Miami 'zombie' attack on homeless man Ronald Poppo causes zombie merchandise sales to remain strong

The tragic face-eating attack in Miami last week has another casualty: business for shaved ice truck Zombie Ice.

Carlos Fierro, owner of Weston-based food truck, said his business has dropped since the attack.

"That guy was a cannibal, not a zombie," said Fierro. "People think I named my business after all that – of course I didn't."

Even so, the fascination with zombies is very much alive in South Florida after many began jokingly referring to the attack as one done by a zombie.

The characters have expanded from a cult following of comic book readers and video gamer to the mainstream, said the financial website, 24/7 Wall Street. The site estimated zombies are worth more than $5 billion in today's U.S. economy.

Zombies are characters that rise from the dead with an infectious hunger for human flesh.

The term "zombie apocalypse" has been frequently searched online worldwide this week after a string a mutilating attacks were reported by the media, starting with the attack on the MacArthur Causeway last week.

Social media users have been jokingly warning about an imminent zombie attack ever since.

"There's always been a strong interest in zombies," said Tate Ottati, who owns Tate's Comics in Lauderhill. "Especially here in Fort Lauderdale. There are people who get together who dress up and do zombie crawls across town."

Ottati said zombie books, graphic novels and fictional survival guides, are his best sellers this year. .

Comic stores in South Florida, like Docking Bay Comics and Games in Coconut Creek, have heard all the buzz about the attack, said owner, John Miller.

"We're seeing a lot of new faces in the store that may not have been interested in the genre previously," he said.

Zombies have been on the big screen for years. This summer, a children's animated movie, ParaNorm, about a boy who can speak to the dead, and zombies, will premiere in theaters.

"I can't keep The Walking Dead novels on the shelves," said Ryan Abraham, manager of the Zaldiva Comic Books & Collectibles store in Fort Lauderdale.

The Walking Dead is a series of 16 graphic novels that follows a handful of characters trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. The first issue was published in 2003,and in 2010, the series was turned into a television series on the American Movie Channel. So far there are three seasons.

"The zombie genre has been around a long time, but because of the this new series, it's definitely bigger than it's ever been," Abraham said.


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