By Dan Meade

(WORLDNOW) -- Zombies have been everywhere these last few years. Comic books, movies, TV shows and re-written classic have all featured the undead roaming the earth and eating the brains of any poor soul who crosses their path. Then in May, these works of fiction works seemed to turn into news accounts that were all too real.

Reports of gruesome crimes involving cannibalism and other zombie-style attacks have been appearing from across the nation. The most publicized case was of a man in Miami being shot after chewing on another man's face, but there have been others. An Illinois man allegedly bit off a woman's cheek, a Californian had the tip of his nose bitten off and a man in Maryland was arrested for allegedly eating the heart and brain of another individual.

As a pop icon, the zombie had already become over-exposed in Hollywood. Once "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" became a best seller, zombies began being places on top of everything from classic plays (Zombie Hamlet) to current events (Zombie Osama Bin Laden). They even spread from the silver screen to your TV, appearing in ads for Honda, Sears and FedEx. With each new usage, zombies slowly began to decay from their allegorical and symbolic beginnings into over-ripe and cheesy marketing ploys.

So what is to become of the few thoughtful and exciting works of zombie fiction currently in progress? Will the fears of a "zombie apocalypse" that are running wild on Twitter, Reddit and even the CDC's website spoil America's allure with walking dead? Here is a look at how some prominent zombie projects may fare in the near future:

The Walking Dead -- With the comic about to release its 100th issue and the AMC series pulling in healthy ratings, the brainchild of Robert Kirkman appears to be safer than any of the characters within the series.

World War Z -- The film version of Max Brook's "history" of the zombie apocalypse is starring Brad Pitt and is due to be released in time for Christmas 2013. It might take an actual apocalypse to stop this project.

The Resident Evil franchise -- Never strictly about zombies, the fifth film ("Resident Evil: Retribution") is due out in September. As long as there is money to be made here, poor Alice will continue fighting the good fight.

George A. Romero's "Dead" films -- Romero has now released six films in his "Night of the Living Dead" series. Sadly, it may be time for him to lay his creation to rest with a merciful shot to the head.

Dan Meade is the Entertainment editor for Worldnow and has read more zombie works of fiction than he would like to admit. You can follow him on Twitter here.