Here we are, faithful readers, your first glimpse of a Safe Zone! For those of you who never read the ‘About the Story‘ section or the Setting FAQ, it might in fact be the first exposure you’ve had that there are Safe Zones.

No big problem there, you just had to wait a bit longer for us to get around to it. Exposition is a tricky business, especially when you start in media res (fancy talk for “in the middle of things”) like Zombie Ranch does. I know a lot of people out there are still champing at the bit to know the big reason why the zombies are being wrangled and herded, and that’s coming up really soon. Again, those that wanted to brave the wall o’ text in the FAQ have the answers already, but I’m a big believer in making sure people don’t have to go outside the comic to understand the comic — eventually, anyhow. Like I said, exposition is tricky and I want to avoid clumsily shoving it down peoples’ throats when they’d rather be enjoying the story. Only time will tell if I’m getting the balance right.

Also, although the poll I put up last week has been steadily deadlocked between those who believe Zeke’s fate should be taken into account on the cast page, and those who think otherwise, by far the most popular response is from people unaware that there even was a cast page. Whoops. It appears our layout has certain flaws.

But hey, that was a question that nagged at me, so it’s good to have it addressed. Looks like we need to rearrange some buttons to make important elements more accessible. For all I know there are people who would have wanted to read the FAQ but didn’t realize there was one of those, either. Can you tell it’s our first webcomic?

So thanks to everyone who responded! I’m still not sure what to do about Zeke since it seems like either option is going to make a certain segment unhappy, though of course I’m trending towards the “don’t change it” crowd since it means less work. Maybe I’ll leave the poll up awhile longer, and see what people think once the cast page link is more visible.

Anyhow, we’re back, and if the level of technology evident in today’s comic surprises you, just remember those floating camera drones have to come from somewhere (not to mention there’s certain areas of cities today that already look a lot like the above). Life in the Safe Zones is wonderful, as those that run them will be quick to tell you. In this Zone, one of the more corporate examples, it’s possible you might feel a little intruded on by commercial interests. Maybe you might even consider it something of an eyesore. But hey, if being constantly bombarded by talking, animated ads in STUNNING 3-D isn’t your thing, you’re welcome to a life out in the Wild, Wild Waste.

“Comparable to or better than” can mean a lot of things, after all.