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Upset At All the Ways The Walking Dead’s Changed From Comic to Show? Blame Daryl.


Except don’t blame Daryl, because he’s a crossbow-wielding light in dark places. Screw it, blame Andrea. Everybody blames her for everything anyway. Not that they should.

Robert Kirkman, creator of The Walking Dead comics and executive producer on the TV show, opened up at an Amazing Arizona Comic Con panel about the differences between the two; for example, how in the show Shane hung around until the end of the farm storyline, while in the comics he was actually Rick’s pet chihuahua and took of to Boca before the zombie apocalypse even happened.

Can you tell I haven’t read the comics?

But, in all seriousness, there’s a rather interesting reason the show has diverged so much from its original canon material: The presence of fan-favorite Daryl, whom Jill tells me doesn’t exist in the comics (I am shocked), necessitated that a lot of the plot be retooled. Put simply, he’s not gonna sit idly by with his crossbow in his lap and not have a major impact on how the story develops.

Says Kirkman, presumably in response to a question about whether Daryl will ever make his way to the printed page:

“I guess it wouldn’t be a bad thing if Daryl Dixon showed up in the comic. But I don’t know. I really like the separation. I like that when we sit down to write the show one of the first things we deal with is: ‘How does Daryl Dixon change this story?’ Because we always start from: ‘Ok, we like this part of the comic. How are we going to do it?’

And it’s just always interesting to get in there and be like, ‘Oh, well his existence and the fact that his personality is this, and he would behave this way, means that he would react to this person differently than this and differently than that.’ And it’s just really a great thing for the show that he doesn’t exist in the comic. And I really like that.

But yeah, I don’t know. It would be cool if he was in the comic, but I don’t really have any plans on doing that. But I guess he would be the one if I was going to pull any character from the show into the comic, it would be him. Mostly just because I love Norman [Reedus]. Handsome dude.”

The way Kirkman presents the relationship between the comic and the show is intriguing. It’s almost like AMC’s version is a fanfic AU of the original, except instead of an obnoxious two-dimensional OC sent in to mix things up for our main characters, we get Norman Reedus. It’s the best possible alternative. If there’s a single person on planet Earth who doesn’t love him, I don’t want to know about it. As a non-comics reader, it’s hard for me to imagine The Walking Dead without Daryl. Next you’ll be telling me that no one wears a poncho, or Shane died really early on. Crazy.

(via: blastr)

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  • Suzanne Larsen

    You’re not the only one. a friend of mine adores Daryl and hadnt read the comics, so she was wondering “How much badass stuff does he get to do in the comics that got censored for tv?” I said “nothing, he doesn’t exist.” So I loaned her my comics and she couldn’t believe it. She now also understands my rage over Andrea, who is so awesome in the comics and so NOT in the show.

  • Nicole Elizabeth Currie

    That is possibly the best description of WD (show) that I have ever read. Thank you for that.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    I can’t speak to the comics, obviously, but I was so pissed off about how the show treated her. She’s a complex character with an interesting arc, and all last season they didn’t give her much to do besides standing around talking to people.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t usually mind deviations, though I may be in the minority on this. If I wanted to see the exact same series of events I’d just reread the source; sometimes the changes make me more invested because now I don’t know for sure what is going to happen.

    I did hate that they introduced some cool new characters like T-Dog only to drop a damn bridge on them.

  • Adam R. Charpentier

    And making the wrong decisions and being murdered horribly.

  • Eve

    I like Daryl a lot, but it doesn’t bother me how badly Andrea was butchered. She is such a BAMF in the comic and the TV show made her Lori 2.0.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    I have to be completely honest, if unpopular. And it’s coming from a life-long zombie fanatic, and long-time reader. Are you ready? Here it is. Brace yourself.

    The comic isn’t ‘outstanding’. And changing things isn’t a bad idea.

    To be fair, it *used* to be outstanding. But as time has marched on it’s become extremely repetitive, cycling the same patterns and themes over and over. Worse it has become extremely hyper-violent simply for the sake of shock value. There’s a fine line between gripping, violent drama and torture porn. And the comic pole-vaulted over it a while ago.

    Some characters haven’t been done proper justice (Andrea for example), but overall I’m just fine with them cherry-picking concepts, and having someone reign in some of Kirkman’s tendencies.

  • Anonymous

    Nah, your opinion’s not that crazy. I wasn’t enamoured with the comic either. There was that whole bit in the prison where Rick gives an inspirational speech about how the women should stay in the prison and not fight zombies because this isn’t PC society, it’s the wilderness! And biotruths!

    It didn’t even make sense within the scope of the story (Andrea? Michonne? And why does Carl get a gun?) and I kind of lost interest after that. The stuff with the Governor did not improve my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    That reminds me of a friend who made a facebook post listing every plot twist/death/spoiler in the comic so far, so that people would “read the book”. (Why would they want to read it now?)

    It pleased me to no end that the show went in a different direction.

  • Pink Apocalypse

    I’d have to take a survey among friends, but I’m guessing the general consensus is going to be that no one has the right to force any woman to spew forth offspring from her loins, because, apocalypse.

