Friday, August 3, 2012

The Walking Dead TV/Comic Comparison PART 1

Just a heads up for you. If you have not seen any episodes of The Walking Dead or read any of the comics then you may get lost at points in this article. GOOD LUCK.

I am a huge fan of The Walking Dead comic series and feel that it is one of the best comic series to ever be created. Robert Kirkman has crafted some of the greatest heroes and villains in comic history and the television show does a magnificent job of destroying all of that. In this series of editorials that I will be writing I will be going volume by volume of the collected editions of The Walking Dead and comparing them to the television version of The Walking Dead. In part one I will be covering issues #1-#6 of The Walking Dead and comparing it to the first season of the show.

I will have to give the pilot episode of the television show a higher rating than the first issue of the comic. Unfortunately that is the last time that the show surpassed the comic in quality. The way they develop the character of Morgan is great in the pilot and it is a shame that he will probably never appear in the TV show again and the hospital scene was especially great and played in a more realistic way than in the comic. But from the outset the characterization of the group of survivors other than Rick and Glenn is just wrong. In the comics all of the the main characters and even the supporting characters are extremely well developed where as in the TV show we characters like Merle and T-Dog. I am not sure what was wrong with the original characters in the comic but someone must have thought it would be an excellent idea to randomly insert the most stereotypical characters ever created into the TV show. Lori comes off as a giant twat 99.9% of the time and  her switching allegiance between Rick and Shane is something that is never even touched upon in the comics. Shane is dead by issue 6 and it made the comic series better because it showed that none of the characters are truly safe and anyone can die at any time. Characterization is such an integral part of the comic and at times it seems like the TV show is willing to sacrifice characterization for an over the top zombie kill which is unfortunate.

Characters like Allen, Donna, Billy and Ben were excluded in favor of piece of shit characters like Merle and T-Dog. I can understand trying to cut the cast numbers down and that is not a problem but do not replace memorable characters with two of the most uninteresting stereotypical characters that you can think of. Merle looks and acts like a reject from the KKK and T-Dog is named T-Dog, so that kind of explains itself. Daryl is the only worthwhile creation to come out of the TV series so far and I really do wish they would find a way to naturally integrate a character like him into the comic. His character has an amazing amount of potential and he really needs to be showcased on the TV show more. The reason I think they left out Billy and Ben is due to the sensitive nature of how their story line evolves over the course of the comics and it would not have worked on TV at all, but that is for a later part in this series of articles.

The two main travesties that the TV series commits in the first season is the introduction of the CDC and keeping Shane alive. The entire CDC story was pointless and serves no purpose because the main idea of the series doesn't concern itself with the origination of the disease but with how people will survive in a world ravaged by zombies. The fact that Shane walked into Season 2 unscathed was bullshit in my opinion. His character was portrayed as being this hot head who was psychotically in love with his best friends wife. In the comics this was one component of what made him snap but it was also that he was so frightened by the situation that they were facing. He also had a huge amount of guilt that he was shouldering because he blamed himself for Rick getting shot. I feel like none of this was explored in the TV show and it made his character come off like a selfish piece of shit. His death in the comics also happens to be amazing and very memorable.

There was at no point during the first season that I thought that it was going to be better than the comic series. The comics series while really slow burning at points, manages to keep my attention page after page. The are entire episodes of the show that I wanted to turn off because they were so painfully horrible. Every time I talk about the TV series it pisses me off because the producers had unbeatable source material and still managed to fuck it up. Randomly inserting characters, leaving out huge events, and major characters were not the greatest of decisions and it just puzzled me as I continued to watch. Part 2 will go into depth about Hershel's Farm and the exclusion of Tyreese.