Welcome to part two of The Walking Dead Comic Newbie, a written series intended to highlight the important differences between The Walking Dead comics and its corresponding television series. What is different? What is the same? Let’s take a look.
At the end of part one of Comic Newbie, we wrapped up volume three (issue #24) with the group settling in the prison, Lori’s pregnancy announcement, and the aftermath of the fight between Tyreese and Rick. Since then, much has happened.
Over the four volumes that I have read, the group has encountered new enemies, made new companions, and suffered many losses. At the start of volume five, the group begins to come to terms with the personalities within the prison. They encounter the governor, Lori gives birth to baby Judith, and a war for the prison is waged.
Within all of these events, many differences and similarities have occurred. Here are a few to start.
01. The Adoption
Shortly after Allen’s death, Dale and Andrea decide to take their relationship to an entirely new level by adopting Allen and Donna’s twin boys. Rather than simply shacking up together, the couple assumes the family role and becomes much more invested in the safety of the group.
As more dangerous events begin to transpire, it is no longer just about keeping each other alive, but guaranteeing the safety of the twins. This sense of worry and dread for the young ones in the group adds an entirely new level of anxiety to the integrity of the prison — something we are familiar with when it comes to the TV series.
02. Carol the Weirdo
I know. Carol is everyone’s favorite character on the television show, but in the comic book series, she’s a total weirdo. In an exchange with Lori in the prison, Carol asks if she can be Rick’s second wife so that they can raise their children together as one big family. And no, not in the polygamist way, but in a way that allows all three of them to be together romantically. WEIRD CAROL IS WEIRD!
Lori, being the more level headed one, tells Carol that her notion for normalcy is abnormal and their friendship temporarily ends because of it. Once Carol seems to be back to her old self, Lori makes a point to rekindle the friendship that was so awkwardly tarnished by her proposal. To everyone’s surprise, Carol’s obscure behavior did not end there.
03. Rick Loses a Hand
One event that never makes it to the show was the abduction of Rick, Glenn, and Michonne. In the TV series, Maggie undergoes mental torture from the governor, while Glenn received physical torture from Merle Dixon. In the comics, their capture is far more gruesome.
As the group explores and comes into close proximity with Woodbury, the governor and his men entice the trio to come inside the walls. Shortly after, the group becomes aware that not all things are diplomatic and peaceful as they seem. When the conflict turns physical, the governor chops off Rick’s right hand so that he will forfeit the location of the prison. Rick, with his iron clad constitution, never gives him the information he desires.
04. The Governor Tortures Michonne
Another gruesome event that never makes it to TV is one that I am relieved of —the scene between the governor and Michonne. To be clear, I am 54 issues in and have seen many things… nothing comes close to this.
When the governor chops off Rick’s hand, Michonne lunges at him and bites off his ear. As a way to make her pay for it, the governor rapes and tortures Michonne until they are finally able to escape. Although they don’t show the rape itself, they don’t spare readers from language and snippets of the act — and let me tell you, it was almost too difficult to read.
The scene in the TV show where the governor seems as though he is going to rape Maggie is clearly a soft homage to this scene with Michonne in the comics. Rather than forcing viewers to endure what the comic book readers did, they lightened it up and saved Maggie from sharing Michonne’s terrible experience in the comics.
05. The True Gauge of the Governor’s Evil
Not only did the writers for the TV show remove Michonne’s rape scene, but they ousted the entirety of the governor’s sick and twisted character. Sure, he may have had the tanks full of floating walker heads, his chained up dead daughter, and few other small elements of crazy in the show, but overall, there are vast differences between the two governors.
The governor in the comics is not calm, cool or collected. He is impulsive, selfish, and full of rage. Although the show tried to paint the picture of a disturbed man, the governor in the show was rather diplomatic. Perhaps the writers curved his craziness as a way to market the show to a wider demographic, or maybe comic book governor simply does not fit in the political, slow-to-burn The Walking Dead TV universe.
06. Michonne’s Revenge
Since the rape scene between the governor and Michonne was never part of the TV show, Michonne’s revenge certainly doesn’t occur either.
After Michonne and the group escapes and returns to the prison, she is a broken woman, but a woman scorned nonetheless. We see glances of her scarred up backside and one scene where she crawls in bed with Tyreese with tears streaming down her face, searching for his comfort.
Once she regains some sanity, Michonne returns to Woodbury alone at night. After sneaking into the governor’s apartment, she quickly apprehends him and gives him the payback all rape victims dream of. In a scene that will make you cringe, Michonne tears the governor limb from limb, spoons out one of his eyeballs, rips off his fingernails, drills into him and lastly, removes his penis. Once she’s done, she leaves him for dead.
Sadly for her, it wouldn’t be the last time she saw him.
07. Dale Loses a Leg
It was a very sad day when Dale died in the TV show. We all teared up as a walker tore open his abdomen and we were forced to say goodbye to our favorite, nosy, RV repairman.