    Part of me wishes they’d try to pull that on the show, just to see the horrifying blood-bath that would ensue, trying to tell Michonne she was now a breeding sow.

    I can imagine my reaction, and that reaction would involve decapitations.

  • Jamie Jeans

    I say blame Lorie… god she was annoyingly written and just one hell of an emotional manipulator.

    Then her stupidity somehow infected Andrea in season 3. Here’s to hoping the Stupid Infection stopped with Andrea and does not hit any other women in season 4.

  • Alexa

    What happened to Andrea on the show. I haven’t read the comics in years but I do remember her being a fairly capable character, but what did they do to her exactly?

  • Brittany K

    I don’t mind deviations until the adaptation changes so much it’s either A.) 100% unrecognizeable (*ahem* World War Z) or B.) Complete crap. Deviations keep people on their toes.

    But yeah, it’s a shame about T-Dog.

  • Anonymous

    For my money, the single biggest thing that The Walking Dead TV show did right in comparison to the comic is its treatment of Carol. She is appallingly written in the comic, truly awful — much worse than TV show Lori. But in the TV show her character arc was much better.

  • Joanna

    I’ve noticed that the show deliberately makes a character really annoying before it kills them off. Probably cos the creators are afraid of fan-rage.

  • Kumiko Akimoto

    I will blame andrea for everything that is wrong with the show, she’s way better in the comic anyways.

  • Dora Breckinridge

    I was pretty disappointed the way they handled Andrea in the show. (Caveat: I have only watched the first season.) In the comics she’s a very strong, capable character willing to make hard decisions… but she’s also significantly younger (college age, I think) and I thought the May/December romance she had with a significantly older character in the comics was EXTREMELY well done and an important bit of characterization for both characters. It seems like they’ve completely kneecapped everything about her that was unique and vital.

  • Anonymous

    In my mind, the show has just kinda made Daryl what Andrea should have been. Badass and Rick’s right hand person…

  • Alice Ruppert

    That is an incredible dick move and I would unfriend and ban that person faster than anyone could say “walker bait”

  • Suzanne Larsen

    I was hoping for a little while that they would assign Carol all of
    Andrea’s comic coolness because of the dynamic that she has on the show
    with Daryl. But now I don’t think I trust the show to be that smart.

  • http://www.gradientcomics.com/ Rob Payne

    Didn’t Lori get better before she was killed? I seem to remember not hating her at the beginning of season 3, or hating her less. And Andrea had that episode at the end of the season where she was sympathetic and almost cool… minus the surprise zombies at the tree and then stopping just outside the prison after not stealing the Governor’s vehicle, allowing herself to get caught from behind — again — and taken prisoner by the Governor who wouldn’t have been able to catch her if she’d just taken his truck or his damn keys. Huh, never mind.

  • http://www.gradientcomics.com/ Rob Payne

    THANK YOU.

    You are not alone.

  • kazenotaninonausicaa

    This comment has unrepentant comic spoilers, so, be warned! I haven’t read all the comics – I stopped somewhere around the 70s issues – but that’s much further ahead than the show.

    I love Daryl as a character. He’s complex and strong and Norman Reedus is certainly not hard to look at. However, I’m pretty annoyed that his character completely superseded the comic character of Andrea. In the comics Andrea becomes Rick’s second in command. She is much younger and in a heartbreaking and wonderful relationship with Dale. Dale dies in the comics, but in a completely different way that involves Andrea making a horrible decision to make sure he doesn’t suffer. It still makes me cry thinking about it. Andrea is incredibly competent: the best sharpshooter of the group. She is motherly and warm to the children of the group. She and Rick have a great relationship built on understanding and have no romantic tension. They are simply two competent survivors looking out for the wellbeing of those around them. It’s fantastic.

    Once the show had Daryl, they simply had no idea what to do with Andrea. They aged her up – I assumed – to make the relationship with Dale less ‘icky’ and yet never followed through. They just kept pairing her up with random men in authority. Instead of true character development, they decided that what she needed for the character to ‘grow up’ was to sleep with increasingly unstable men. I stopped watching the series for long periods at a time because Andrea in the comics is one of my favorite fictional characters and instead of developing her properly, the show seemed committed to making her a plot device by ensuring she carried the stupid ball in every season.

    I’m beyond upset that they took a wonderfully complex and competent female character and substituted Daryl for her. The new male character took what her character was intended for and instead of creating a new character arc for her – as they did with Carol – they just wrote her off. I love show Carol and am glad they developed her character (the comic Carol is horribly written), but wish they could have done the same for Andrea.

  • karina

    Yeah I kept waiting for Andrea to get awesome like in the comics….and it just fizzled. I still love the show, but I’m disappointed about her role in it. Daryl is awesome though…and I keep remembering him from Boondock Saints.

  • karina

    I have to really disagree with this…but that is just my opinion.

  • Joanna

    Ha. Can’t really remember. All I remember thinking when they died was “bout time!”

  • Joanna

    Ha. Can’t really remember. All I remember thinking when they died was “bout time!”

  • karina

    I wish I could say it was mine, but I found it through a friend of a friend…who then let me use the photo as my avatar.