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Why TV’s The Walking Dead’s Divergence from the Comics is a Blessing




Let me start off right now by saying firstly, I am not a HUGE fan of zombie culture.  It’s always been something about the mindless undead that just creeped me out.  With that, secondly I was never a big fan of zombie comics either.   But midway through season one of Walking Dead , a lot of my friends started giving me positive buzz about the show, I tuned in and even watched it in its entirety to prepare for season 2. It’s easily one of the most popular comic book to TV shows translations not based on a super hero in a long time.  Season 3 and two of my close comic book friends really tried to turn me on to the book as we talked of the show because of course it’s difficult to talk about any film media if you haven’t read the print media right?  When Walking Dead took its mid-season break, I actually took time to binge read every issue right up to the current issues even surpassing where my friends were and of course I started to see where the show took divergences from the comic.  it’s a normal occurrence when a TV show or a movie changes elements of a story to make it more palatable for the audience but none of us really suspected how far left, this show was going.  I noticed that season two was taking a few bigger departures from the comic and even more with season 3 so now that I was ‘caught up and beyond’ with where the show was in relation to the comic, I thought I knew what was going to happen.

Boy was I wrong.  With the death of Andrea on the finale, The Walking Dead took one of its biggest divergences from the comics and as one of my friends exclaimed, “I like that I have no idea anymore what the heck is going to happen.”   Nice, but let’s be straight.  Season 3 was not one of the best seasons in this show. In my opinion for every one show where there was action and progress there were at least 2 or 3 episodes of nothing but exposition and the audience waiting for something, anything to happen. For anyone that has already read the comic series and is current, knows that Andrea became a much stronger character and also that even the prison story line wasn’t really that long of a story arc in the book. Even with that I was amazed at how much they managed to stretch out the war of Rick vs. the Governor for TV and how much longer they may prolong it for the next season.  The best parts of this is that now with the story telling diverging from the comic is now everyone gets to enjoy an unknown  storyline for the coming season and not have to had read the comic because they feel left out.  This divergence adds back some suspense about where this series is headed as a whole.   There have been far too many movies and TV shows including Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter series, Game of Thrones and many others where people who read the source material complained about key elements either eliminated, were added or changed for the sake of ‘easily digestible’ video media.   Now with The Walking Dead changing the game around, it may have rightly took a balls approach that few print to video shows and movies rarely take and that is to take a universe that everybody knows and add a huge element of unknown stories that Kirkman and company gets to tell with the audience none the wiser for the outcome; something that is missing from a spoiler-prone audience nowadays.

And uhhhh  coincidentally  as someone who is not a big fan of zombies, I uhh…did cosplay as a Zombie Red lantern for Halloween and it rocked!!!  Don’t judge me.


About Armand (1275 Articles)
Armand is a husband, father, and life long comics fan. A devoted fan of Batman and the Valiant Universe he loves writing for PCU, when he's not running his mouth on the PCU podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @armandmhill

5 Comments on Why TV’s The Walking Dead’s Divergence from the Comics is a Blessing

  1. Nice write-up! I felt exactly the same way — Season 3 had too many weak spots (saw an interview with creator Robert Kirkman where he stated they started writing without having a definite idea of where things would go, which is EXACTLY how it felt to watch it, too much indecision), and I’m relieved they’re going in their own direction, because there’s some potentially interesting stories to be told there. Truth be told, I was just about ready to bail, but the finale definitely got me back on board. I’d rather have two seperate, viable entities than one that’s a watered-down adaptation of the other.


    • dreddeddeuce // April 3, 2013 at 4:17 pm //

      Right not to mention I am having a feeling that Kirkman is getting a do over of sorts to tell stories that he missed out on the first time around when he did the comic series and now that he has a little more to focus on, I am hoping that the pacing for next seasons picks up and I also wonder if he can still fit **SPOILERS for comic readers!!!~~~ the cannibals in it somehow!


  2. Spacemonkeymafia // May 20, 2013 at 7:43 am //

    I just don’t agree….season two was slower. Besides this isn’t a show about zombies. It’s a show about people living in a world with them. The “slow” episodes, the ones with no zombies are the best. Kirkman has said many times this is way more drama then action. If you need zombie action then there are over 100 mindless movies about zombies.


    • dreddeddeuce // May 20, 2013 at 8:08 am //

      If you really paid attention to what i wrote, then you would note that I know that it’s not a show about zombies. It’s a show about the breakdown of civilization and how we would act towards each other if that were to happen. the zombies are the back drop. Also, again, if you read what i wrote and read the comic then you would really note that what this is all about it now that another one of the main characters from the comic is gone, where does the show go from here and that is the main point I am trying to make. Not a lack of zombie killing action, just the idea that now many characters who made it past this particular story line in the comics are gone from the show, where can we see it going and now how unpredictable the show has become not about zombie slaughter.


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