In the comic books, Dale runs outside with Herschel’s son Billy to retrieve some gas for the prison. Since Lori was in labor, they needed to make sure the area was lit (explaining the late night fuel run). As Dale scurried, he was bit in the back of the right leg. Typical of The Walking Dead, his right leg was removed from the knee down, placing Dale on the ever-growing The Walking Dead amputee list.
08. Alice the Nurse
One delightful character that we never see in the TV series is Alice from Woodbury. During Glenn, Rick and Michonne’s escape from the town, they encounter the pretty blonde nurse and she tells them that she would like to leave and help them. Alice returns with the group and quickly becomes one of the most helpful people there. She delivers baby Judith, amputates Dale’s leg, treats Rick’s gunshot wound, and medically oversees the care for everyone inhabiting the prison until its downfall.
Not only was Alice intelligent and useful, but she wanted to learn more about the virus itself. After Rick discovers that Alice had requested the capture of a walker for scientific testing, her heated response to Rick added true depth to her character. Unfortunately for Alice, the governor runs into her as she is preparing to flee the prison attack and shoots her in the head.
09. Carol Commits Suicide like a Weirdo
It was obvious that the apocalypse, the betrayal of Tyreese, and the rejection of Lori was too much for poor Carol. Once Lori decided to reconcile with her, Carol prompts Lori with a strange question — if she would take care of Sophia if anything happened to her. Lori quickly assures Carol that she would raise Sophia as if she were her own if she had to.
With one suicide attempt under her belt, Carol was ready to try and kill herself again after she knew that Lori would look after Sophia. But before she could off herself, she decided to sneak into Billy’s cell and have sex with him first. Once she was done with him, she walked outside and willingly let Alice’s walker rip out her neck.
Unfortunately for Sophia, her mother’s final booty call was more important than saying goodbye to her daughter.
10. Governor’s Prison Attack
Although the governor attacks the prison in both the TV show and in the comics, both events play out very differently. In the comics, they attack and give them the chance to forfeit. Not surprisingly, Rick and the group fight back until the governor and his men flee.
In order to avoid being in the prison during the second attack, Dale, Andrea and the kids pack up and leave in the R.V after the first fight. Meanwhile, Michonne and Tyreese put on the riot gear and leave on foot to attack those who retreated head on.
11. Tyreese Gets Beheaded
Shortly after Michonne and Tyreese hastily head for the Woodbury attackers outside of the prison, Tyreese is captured. One of the governor’s goons tells him that they shot down Michonne during the capture (which was a lie, of course).
When the governor and his group return to the prison, they ask them to forfeit once more. But this time, the governor uses Tyreese as a bargaining chip. Rick’s group denies the bargain and the governor chops off Tyreese’s head with Michonne’s sword.
Essentially, all of the events that lead to Herschel’s death in the show are exactly the same as the comics, except that it is Tyreese’s head on the chop-and-block instead.
12. Andrea the Badass
One incredible difference between the show and the comics is Andrea. Although Andrea is a mouthy, slow burning character in the show, she is a spitfire, seasoned badass in the comics. And with large scars on her cheek and forehead, Andrea not only looks like a war hero, but acts like one as well.
After Dale, Andrea, and the kids flee the prison, Andrea returns during the second attack to even the odds with her sharpshooter expertise — and let me just say, this scene was amazing.
The TV show often gets its kicks by having the same badass companions save the day in each episode. In the comics, this happens much less often than you would think. Most of the time, characters are entirely on their own. That being said, when Andrea came in guns blazing to take out the governor and his people, I nearly jumped out of my skin with joy.
13. Goodbye Lori & Baby Judith
Something I was not expecting to happen so soon was Lori and Judith’s death. Although the TV show did an amazing job with evoking pain with the loss of Lori, having baby Judith die at the same time in the comics was almost too much to bear.
This scene was also difficult to read. Just as hope was in their grasp and Lori, Rick and Carl began to run to safety, Lori was shot down by a Woodbury citizen. Carl screamed “MOM!” and tried to run back, but Rick grabbed him and forced him to continue onward.
Those who die in the prison attack include Tyreese, the Governor, Lori, Judith, Herschel, Billy, Axel, and many more.
14. The Governor’s Death
Although the comic book is unprecedentedly more enjoyable than the TV show, there is one thing that the show pulled off better — and that was the governor’s death.
In the comic book series, a Woodbury citizen shoots the governor in the head once she comes to terms with the monster that he really is. Although she shot him in the dome, the governor meets his actual death at the mouths of zombies after being kicked into a mob of them.
In the show, Michonne impales him with her sword and leaves him for dead and Lilly, the mother who lost her daughter because she trusted the governor, finishes the job by putting a bullet into his brain.
Either way, bye-bye governor!
There you have it, 14 major differences between the comics and the television show. As you can see, a lot happened in four volumes —and I have so much more to go! Stay tuned for PART THREE of The Walking Dead Comic Newbie!