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The Alternate Realities of #TheWalkingDead by @KevinTFischer

For anyone late to the undead party, this article contains spoilers!

At the end of the last episode with the Governor’s *grumbling* return and his literal falling into some of his old “soldiers”, let’s take a moment to discuss just how much things are different from the comic and the TV show. Without being rabid fans, we have Kevin Fischer from The Examiner here to give us his take on the whole thing. Kevin has some great insight and I am thrilled to have him here since I am not sure I can take what is going to be happening tonight and I am suffering from a “The Day of the Doctor” hangover. The Doctor and Zombies have a bit in common, they tend to keep coming, even if you knock them down… so.. join me today and welcome another type of alternate reality, one of The Walking Dead!

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The Alternate Realities
of
The Walking Dead

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AMC’s hit zombie apocalypse series The Walking Dead is an adaptation of the equally popular (possibly more) ongoing comic series of the same name. While both versions of the story feature a world gone to hell – where the dead walk and humanity is driven to the brink – there are quite a few differences between the two.

That’s not to say that the show is a radically deviation from its source – just that the two seem less like parallels of the same story and more like alternate realities. For every shared character, set piece and pivotal event – there are wildly divergent interpretations and spins on the similarities.

For example…

It’s obviously not all black and white

Not a lot of people could get away with a television show entirely in black and white in this day and age, so it makes sense that The Walking Dead TV show was in color. While it seems like a pretty superficial change, few can really argue with the aesthetic appeal that the contrasting color schemes brought.

The show features colors, yes, but there are muted and fuzzier tones employed to create a somber atmosphere in the story. With the comic, you really only get the monochromatic black, white and varying shades of gray. This color scheme yields quite a different experience, resonating with the reader and invoking a very bleak and surreal feeling. Of course, for anyone who stuck with The Walking Dead in the earlier run of the show, AMC actually did broadcast some episodes in black and white.

Characters and overall characterizations can vary

There are similarities between the show and the comic. They both feature Rick Grimes, our small town, everyman sheriff brimming with leadership, dependability and insight. The show and the comic both illustrate the evolution from civil-minded to survival-minded and they both feature plenty of gore. However, there are quite a few differences – both controversial and not – regarding the characters and characterizations.

The most obvious difference is that Daryl and Merle, as of right now, do not exist in the comic. Same for T-Dog who, at one point, might have been intended to replace the comic character Tyreese…you know, until the ACTUAL Tyreese made his television debut.  Characterizations are also a little different, as well, with Andrea’s romance with Dale being much more intimate and less wishy-washy in the comic than the wannabe soap opera that happened in the show.

Characters get maimed, scarred and brutalized more

Television shows, especially shows featuring hunks like Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes) and Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), often have a hard time really marring the faces of their shows. Oddly enough, for a story like The Walking Dead, the show has seemed wary of taking the kinds of risks that were frequent and unpredictable in the comic.

One of the major differences (so far) between the comic and the show is the simple fact that Rick is a lefty in the comic…or, rather, he was turned into one after meeting the Governor. Shortly after their initial meeting in Issue 27, the Governor wanted some answers from Rick and his group and he figured the best way to go about this was to unceremoniously chop off his hand. While Kirkman expressed regrets about this later, many fans of the comic stand by it as a critical and crucial moment in Rick’s development.

Not even the children were safe in the comic when Carl suffered a disfiguring head wound from a stray bullet in Issue 83. We’re not talking about something an eye patch would fix, either…we’re talking about a large portion of the kid’s right head gone – including the obliteration of his ear and eye. Jury’s still out on whether or not we’ll see this in the show, but you never know.

Even Andrea, whose comic avatar has long outlived her television counterpart, isn’t unscathed. It actually happened when they first found the prison in Issue 12 and met the seemingly harmless prisoners within. One of them, a prisoner named Thomas Richards, actually tried to cut off Andrea’s head. She struggled and, instead, got half of a Chelsea Smile which she, as of Issue 115, carries with her as a badge of pride.

The point is that these are the characters you pull for and the comic had no problem really throwing readers for a loop with these kinds of traumatic situations. While Merle lost his hand in Season 1 of the show, and it seems like Hershel has swapped places with the comic Dale in terms of the peg-leg, these events don’t hit quite as close to home as the ones in the comic.

Keeping it interesting

There are differences, to be sure, and above are just a few of them. None of this is to suggest, however, that the show or the comic are in anyway inferior to one another. The deviations and reinterpretations allow for fans to actually enjoy both for different reasons without the experience of feeling repetitive.

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Kevin Fischer is a freelance writer and contributor for Examiner.com. With a passion for TV, technology, sports, movies and music, Kevin is best considered as entertainment-enthusiast. In addition to keeping up with his favorite programs, teams, gadgets, and celebrities, Kevin enjoys going to concerts and exploring his musical talents. Check out his Examiner page or Tweet him @KevintFischer

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