After recent events in the Walking Dead television series, it seems that many fans have voiced their disapproval for the most recent twist the show has taken from the comics. While the show is notorious for taking it’s own liberty to the story, there’s no doubt in my mind that the comics will always have big perks in comparison. So to those who have given up on the show, don’t completely leave the franchise. Switch mediums!
DISCLAIMER: The following reasons may include vague spoilers.
1. Andrea Harrison
Oh Andrea.. I know from my venturing around social media that the show did not do justice to her. Comic readers often say one of two things: “I’m so glad she died!” or “if she kept going, she would have been good!” and frankly, I don’t know which I agree with. All I know is, the comics had an Andrea I could get behind. In the show, I never paid mind to her, she never interested me whatsoever, but the comics shaped her into such a good, strong (female) lead character.
2. Less Characters
The Walking Dead show has a newly acquired habit of introducing characters who ultimately do not matter in how the show progresses. Look, I get it, you need new material to keep comic fans interested, but ultimately it will have it’s cons. In the comics, the groups are the four main ones- Alexandria, Kingdom, Hilltop, and Sanctuary. There’s no trash group, no Jadis, and there’s less characters in Alexandria (the most prominent difference being no Daryl.) This means there is more room for development among the characters they do have, and it doesn’t feel like they have to let plots linger on in order to give everyone a part. It really does benefit the series to have less characters, because in turn you also get to know each one of them and their motives better and there are less filler episodes (I’m looking at you, season 7 episode 6.)
3. Better Development
I am a very firm believer in the fact the comics have better development of characters, and it all goes back to point number two were there are less characters that require attention. Some of the biggest development I have scene in the comics that differs drastically (or slightly) from show are Rick, Carl, and Negan. While this could be chalked up to the fact it has been running longer, even in the issues that they have covered in the show there has been a big difference in how characters are developed. I know for certain Negan is one of the biggest because he had his solo issues which really invested time into how he ran sanctuary, as opposed to preparing for war (which coincidentally segways into point four.)
4. Good Pacing
The comics have such a good pacing. I mentioned in point two, as well, that TWD has succumbed to filler episodes, and that adds to the poor pacing as well. There are episodes which we simply do not need. The show runners and writers believe we need eight weeks of war prep when in the comics, it did not take up much time. It was a very quick paced war, one that was incredibly well written and unpredictable in the comics and to be quite frank, it was one of my favorite arcs, All Out War. I could also chalk this up to the fact we have so many characters that you want to know how each plays a role in the war, but the comics did not need that, and so it was a lot cleaner and got to the action and rivalry better.
5. No Visuals? No Problem!
I also believe that the show, because it is more visual than the comics, relies heavily on the visual effects and explosives so the quick scenes are quick but the slow scenes are so, God awfully slow. With the comics, you really don’t have to worry about that because they don’t have to worry about visuals as much as dialogue and character.
This one is pretty self explanatory but also a minor detail, the comics have a habit of really good cliffhangers. None of that “wait a hiatus to see who died” stuff the show tried to pull, the cliffhangers were well paced, and you were more focused on trying to find out what happens next in the climax rather than who it happened to (the introduction of Negan in issue 100 is the reference I use for this.)
7. Repetitive- yet fresh!
Okay, so this one could be a flaw to some, but let’s be honest- the show, and the comics can be a little repetitive. Rick and the gang find a safe zone, encounter the antagonist, antagonist is defeated some how or way, all is well, and then they encounter another villain or safe zone. It goes round and round, but I think it works for the comics because every character is different and lends something different to the story. The Governor is different from Negan who's different from Alpha whose whose different from our current new arrival. The show really drops the ball on this because, while the antagonists are different at their core, they are all introduced the same way- this is the biggest and baddest yet! And really, when you keep doing that it gets so dull. In the comics, they are just another faction and don’t waste time between meeting and getting to the core beliefs of the leaders, whether they’re good or bad.
8. The Commonwealth (possible spoilers in terms of how the community is set up)
This one is more current than anything but in the comics, we have just been introduced to the commonwealth and I find them incredibly interesting in the way they function. They seem incredibly civilized, organized, and normal in comparison to some others (the sanctuary being industrial, the hilltop being rural, kingdom being a live action role play, and Alexandria more like a village). It is truly the epitome of a community and while it’s still fresh to the material, they seem almost too good to be true with their basketball games and concerts.
9. There's time!
Yes, there is an issue every month, but it doesn't really take more than a few days to catch up on the comics if you really invest your time in it- and if you can’t invest your time, then it may take a little longer, but surely no longer than a month if you can stomach it. Not like the show, where you have a new episode every week and have to watch it after hiatus which pushes you further back. I suppose this point is just personal taste, but the comics are very quick reads and available at Barnes and Noble so they’re incredibly easy to get your hands on.
Overall, the comics really are just a big giant breath of fresh air. If you’ve seen the show and think you know what’s going to happen in the comics, you probably don’t unless you hunt for spoilers. I heavily recommend the comics to everyone who loses interest in the show because they are a step up. Ultimately, the comics were the trial period and the show is the “real thing”. The problem is, the comics were already amazing ,and in trying to change it up to keep it fresh, they took out some amazing material. Give the comics a shot, chances are if you weren't satisfied with something in the show, it was much better on paper than on the small screen.