Zombies and Phones. It's Two, Two, Two Rants in One!

...Hold on, I got a text.... OK, sorry

I have to admit something. I hate zombies. And by "hate" I don't mean that I'm afraid of them or the zombie apocalypse or whatever. I just find zombies as a trend, an interest, a constant topic of conversation to be incredibly tiresome and off-putting. The thing is, I've enjoyed my share of horror and apocalypse movies, I even had my own zombie character back in the day (more on that in a bit). But before the advent of the Internet, the subject of zombies wasn't addressed by even the most devoted of horror movie fans EVERY DAY. The walking dead were just one of many horror movie monsters. Now, thanks to social media and the web, I can't go six hours without hearing about zombies. RAAAARRR! That was not a zombie noise. That's me losing my mind over all the talk about zombies!

And let's face it, creative types, isn't Zombie-_____  just too easy? Zombies go hand-in-cold-and-clammy hand with curly mustaches and bacon as the current "go-to" references that can get creators some laughs and attention. Yes, you can throw a bunch of pop culture references into a hat, pull one out and add "zombie". Boom, you've got a character that might get you 10,000 "likes" on Facebook but what are you trying to tell the world with Zombie-Presidents? Zombie-Darth Vader or Zombie-Hello Kitty? I don't know if anyone really knows. 

Wow, I just pulled  Zombie-Presidents, Zombie-Darth Vader and Zombie-Hello Kitty out of my butt. A Google search bring up about half a million hits on these. While "Stay-at-Home-Mom-Darth Vader" gets NO hits. Interesting.


Rock on, ZombiElvis!

Like I said, I've done it myself. Here's a character I came up with when I was 19, ZombiElvis. He was originally a character I made out of twisty balloons, then I painted him on my leather jacket. Balloon ZombiElvis starred in a short film and later on, an animated 3D short. But by 2003 he had run his course. I could do better. 

So when Travis Louie asked me to be part of his zombie themed group show in NYC what do you think I said?

"HELL YES!! Thank you, Travis! Wow, what an honor."

Travis Louie is the real deal, man. He is absolutely a modern-day master. His craftsmanship is unparalleled and his characters are truly his own. I will gladly be part of any project he is heading.

But what about the fact that I'm not really into zombies? Well, that's fine. The show gave me a chance to vent about another subject that bothers me: Smart phone zombies. Living in San Francisco means walking everywhere. Within the last few years there has been a fundamental change in the way people behave in public. Isn't that bizarre!? People now walk through town with their heads down and a look on their face like an 8-year-old gets watching Spongebob Squarepants.

Hey! Look up! You're heading right for me and I don't want to kiss you.

When looking around at  restaurants don't you mourn a little for the moments between friends and family that are being lost to these little glowing distractions? I do. We're only here, on Earth for so long. I want to make the best of every moment. Besides, whoever is texting us probably doesn't care about us as much as the people who have actually made time to be with us RIGHT NOW.

Again, don't get me wrong, I have an iPhone. Shit, I even have my own App. I'm just saying let's not let them consume our lives. Whenever we pick up that phone we're deciding not to do something else. We're deciding to not spend that time working on that next invention, making a new friend at the bus stop (it could happen) or drawing a cool picture of  Zombie-toast.

 -Ben Walker