Ever since the Walking Dead series aired, fans began debating the merits of the show versus its source material, the original comic book series by Robert Kirkman. Which is better—the AMC show, which constantly gets the best ratings on television; or the original comic book series, which consistently outsells most other comic books on the market? Is there even a way to determine which entity is the better one? Let’s look at the most significant characteristics of both the Walking Dead TV show and comic and let you decide!
The TV show, so far, is the more realistic of the two. The TV show alters dialogue to make it sound more natural, while the comic book often has typical “comic book dialogue” which is heightened for drama and panel length. The comic also has some elements—such as Ezekiel’s pet tiger Shiva—that are fairly unrealistic, even for a comic about the undead.
Both the show and the comic book sport some pretty intense violence. However, the comic book is more noticeably violent because comic book illustrations are not as strictly regulated as TV shows. The comic book can get away with more depictions of graphic violence (see: Glenn and Lucille) although the TV show has sported some pretty gory walker kills.
The Walking Dead TV show and the comic book share many characters. There are only a handful of characters from the comic book that did not appear in the TV show in some form or another, at least going up to the current TV show storyline.
However, the TV show does have some characters that were not in the original comic book series; it also has characters that have sometimes radically different storylines or personalities compared to their comic book counterparts. Daryl and Merle, two of the most interesting characters in the show, are completely new for the TV show; while Carol in the TV show has become more of a kick-butt warrior than her comic book counterpart, who came unhinged and committed suicide.
Not all of the changes to characters have been positive, however. In the comic books, Andrea is essentially similar to “show Carol,” that is to say she kicks butt and doesn’t take names. In the show, however, Andrea became consistently dependent on male characters to the point of ignoring all logical reason, which ended up getting her killed.