10 Reasons Why The Walking Dead Comic Is Better Than The TV Show

I know what you’re thinking – “Great, here’s another pretentious comic-loving hipster whining about how AMC is soiling the name of his beloved The Walking Dead. Kirkman already stated he views the TV show as a way to explore his existing story with different choices, so you have nothing to complain about. They’re completely separate entities. Go back into your basement where you live with your Mom and cry about one of your favorite comic book properties becoming mainstream, wiping the tears away with fingers covered in Cheese-Doodle residue. We get it, you liked The Walking Dead before it was cool, but nobody cares you poor attention-seeking bastard.”

Jeez Internet, take it easy! Trust me, I respect the fact that AMC’s zombie juggernaut is breaking records left and right, so enough of the population are eating up the show like a horde of walkers tearing through a few measly survivors, but the bitter, judgmental critic in me just CAN’T ignore how unfathomably frustrating Rick and the gang’s on-screen exploits are. I’m dumbfounded by the ratings numbers personally, as hype only builds while quality spans highs and lows more uneven than Lori’s emotional teetering, but I’d really like to know how many viewers have actually bothered to read the vastly superior comics.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying The Walking Dead is the worst show in TV history, because I’ll still watch it and overall I’ll still stay pretty middle-of-the-road on the whole thing, but I am saying the show doesn’t portray the graphic beauty and brilliant storyboarding that the comic is so well-known for. The show is nothing but a shallow zombie-drama that fails to deliver moments that have left me emotionally drained, physically sickened, and joyously entertained like Kirkman’s comic has.

I think it’s safe to say spoilers are to follow, between both the show and the comic, but I’ll try to leave out anything too different or show-stopping so you television fans can give the comics a try, which I emphatically recommend – especially if you think AMC’s show is as monumental as it’s become.

Comments (49)

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  1. Shawnsays:

    This show should have been on HBO or Showtime. The censorship on AMC is too limiting for a zombie apocalypse..

    1. skunkybeaumontsays:

      maaaaaaaan… WHAT censorship??? Aside from the word ‘fuck’ and nudity what’s missing? We’ve seen more internal organs than a hot dog factory.

      1. Ryan Colsonsays:

        I think most comic fans know the censorship, like Dale and Andrea and Carl and Shane. It shocked me that season four finale actually let there be a Rick unhinged scene, albeit censored again in regards to what it could have been.

    2. anonymoussays:

      omg thank you! I’ve said that since the pilot episode

  2. Cameron Demmingssays:

    The comic is not better than the tv show. In the comic a lot of the characters are written as being ridiculously hostile and chaotic even in the environment of an apocalypse and the whole “humans are more dangerous than the dead” theme is pushed a little too hard. We get it. Humans bad. At least on the tv show the plotting and writing is more even handed and the character development is handled much better. No racist slutty Michonne or Charles Manson Governor. Instead we have enigmatic, kickass Michonne and ted Bundy Governor…a man who is more cerebral and less helter skelter.

    1. phillipkslicksays:

      Michonne on the show is just a ball of pint up angry for little to no reason, she had a reason to be angry in the comic. Also, why call Michonne racist? She made on off comment about Tyrese being with a white woman when she was trying to seduce him because she knew he wanted her chocolate. Overall, though, characters are handled much better in the comic, which surprises me that Kirkman writes some of the worst episodes of the show.

  3. outstanding… well said on all counts! You really took your time to cover all points and it’s much appreciated. Good to know someone out there is sharing the same frustrations about the show. The one thing I wanted to add, and I know u did touch upon this with characters like T-Dog, but I am actually astonished by how many characters on the show are introduced, and not as minor characters, but potential major ones and then are killed off a couple episodes. In particular I’m thinking of Oscar and the other surviving prisoner. It almost seems like they are just testing out characters and what an actor can bring to the show and like the producers turn around and say, yeah um, Oscar not really working out, just kill him off. I mean when Oscar chose to kill that whack job prisoner over Rick that implicated to me that this was the start of something… that the guy is going to have some weight on the show because he was introduced that way…. then over the next couple of episodes you could see the decline. He got less lines each show and then none, then dead. I actually liked the other prisoner…. thought he was an interesting character, and i was expecting something to come out his experience with motorcycles…. like a scene where maybe he gets Daryl out of hot water by rigging his downed cycle. I hate how the show introduces people and objects in a way that makes you think you’re going to see some development of that character or an object like photo of Rick and family kid gets from bar… why hasn’t that element come into play again? The amount of pure canon fodder on the show is really making me question whether I will even invest anytime watching season 4. And, yes season 3 finale sucked… the whole woodbury vs. prison story arc was way to stretched out, and the sad thing, amc isn’t done…. they want to go into the next season. Anyway, had to get that out of my system. Thanks again.

