It's been a big year for the zombie. In 2011, the whole zombie apocalyptic concept has been growing and this year, it hit an all-time high.
2011, however, certainly isn't the first year that pop culture has seen the zombie. Some would place its birth decades ago, when theatergoers saw the 1968 classic by George Romero, "Night of the Living Dead."
In 2010, "The Walking Dead" debuted and this year, became even more popular and was quickly scooped up for a third season. This show may have brought the zombie to a more mainstream audience.
Even widely popular video games have picked up on the idea and made alternative versions of their games to include "walkers," along with zombie-themed games like "Dead Island," a first-person shooter. The game's trailer became very popular on YouTube.
The "Resident Evil" franchise released another film, which was released on DVD?at the end of last year. This year, news sparked of a new release coming in 2012, continuing the video-game-to-movie relationship.
Sitcoms and other television shows jumped on the zombie bandwagon trend and included them in their plot lines. Even a battle-reality show "Deadliest Warrior" (SpikeTV) ended its season with a vampires-versus-zombies episode.
MTV thought it would be a good idea to create and air "Death Valley," which I promptly started watching. It reminds me of "Reno 911" (Comedy Central), but with zombies, vampires and werewolves. I also quit watching it some time ago, since it's not as fun as the ideas that come from classic zombie movies like "Shaun of the Dead" or "Fido."
Zombies were seen pedaling products, too. The most recognizable television commercials were probably for Toshiba, where a small electrical error sent the world into a zombie apocalypse and Volkswagen, which featured a working-joe, happy-go-lucky zombie, instead of a hungry-for-brains type.
I have even seen zombies being used as marketing tools to sell ammunition.
The Center for Disease Control realized how much of an impact zombies were making in society, too.
The assistant surgeon general Ali S. Khan wrote a blog for the CDC titled "Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse," which described to readers what to do during a zombie apocalypse. It's genius, because what he really is doing is trying to reach out and educate people on disaster survival.
World Zombie Day, which is an unofficial day and in its third year, has gotten bigger and become more popular worldwide.
The day is devoted to a large gathering of people who dress and act like zombies. Countries and cities compete every year to not only beat the record of number of zombies gathered, but in places like Pittsburgh (where the idea was born) collect food to help end world hunger. Real food is gathered ... not brains.
This year was Williamsport's first taste of the zombie invasion. An event in the form of a bar crawl was created on a social network and zombies and zombie-likes invaded the city on the day before Halloween.
Speaking of social-networking, groups have popped up all over the internet. These social sites want members to be trained in the art of zombie eradication or just want to inform others of the pending apocalypse.
Perhaps my favorite zombie-related show aired this past Halloween, when the History Channel jumped on the bandwagon with "Zombies: A Living History."
The show reviewed the rise of the zombie in old and modern cultures and the obsession of the apocalyptic end of man from an outbreak of "walkers."
The show featured interviews with zombie literature king Max Brooks, author of hit "World War Z," and even Roger Ma, author of "The Zombie Combat Manual," who showed the audience how to combat zombies with the right weapon and with everyday items found around your house.
Speaking of authors, walk into any book store and you're sure to find a paperback with zombie in the title or highlighted on the back cover.
So, cheers to more years when the zombies creep, leg-drag and shuffle into our pop culture.