This week, courtesy of the TV Network’s ad for Zombie Ranch, we give you the in-comic answer to the biggest question people have had since the story started. Why ranch zombies? Why keep these horribly dangerous creatures around, risking death (or worse than death) every time you handle them? The occasional rodeo can’t possibly be enough justification, can it?

You’re right, it’s not. As the trope goes, Our Zombies Are Different. Our zombies can cure cancer.

Now that’s simplifying things considerably — but you can get the gist, even through the haze of feel-good mass media fluff in that advertisement. Zombies are a pharmaceutical cornucopia. You ever heard of the term “black gold” applied to oil? Well, “green gold” might not be far off when talking of zombies.  Unlike with Jed Clampett it’s not something that’ll make you a millionaire overnight, but there’s enough potential reward to make the risks worthwhile.

Also, if you’re getting any vibes from the last couple of comics that remind you of the kooky ads seen in movies like Robocop, I will plead guilty to the influence; although I could just as easily plead influence from some of those medication ads that cheerfully list off dozens of horrible possible side-effects while puppies and children bound around in meadows.

The media, especially in advertising, has always been a strange beast when it comes to unpleasant topics. There’s a huge tendency to sugarcoat the situation. For example, there’s Speedy the Alka-Seltzer mascot, putting his creepy anthropomorphic smiley face to digestional problems since the 1950’s. Or the Massengill ladies fretting about their “not-so-fresh” feeling, or the Charmin bears frolicking with their toilet paper.

How about the Foster Farms chickens? Commercial after commercial featuring two puppet birds whose only purpose in life seems to be trying every trick possible to get themselves eaten — I guess because they have an inferiority complex to the chickens actually getting slaughtered for food. This is the kind of stuff that’s actually been out on the airwaves, to the point that when I’m writing my own versions of it I wonder less if I’m going too far, and more if I’m not going far enough.

In other news, I spent some time last week reorganizing the site to be more navigable, especially to new people. Some folks never look at About/Cast pages, but others do so before they even start reading, so I’m hoping the new layout gives a nice one-stop experience on that score. If anyone has further suggestions, feel free to speak up in the comments, email us, or even leave them on our forum.

Oh, and one more thing, per request the “Zombie Ranch Theme Song” has now been made available as a download link in our Extras section (in addition to the streaming flash version). Right-click-save-as, and enjoy!