Is it just me or are zombies invading popular culture?

I injured my knee (torn ACL) and had surgery a couple of weeks ago. To repair the ACL, they took a ligament from a cadaver and attached it to my knee. When I explained the procedure to a co-worker (before I had surgery), she exclaimed mildly horrified, “You’re going to have a zombie knee?!” Word about my zombie knee got around the office, and the jokes started pouring in. Some wondered if my knee would start wandering around while I was asleep. Others speculated on the gender and sexual orientation of the donor ligament and the functional effects it would have on my behavior. But they were just warming up.

My first day home from the hospital I received a zombie movie in the mail (Shaun of the Dead). The next day, another zombie movie arrived (28 Days Later). The next day, muliple packages: another zombie movie (Dawn of the Dead), a zombie t-shirt (“Real friends help you kill zombies”), and a glow-in-the-dark, flesh-eating zombie play set. But they weren’t finished. Another day, another zombie movie (Night of the Living Dead). Finally, the next day, the last gift arrived: a zombie book (The Zombie Survival Guide).

Among other things, this experience has raised my awareness of the prevalence of zombies in our culture. I’m wondering if this is a fairly recent phenomenon, or if I’m only recently aware of it. I’ve begun noticing all kinds of zombie cultural manifestations. Someone recently wrote a book called “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” inserting zombie scenes into Jane Austen’s classic work. A friend was walking out of a restaurant recently just as a parade of about 50 zombies came shuffling by on the sidewalk. And on a comment thread to a news article about swine flu, someone remarked, “If you think this is bad, just wait til the zombies start attacking.”

Have others noticed an increase of zombies as a pop culture phenomenon? To those of you who are zombie aficionados, some more challenging questions: Do zombies have sexual orientation? If so, what are the Law of Chastity implications of my potentially having a gay knee?