May is Zombie Awareness Month and one organization stands at the forefront of preparing the world for the oncoming zombie apocalypse. The Zombie Research Society is the brainchild of Matt Mogk, an author who has come to be known as one of the world’s leading experts on zombies.
Mogk said the society grew from his own curiosity about a hypothetical zombie outbreak.
“I was working at a disease research company in downtown Los Angeles, and I started asking experts in different fields their opinions about what a zombie outbreak would actually be like,” he said, adding that in addition to knowledge, he found kindred spirits. “Everyone was willing to help me, even if they thought the questions were funny or odd. But some of the researchers I spoke with were themselves big zombie fans. Zombie Research Society grew organically from there.”
As the group came together, it’s mission became clear: to advance zombie knowledge and respect in the Arts and Sciences.
“We believe that zombies are the most important and relevant monster of the past 50 years. They are the monsters of our time, and they deserve to be respected as such,” Mogk said. “So we try to promote quality expressions of zombies on film, literature and games, and we develop theoretical models of the coming zombie plague so we all have a better chance of surviving when it actually happens.”
Mogk’s message about zombies has apparently resonated with the people who have flocked to join the society. To date, there are more than 200,000 members on six continents organized into dozens of local chapters. Mogk hinted that the membership could soon get a major infusion.
“We’re in the process of completely revamping the chapter system to possibly include another large and well respected zombie organization to our ranks,” he said. “But I can’t talk about the specifics of that just yet.”
In addition to the lay members, the society also has an advisory board made up of experts in a number of fields. Mogk said many of them were the people he had contacted while doing his own zombie research.
“Some of the people I contacted were big zombie fans and they wanted to get more involved,” he said. “Because of their impressive backgrounds and areas of expertise it seemed logical to set up an Advisory Board of some top members who could help guide the direction of the organization.”
Mogk’s activities include more than just overseeing the society, but most of them include zombies in some way.
“I pretty much eat, sleep and live zombies 24/7,” he said. “When I’m not doing work specifically for Zombie Research Society I am either finishing up another book project or scheduling zombie lectures at universities across the U.S. and Canada.”
Fans of AMC’s Walking Dead aftershow, “The Talking Dead” will recognize Mogk as the survival expert offering tips to thrive in the coming zombie apocalypse. Mogk had been a guest on the show in its first season, when it had a shorter running time.
“Since then they’ve been saying they wanted me back on, but for more than just one episode,” Mogk said. “When the show increased from 30 minutes to 1 hour it seemed like the perfect time to bring me back.”
The segments proved to be a hit with fans and producers of the show have indicated that Mogk will be back again next season.
Mogk, whose book “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Zombies” is considered to be the single-best volume on the subject, also continues to write. He’s published a children’s book, “That’s Not Your Mommy Anymore,” and he’s at work on several more.
“At least one and possibly both are coming out this year” Mogk said.
With so much of his time devoted to dead and rotting corpses, one might guess that Mogk’s wife would be similarly enthusiastic. That guess would be wrong.
“My wife thinks I’m crazy, but we’ve known each other since high school so it’s not a shock to her,” Mogk said. “She does like that we’re prepared for disasters though.”
Mogk subscribes to the premise that if you’re prepared for zombies, then you’re prepared for anything.
“I live in Los Angeles and any expert will tell you we are going to have a giant earthquake at some point,” he said. “That never inspired me to get an earthquake preparedness kit, but I do have a zombie preparedness kit and it works great for earthquakes!”