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The Walking Dead: Five big changes from the comic to the show.

Barry Michaels By Barry Michaels Published on October 17, 2016

We all know that no adaptation can be 100% faithful to its source material. When it comes to the rabid fanbase of both The Walking Dead comic book and it's television adaptation on AMC, opinions, like ribcages in a zombie infested wasteland, are bound to be divided. 

Let's shine a light on five big changes and take a look at whether these tweaks worked for the show or not. 


CHANGE: Extending Shane's Lifespan.

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Source: zombiephiles.com

The comic book version of Shane Walsh only made it to the end of issue 6 before he was unceremoniously dispatched by Grimes the younger, Carl. On the TV side of things, Shane made it all the way to the close of Season 2, where Rick helped his former BFF shuffle off this mortal coil after one of the show's most explosive confrontations. 

Did it work? 

Absolutely. Shane's comic book characterization was well developed, but by granting him a stay of execution, the writers turned him from a tragic, contemptible figure into a deeply nuanced and layered cautionary tale. It didn't hurt that he was played by Jon Bernthal, one of today's best actors, who gave a searingly memorable performance. TWD TV has definitely been a poorer place since one of it's most complex characters bit the dust. 

You'll be missed, Shane. 


CHANGE: Lori and Judith's fate.

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Source: zombiephiles.com

The TV version of Lori died from blood loss during childbirth , and Judith still survives at the time of this writing. Their comic book fate was decidedly more gruesome. In one of the most disturbing moments in a book full of disturbing moments, they were both cut down by a shotgun blast while making their escape from the Governor's forces. Brutal.

Did it work? 

Yes, it did. The deaths of Lori and Judith in the comic worked very well in a visceral, no-one-is-safe-Game-of-Thrones type of way, but the intense shock value was short lived, and robbed us of some great future storyline potential, especially when it comes to Judith. Introducing a baby to a post-apocalyptic landscape is some pretty interesting stuff, something the show has already begun to explore. 

The TV audience was also given time to say goodbye to Lori, something comic readers were denied, resulting in one of the show's most wrenching and emotionally affecting scenes. 


CHANGE: The evolution of Carol.

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Source: AMC

Comic book Carol had a bizarre and sad arc. She went from Tyreese's lover to lovesick when their relationship ended. Lost and lonely, she awkwardly suggested that she, Lori and Rick form a polyamorous relationship. After numerous rejections on that front, she eventually committed suicide-by-zombie (which in real life, thankfully, is not a thing), when she allowed herself to be bitten.

TV Carol is almost unrecognizable compared to her comics counterpart, avoiding death countless times and coming out of her shell in a big way, becoming one of the most fearsome and formidable members of Rick's brigade. 

Did it work?

It sure did, and still does. TV Carol's character arc has been one of the show's most satisfying. Had she followed the same trajectory that she did in the comic, we would not have had the pleasure of bearing witness to her journey from a meek, terrified victim of abuse to a steely-eyed, one-woman force of nature. 



CHANGE: Giving Rick a hand.

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Source: Image Comics

Comic book Rick was relieved of his pesky right hand after he ran afoul of everybody's least favorite (or second least favorite) politician, the Governor. On TV, Mr. Grimes was allowed to keep the hand, all ten digits having thus far outlived the Governor. 

Did it work?

Not particularly. Putting your hero in jeopardy is always heightened by giving said hero some sort of handicap or disadvantage. Witness John McClane of Die Hard, brilliantly given the conceit of being shoeless for the entire movie. By letting Rick keep his hand, while it has certainly been cheaper on visual effects, it took away the added tension of having him be constantly outgunned. Plus, Comic Book Rick is arguably even more of a badass minus the extremity.


CHANGE: Dale and Andrea (not) K-I-S-S-I-N-G.

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Source: fansided.com

In between the covers of the book, Dale and Andrea cozied up between the sheets for a May-December romance. There was no such coupling on TV, and with both characters now dead, the chances of them getting together are...slim.

Did it work?

For the most part. yes. TV Dale and Andrea shared more of a father-daughter dynamic, so it was probably a good decision not to introduce a romance between the two, since zombies are creepy enough already.


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So there you have it. While most changes have been for the better,  it remains to be seen whether future changes will wind up in the pro or con column. No matter what, one thing's for sure: we'll be watching The Walking. 

Also: please don't kill Daryl.

Anyone but Daryl.

Book lover, movie buff. Marketing copywriter for Bookwitty. A cat-person, a dog-person, and a person-person.

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