Comparing The Walking Dead Comic to the Show So Far

I’ve been hearing people saying for months that the original Walking Dead comic is better than the show, so I thought I’d give it a try for myself. I’ve said previously that I haven’t wanted to read it as not to spoil the show, so I compromised. I’ve read up only until the part which was the season two finale, or as close as I could get to it.

I was amazed to learn that out of 90 some issues, the entire series of The Walking Dead so far has only covered through the 12th book. I guess if ratings keep up, we’ve got a hell of a ways to go.

There are a TON of differences between the comic and the show, and fans of the source material seem to claim that they prefer the plot of the graphic novel. I agree on some points, but not on others, and so I thought I’d talk through the different changes, and whether I think the show improved the comic, or made it worse. Obvious spoilers ahead for the show, and please refrain from talking about events that happen in the comic after the one’s I talk about. Thank you.

No scene with the Morgan’s zombie wife

Verdict: Worse

One of the most heart-wrenching moments for me in the early episodes was when Rick met Morgan and his son, and there was a sequence where Morgan debated about whether or not to execute his wife who haunted his boarded up house daily. It was an exceptionally powerful emotional moment, but it didn’t happen at all in the comics.

No Merrell

Verdict: Better

I really didn’t like the whole Merrell plotline, and leaving him on the rooftop after “accidentally” losing the key is a loose end that has yet to pay off a long while later. In the book, Merrell’s character and in turn, that scene, do not exist.

No Daryl

Verdict: Worse

No Merrell means no Daryl, and I think most of us can agree that it would be a real shame if this character wasn’t around. He’s perhaps the most badass of the group, and brings a new dynamic that is desperately needed. But in the book, again, he doesn’t exist.

Shane dies very early

Verdict: Much worse

This caught me off guard more than anything. The confrontation between Rick and Shane escalates incredibly quickly, and Shane goes off his rocker and threatens to kill Rick. He’s interrupted by Carl, who shoots him in the neck. The Shane and Rick feud was the driving force for practically the entire TV show so far, and I really appreciated the way that tension was built until it all culminated in the episode before the finale. To kill Shane so early seemed wrong, and as such, many future plot points I liked from the show no longer exist, but we’ll talk about those later.

No trip back to the city

Verdict: Better

I didn’t like the sequence in the show where they went back to Atlanta to get Merryl, then they ran into that other group, as the entire scene just seemed out of place and pointless. I was glad it didn’t exist in the comic.


Verdict: Better

Again, this seemed out of place in the show. I think they were attempting to provide some sort of scientific explanation for the zombies, but that’s not really what the show’s about. Perhaps they go there later in the comic, but I’m not sure.

Roamers and zombies, not Walkers

Verdict: Whatever

Even small details are changed like how Walkers are referred to as Roamers instead, but mostly as “zombies,” the traditional word that’s been mostly avoided in the show. Just interesting to see that they changed this for some reason.

Tyrese is more interesting

Verdict: Better

I can’t figure out if T-Dog is supposed to be Tyrese on the show, but they don’t seem anything alike. T-Dog is given almost no lines and nothing to do, where Tyrese becomes a pretty important, well-rounded character. He also has a girlfriend, daughter and her boyfriend with him, none of whom exist in the show. I like him much better in the comic and he’s a real force in the group and actually has a purpose.