  4. Chrissays:

    i have only just caught up on the walking dead just last week. i would have been up to date if it was not for season 2, i just had to stop watching a few times out of sheer boredom. season 3 on the other hand i could not wait to watch the next episode and plowed through them over 2 weeks, at least the show is getting better.

    since finishing season 3 i have started making my way through the comic, so far i have only just gotten to the initial woodbury aftermath with deputy stumpy and i am loving it.. your right, rick seems to be a lot more together in the comics.. i guess they feel that with all these extra badasses on the TV show we can spare rick to be the crazy one.

    1. Jester1137says:

      Comic Rick is both more and less badass.

      He’s got his crap together a lot more, but he can’t just magically beat down men twice his size like TV Rick.

  5. Maurosays:

    The TV show will never have that epic “WE are the walking dead” speech given by Rick in the prison. Also, I think they missed on the chance of making that epic woodbury vs. prison final battle.

    1. rvernonsays:

      The latest twists in the comic make the Woodbury showdown look like patty cake.

    2. AndreaswGwsays:

      Did´nt you watch the Sinale Scene of Season 2 this was Ricks Speech, but even better than in the comics.

      1. Ryan Colsonsays:

        Worse than comics.

  6. A better title for this would be “The FIRST 10 Reasons Why The Walking Dead Comic Is Better Than The TV Show”

  7. skunkybeaumontsays:

    Woodbury was much more open to attack than the prison. Without people on the walls at all times keeping watch (and even that’s not perfect, see: The Governor’s eye fiasco) things would have fallen apart QUICKLY.

    1. Vjetrovnjaksays:

      Which probably WILL happen at the start of the next season.
      Governor will lead Randall’s people, and attack the prison.
      Just my hunch, though.

  8. rvernonsays:

    You MIGHT be able to safely mention the story arc where the group is still traveling on the hwy and stumbles onto the path of a group of “civilized cannibals”. Same books where they met the priest holed up in the church. The end of that arc REALLY drove home the idea that the humans WERE the walking dead. It was brutal. Brilliant.

  9. jenkinssays:

    is it just me or are the hour long episodes only 15 minutes of show and 45 minutes of commercials for how amc plays the walking dead?

  10. I actually am getting tired of this reaction to the Walking Dead show. Is the comic book superior? Yes it is. But does that mean that the show isn’t good also? No, I don’t think that it does. I will admit that the vast majority of season 2 was crap, but even you should be able to admit that once Darabont was out and Mazzerra took over at the halfway point, that things started to get better. Is the show without flaws, certainly not, but hell is it entertaining, and keeps me wanting more.

  11. Vjetrovnjaksays:

    I understand your gripe, but there is a good thing in all of this.
    People WILL buy the comic more and people WILL like it more than the show, probably – and that’s because of the show itself.
    I’m saying this from a personal experience:
    From 2001-2003, I was hooked on the Lord of the Rings films.
    I ADORE them.
    And those films made me buy and read the books.
    And when I read them – I got hooked, and read all of the other Tolkien’s books.
    Now, I can honestly call myself a Tolkien nerd.
    When I look at the films now… Well, I don’t find them as good as before, but I could never be ”angry” at them, because they introduced me to the books.

    Same thing is with Walking Dead – it’s a flawed show, but I watch it every week.
    And, actually, I will buy the comic book in a few days.
    So, the show was good ENOUGH to make me buy a comic, and potentially hooking me on it.

    1. Nouseforanamesays:

      I agree on that. I too don’t care much about the show having started reading the comic book before, but many times mediocre shows or movies have pointed me towards great books and comics.

    2. Jester1137says:

      I think really short shrift is given here to the first six episodes.

      Really, to all of Season 1 prior to the CDC.

      I didn’t read the comic until I saw show either. Now, I’d say the first six episodes were as good as the comic, and the rest of Season 1 was close.

      The comic episode 1-100 was much better than the show Season 2 through current.

      The comic is slipping now.

  12. A few things the TV show does better – Daryl is a great character, as is Merle, the governor is more believable as a a character and as a leader of other people (since in the comic he’s obviously mental from first glance. Also, while I agree on Shane’s death, the character has much more time to dvel and is far, far more interesting. And finally, “the comic is perfect”??? No, no, no. Have you read some of the recent issues? Negan is a thuggish governor retread and that bloke with the tiger and all the nonsense with all these different settlements is getting more ludicrous by the issue.

