How does The Walking Dead stack up against the comic?
The Walking Dead is AMC’s biggest show, and a much beloved comic book. Some fans of the book have been delighted at seeing its translation onto the television screen. Others have been less than thrilled. And then there are those, like myself, who discovered the comic because of the show. This article is written to be a window into all three of those worlds and explain why the show is despised and celebrated. There will be potential spoilers for the show if you haven’t read the comic, and the show plays out accordingly. So you’ve been warned.
Since the first season and a half only covered material in the first 12 issues of the Walking Dead, we’ll focus in on them. The best way to break everything down is to go on a character by character basis.
Rick: He is basically the same. Rick wakes up from a coma to find the world changed. Once he finds his family, he sets out with the whole group to find a place to settle down. They did not go to the CDC, but considering that this was in the area, it was a good avenue to explore in the show. Eventually they find the farm, and trouble ensues.
Shane: Without a doubt the most changed character from the books. In the comics he had established the group at the campsite, and refused to let them move since he believed the military would be coming to rescue everyone. He also didn’t deal with Rick’s return well. Just as Rick was turning up the pressure to move to a safer spot, Shane snaps which leads to…
Carl: There is one major storyline that hasn’t been explored in the show, and that’s (SPOILER ALERT) Carl shooting and killing Shane when his dad’s about to be attacked by him. This is the end of his innocence, and leads to many uncomfortable situations further down the road.
Lori: She perpetually makes the wrong decision. They nailed her. Kind of unfortunate for the viewers, though. She’s pretty annoying, and her eyes are too close together.
Darryl: Was not in the comic book, but a great addition. He makes their survival in the wild a little more realistic.
T-Dog: There was a character in the comic named Tyreese that they met right before they got to the farm. If this is the same character, they screwed him up royally. Tyreese was worthless with a gun, but practically turned into Ashe when he used his hammer. He became a co-leader with Rick. He also wound up hooking up with Carol, who was quite a bit younger, hotter, and crazy in the comics.
Andrea: She hooked up with Dale, and Shane didn’t live long enough to throw one in her. She’s the sharpshooter in the group, and the show seems to be leading up to that.
Hershel: In the comic he makes no secret that he is keeping zombies in the barn. The group thinks its a mistake, but doesn't want to rock the boat. He watches three of his children die because the zombies he wrangled broke out of the barn. He kicks everyone off his land in a blind rage.
Otis: In the show he helped get medical supplies with Shane so that Carl could survive the gunshot wound that Otis accidentally inflicted. Shane shoots Otis in the knee to distract the zombies so he can survive. Otis did shoot Carl in the comics, but didn't go out as a hero. He was slime and would have deserved that fate. Shane wasn't alive to inflict it, however.
Sophia: She hasn’t died in the comic. This leads to suggestions that the show is killing off the kids because time passes so slowly on the show that they’ll age too quick. Seems like a sound theory to me. Better watch yourself, Carl.
Glenn, Maggie, and Dale: No discernible difference.
I loved the first season of the show so much that I went out and eventually bought all fifteen graphic novels. If you enjoy the show and are worried about it being ruined, you don’t have a lot to worry about. For every plot in the comic, the show has invented two more stories. The comics work well, and stretch out much farther than the show could possibly get to. If you haven’t already, you should check out the books.
And if you’ve been disappointed with season two, don’t worry. The best stories in the comics start where it looks like they’ll begin season three.