarm a Time Bomb, and Ed returns to save everyone from a zombie grizzly bear.
  • Kill and Replace: This is, presumably, part of Doug Fetterman's plan with the Panther clone. Thanks to Tito and Otis, he fails.
  • Kirby Dots: Seen a couple times in Book 2.
  • Ludicrous Gibs
  • Life Embellished: Nick and Marty, anyone? Played with in that Marty the character ends up dead.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Alan Stone. Also his wife, Lydia, to an extent.
  • Meaningful Name: Lampshaded by William:
    'There was no one more soulless than Dr. Alan Stone.'
  • Mistaken for Dead: Nick is this at the end of Book 1.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Kaylee and Emma in Book 1. Lydia has moments of this in Book 2.
  • My Secret Pregnancy: Lydia does this; the father is William. Played with in that Alan soon finds out, and may have known from the beginning.
  • New Era Speech: Doug Fetterman delivers one in Book 2; he's interrupted by the crowd before he can finish.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Nick has one of these in Book 2. The beginning is especially horrific.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Averted. Zombie versions of some bands, both local and famous, appear in Book 1.
  • Non-Action Big Bad: Doug Fetterman. This may explain some of why he's evil; he didn't get any cool powers.
  • Not Himself: To fans of The Protomen, Panther's actions will induce confusion and fear. While breaking a bad guy's finger is pretty cool, something doesn't seem right. The Eye Scream, done to Dr. Light, sinks it. And if that doesn't unsettle you, The Reveal of his Face–Heel Turn will. Though he's literally not himself.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Alan. While not physically imposing at first, he beats the tar out of a sympathetic character, and is revealed to have Sinister Surveillance almost everywhere, which lets him know a great deal of secrets. A crossing of the Moral Event Horizon later and it's hard to remember that he seemed wimpy at first. Doug Fetterman and his lackeys have some of this too.
    • More on Fetterman. His two henchmen don't even get names, all three are portrayed as Large Hams, and you figure they're no match for the good guys... Then they assault Commander with a swarm of insects, fry KILROY'S brain and reformat him into a time bomb, and reveal that Panther is apparently working for them. As Panther kills Dr. Light, ripping out his eyes. And then you realize the extent of Fetterman's Evil Plan.
  • One-Hit Kill: Done to most zombies, as well as to Panther's clone.
  • Painful Transformation: Alan and Lydia undergo this.
  • Playing with Syringes: Alan and Lydia both do this, with Alan being more malicious in intent.
  • Professor Guinea Pig: Alan is this, testing a potentially dangerous 'cure' for zombism on himself. It turns him into a monster.
  • The Protomen: Nick and Marty saw a show while working on the comic. In the actual comic, they become key characters. Seriously.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Alan does this, after turning himself into a monster and Lydia into a zombie.
  • Raising the Steaks: Zombified animals are seen in Book 2, the most dangerous being a grizzly bear.
  • Reckless Sidekick: Matt, due to his love of taking pictures. Doesn't make his zombification and subsequent death any less sad.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: KILROY is this... until the mask comes off.
  • Rip Van Winkle: At the end of Book 1, Nick collapses from exhaustion. When he wakes up, the other characters explain that he's been out for about a year. Notable in that as far as we know, they're not lying.
  • Shock and Awe: What The Protomen's powers seem to be.
  • Shoot the Dog: Done to Zombie Infectees.
    • Officer Len does it to himself after being bitten.
  • Single-Stroke Battle: More literal than usual, as Panther's clone doesn't even get a chance to move before being destroyed.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Alan Stone not only has cameras IN the zoo, but outside it as well.
  • Spanner in the Works: Tito and Otis save the real Panther, who in turn saves everyone else from Doug Fetterman's backup plan.
  • Spontaneous Crowd Formation: At Fetterman's assembly, the crowd turns into an Angry Mob... which turns into a passive crowd again as the heroes step forward.
  • Spot the Imposter: Averted. The deal with Panther and his clone may seem to be leading into this, but it's over with one strike.
  • Survivor Guilt: Nick engages in this near the end of Book 1.
  • Take That!: One delivered at the Bush Administration here.
  • The Swarm: Seen here and in the first panel here.
  • This Is Not a Drill: Seen in this strip.
  • Time Bomb: KILROY is converted into this. Most likely unwillingly.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Doug Fetterman fills this role. Unlike most examples, it's Played for Drama.
  • Total Party Kill: At the end of Book 1.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Alan and Lydia.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Ed, who returns in Book 2 at the last second.
  • The Unfought: Doug Fetterman. This makes his status unknown, though he can be presumed dead.
  • The Usurper: Doug Fetterman wants to be this, but his attempt at controlling the populace ends in a riot.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Subverted; Doug Fetterman only wishes he was this. Played straighter with the clone of Panther.
  • Wham Episode: The ending of Book 1, as well as the introduction of The Protomen in Book 2.
    • In Book 2, there's the 'noctural activities' sequence, where good guys get horrific injuries inflicted upon them, bad guys set up their evil plans, and Panther makes a Face–Heel Turn. Or does he?
  • What Happened To the Girls?: The girls in Book 1 disappear from the story after being knocked out by Ed. Given that this is a Zombie Apocalypse, we can presume they were eaten.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Explored with the character of Tito, who happens to be a monkey and, later, a zombie.
  • The Worm That Walks: While it's not made clear, one of Doug Fetterman's lackeys may be one of these. He can summon a swarm of insects seemingly out of nowhere (the art suggests they either come from around him or inside him), and have them attack. Commander is swarmed and bitten so much his movements are slowed, and he screams that they're eating him alive.
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Naturally.