Zombies rise again in pop culture

While vampires may have been the "it" monster in recent years, with the popularity of successful franchises such as "Twilight" and "The Vampire Diaries," there's a new undead species now in-demand: zombies.

From costumes seen at the Occupy Wall Street protests to parades, zombies have made a resurgence in popular culture, CBS News correspondent Michelle Miller reported on "The Early Show." This breed of the walking dead hasn't been this cool since the debut of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" in 1983.

Dalton Ross, assistant managing editor of Entertainment Weekly, said, "Zombies always get popular around October 31st, but now they're sort of popular all year-round, and a lot of that really is due to the success of 'The Walking Dead."'

On Sunday, more than seven million viewers tuned in to the premiere of the second season of AMC's zombie series, "The Walking Dead," scoring the highest rating for any drama in basic cable history.

Ross said, "'The Walking Dead' success is kind of surprising, because you knew you had sort of that fringe sort of horror audience with zombies. When you have that many viewers and that many people talking about it, it's just going to seep into all elements of pop culture."

And this year, according to Tony Bianchi, co-owner of Halloween Adventure, everybody wants a zombie costume for Halloween.

But you don't have to be just any zombie, according to Bianchi. You can be a zombie nurse, a zombie Reagan, a zombie Obama or a zombie Palin.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even got in on the fun, releasing an online comic called "Zombie Pandemic" (pdf), a tongue-in-cheek instructional for a zombie apocalypse, created to spread the word about disaster preparedness. The CDC initially got in on the zombie craze back in May with this zombie apocalypse preparedness tutorial.

Dave Daigle, CDC spokesman, said of the comic, "The idea was to leverage that popularity, that zombie trend, to get our message out, to get our message in helping people prepare, helping families make kits, make plans, and be better prepared for all hazards."