'Walking Dead' Culture: Why Are We So Fascinated With Zombies?

Let's face it: "The Walking Dead" is just about the hottest property out there (read more about the show at MTV Splashpage). Whether it's the AMC TV series, the comics, the toys, and other ancillary merch -- zombies are where it's at (here's hoping mermaids make a big comeback in a few years). Why is the public so obsessed with the adventures of Rick Grimes and his rag-tag band of humans trying to survive the zombie apocalypse? As I strolled through slowly wove my way amidst the teeming hordes of pop-culture fans at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this year, I asked myself those very questions. And took a few snapshots.

If you were a "Walking Dead" fan at SDCC this year, there was plenty for you to do. First, you could take your picture as one of Michonne's chained-up zombies:

This was an incredibly popular con activity. Young couples and whole families lined up for the chance to be on Michonne's leash.

Then, you could get your face painted as an actual zombie. (Though actually, you should have done this before you visited Michonne's booth):

For the more adventurous "WD" fan, San Diego's Petco Park was turned into an entire zombie obstacle course, entitled "Walking Dead Escape". As MTV Splashpage described the experience:

"'Escape' isn't necessarily filled with scares at every turn, but it is filled with horrific sights, the stuff that nightmares are made of. I've always felt that 'Walking Dead' itself isn't about the scares so much as it is about the stomach-churning hopeless terror, and in that regard, 'Escape' is a very visceral, very faithful adaptation."

Of course, there were plenty of zombie cosplayers at the show; some even demanding "equal rights" for the undead:

Again: why the fascination with zombies? Further: why the fascination with other dystopian post-apocalyptic narratives, such as "Hunger Games" and "Revolution"?

Is it really about the putrid armies of the undead? Or is it really about ourselves -- the "survivors"? The ones who live in tent cities:

Twilight fans camp out to be the first in line for "Hall H"

Who march, seemingly aimlessly, to one "approved center" to another by the Authorities:

Every morning, fans eager to attend the most popular panels had to be carefully marched

Who line up and scrounge for valuable items of survival:

A promotional water-bottle giveaway for NBC's "Revolution"

And at any moment, throngs of bodies could suddenly amass around you...

...a tangle of grasping arms and hands:

"Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus ambushed by fans outside San Diego hotel

Maybe I'm just looking too hard at this subject. Sometimes, a zombie is just a zombie. or it could have just been that bath salts dude. Who knows?

Well, next year: definitely mermaids.

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