I stumbled upon an interesting little factoid from a webcomic today.
It’s generally assumed that the modern Zombie apocalypse trope (disease/radiation/whatever turns people into brain-munching monsters, spreading the infection with each brain that gets munched) was started by George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. Not so!
Yeah, les Schtroumpfs! The Smurfs! In the first book, Les Schtroumpfs Noir, a Smurf is infected by a disease that turns him black, non-verbal and agressive. He’s then compelled to spread it through biting.
The story ends with a small band of survivors forced to do battle with a wave of infected descending upon them.
AKA: the modern zombie apocalypse scenario, and one that predates Romero’s by a good nine years!
(from Ménage à 3, December 13, 2008).