    1. Iansays:

      I’d have to agree with your last comment. The last few issues of the comic have become boring and stale. Much worse than season 2.

      1. Jester1137says:

        Kirkman has said a few times that he felt he killed the Governor off too soon.

        He’s going way to far in the other direction with Negan.

    2. Jester1137says:

      The Governor was more believable right up until he turned into superman in the last couple episodes of season 3.

      Yeah. Merle couldn’t scratch him. He can mow down 30 people with one magazine.

      The Governor in the comic is just a guy. He’s not even particularly physically tough, even before Michonne produces the first episode of “Extreme Makeover:Psychopath Edition”.

      That’s part of what makes him so damned frightening. He’s just a total bastard with no ordinary human sense of compassion, not some unkillable superhuman.

    3. Negansays:

      The governor was nothing compared to Negan. If anything the governor was a thug leading a gang of thugs. Negan is like a general leading an army.

  13. Nouseforanamesays:

    I think the article is correct. I won’t bother with the specific numbers, but the overall points it gets through are right. The comic book is an emotional trip that as a long time comic reader, book reader, movie goer etc. I can compare to few others. Frankly I have pushed myself hard to try and watch the 2nd season of the show and I haven’t done it yet. There are shows out there that are way worse than The Walking Dead which is a good zombie story, but the comic’s real feeling never made it ti TV.

  14. Jeremy N.says:

    It’s really tough for me to watch the tv show anymore, especially when I’ve grown so close to the characters in the comic. Yes, the comic does have its flaws at points, but the bottom line is Kirkman brings you into a world that is so horrific and emotional..that you don’t want the comic to end.

    With the show..when the episode ends..I just want to go to bed.

  15. Yawn… comicbook fanboys. The show is 10x better than the comic. Who in their right mind thinks drawings on a page have more excitement and emotion attached than well acted and written tv series!? I’l tell ya who…. goddamn fanboys. Comics were fun when I was a kid but they are just pieces of paper. How can you have so much attachment to them?

    P.S. Star Wars fanboys are the worst kind, as Star Wars is a steaming pile of kiddies shit

    1. kingderp IIsays:

      I would not expect you to understand unless you read the comics. also the show is pretty slow paced and bland with lackluster acting and an inaccurate plot line. there could be 100 reasons why the comics are better in my opinion.

    2. Negansays:

      Go back to your cave you fucking philistinic troglodyte.

  16. Maverickx25says:

    “Why change the comic?”
    Well, unfortunately, there are restrictions for TV shows. I’m kinda put off that there were soooo many moments in the comic that were changed on the show, and that’s because it’s still on television, and if they get too carried away, censors will come around and shut down the show, I’m sure.

    I like most of the reasons here though.

    1. Matt Donatosays:

      Yeah, the TV restrictions are true. Sadly I know they can’t get away with EVERYTHING at AMC, but that’s why it might have been better to go an HBO or STARZ route with more freedom. I mean, it’s gory and all, don’t get me wrong, but imagine if the show were given a true 100% green light to do anything it wanted to….

  17. FlippityFlopsays:

    Ok i’m confused. In that first paragraph you just described yourself. Aren’t you the one “cry[ing] about one of your favorite comic book properties becoming mainstream” just with this article. You’re, well kinda stupid and definitely shouldn’t be writing opinion pieces. P.S. I stopped reading after the first paragraph because I DEFINANTLY don’t agree with someone like you.

    1. Matt Donatosays:

      I don’t even really want to respond to this, but, most obviously, I’m not sure you can call me stupid and bash my ability to write an opinion piece without, you know, reading my opinion?

    2. if you’re going to bah on him, make an informed argument after reading the entire article. Otherwise, you’re just a troll

  18. Thomas L. Cunningham IVsays:

    There’s NO comparison. The comic books are better in nearly every way (the side story of the husband who couldn’t kill his zombie wife is an exception that I was grateful to see return in season 3). I loved the first season and it inspired me to grab a few back issues just to see what the differences might be. I was amazed at how rich the story was. I raged through all the back issues (putting me well ahead of the coming seasons) and looked forward to seeing how they would play out. Major disappointment. And season three was a travesty. Though Michonne hews pretty close to the comic, Andrea was ridiculous. No tears shed at her season 3 conclusion. Knowing the characters to come in the comics, there is NO NEED to have the Governor hanging around. Compared to Negan? Really?

    1. Matt Donatosays:

      I agree 100%. They lost me by not tying up the Goveror’s arc come the end, and the whole plot of moving everyone into the prison? The prison should be over and done with. I’ve always been iffy on the TV show, but Season 3’s end pretty much confirmed how different (and not in a good way) the show is from the source material.

  19. KPierce-girlyboysays:

    The tv show was what drew me into The Walking Dead, the comic book was what got me completely hooked. I do agree that the comic books are better (it’s easier to draw gore, and explain plot through words, and control and focus emotion) but I am still totally enthralled with the show, and want to see how the tv show lines up with the comics; having somethings brought to life from the comics is amazing. I feel they are two separate entities, and although I enjoy watching the show (somewhat for Darryl), I still cling to and impatiently wait for the comic books and their further progression of the story. It’s a guilty pleasure knowing more of the story than the show chooses to tell. As previously stated, I see them as different things, and love them somewhat separately. I love tv Rick in a different way I love comic Rick and etc.

  20. AndreaswGwsays:

    I have to agree with you with the Dale Thing, his Death was pretty bad and unrealistic as hell, but in the others Point, youre mostly wrong.

    Every Season Finale had great Character Development und was an exiting set up for the next season. Season 1 with Shane. Season 2 with Rick, Andrea, Lori. Season 3 with The Governor, Rick and Carl.
    To the “Weak Episodes”. Do you remember the 9th Volume “Here we Remain” ? How many crying and losing faith was in this entire Volume ? That was way more annoying that anything the TV Show ever brought up.

    In The Comics there are also a lot of uninteresting charcters dying. And if you heard to the audience T-Dogs Dead shocked the Viewership.

    First of all: I belive that the Big War will come in Season 4 and second: Are you watching the Show for good Drama or Splatter ?

    To be honest i found the way they handeled Rick in the TV Series way more interesting than in the comics.

    I have to agree a bit. Season 2 was a bit lacking, could have been more action in it.

    This is the worst example ever. Shanes Storyline was 100000 Times better than in the comics. Way more Development, way more shocking Moments thanks to him and a better Finale. And even a better aftermath in Season 3 were he is still mentioned a lot.

    Season 2 had Zombies in every single Episode, not in the quantity of Season 3 but it had.

    Comics are´nt perfect at all. The TV Series made so MUCH improvements compared to the Comics. And also wouldn´t it be boring seeing the exactly same thing from the Comics on the Screen ?

  21. Namesays:

    This is old, but I feel like I have to point this extremely obvious fact out.

    “I mentioned before that The Walking Dead show felt like a drama taking place during the apocalypse”.

    Ahem.

    This is exactly what’s wrong with a lot TWD “fans”. They seem to think the show is just another action-filled zombie show where it needs to be non-stop action and bloodshed. The Walking Dead IS a drama taking place during the apocalypse.

    1. Namesays:

      Also, if the show was a carbon-copy of the comics, I would have no interest in it. I don’t really want to watch a show when I know exactly what’s going to happen next. The show hasn’t completely failed; only in the pacing of Season 2 and 3, and most of the episodes on the back half of Season 3 (Minus Clear, This Sorrowful Life, and Arrow to the Doorpost).

    2. Matt Donatosays:

      You’re right, not the best choice of words there, because TWD is absolutely a drama taking place during the apocalypse, I agree, but the comic breaks up that pacing and makes you forget. The show, on the other hand, will gone one entire episodes without raising a pulse, only to then take the easy way out. I care about the characters in the comic, not the TV show.

  22. Patsays:

    They didn’t blow up the CDC, they just couldn’t stop it from blowing up.
    How they could just walk away from all the military equipment still sitting outside was stupid though. A few million rounds of ammo and military grade weapons, why take any of that?
    The best part of the TV show so far has been finally killing off Lori, hated her so much.

  23. phillipkslicksays:

    We have to differ when it comes to season 2 as a whole, I think it’s the best season. That’s not saying much since I really disliked season 1 and gave up the show before being convinced to gilve season 2 a try, now, I’ve given up again and doubt I’ll watch season 4. Everything else we agree on. Also, you do know there are issues of the comic where there’s no zombies, right? Just pointing that out since that was your number 9 complaint about the show. In fact season 2 felt more like the comic to me, also Rick’s speech in the final moments of the season 2 finale is the one and only time AMC’s Rick felt like his comic counterpart.

  24. Jester1137says:

    The show has NO Frontalot.

    That alone makes it dramatically inferior to the comic.

  25. MIkesays:

    The comics go multiple issues without zombies.

  26. Consays:

    Dale’s death in TV was a great “fuck you” to fans of comics. Jesus, he survives two separate bites, ’til the second bite kills him, and that even takes like 12 hours or something. He also loses his both legs, fuck, the dude’s almost 70, and he pulls shit like that off! Dale’s death in comics was one of the best and memorable deaths of all time, but in TV…

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