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The Walking Dead Comic Books and TV Show

I have watched the Walking Dead TV show for a while now, it is a guilty pleasure that neither my wife nor child will to watch, kind of a “dad’s time” thing.

I am not a “zombie” or horror film/book fan. I do not like gory movies or detailed gore filled descriptions in books. But after hearing friends talk about how much they liked The Walking Dead I decided to give the TV show a try. I was hooked right from the first episode. The acting is good, the location is my hometown of Atlanta, and the gore is usually not over the top.

At DragonCon 2011 I attended a couple of panels where actors from the show discussed their experiences. Questions from the audience referred to the comic book a lot, as in almost all of the questions were either about what it was like to film the show in the Atlanta area or about how the show differs from the comic book’s story line.

As a part of my iPad comic book exploration I decided to give The Walking Dead comic a try and see if the story is as good in comic form as it is on TV. To my delight the comic is even better than the TV show.

The plot and premise of the comic and TV show are the same, but I think the comic book is a lot more realistic. The most glaring point to me is that the comic does not shy away from the “Z” word like the show does, the show calls them “walkers” which is just silly and painful to hear.

Also, the comic book is much more open about the day-to-day frustrations felt by the characters. They show a lot more stress, have many more mental breakdowns, and are reacting to their situation in a way that I find more realistic than the aimless wandering they appear to be doing on the TV show.

The comic books are well illustrated, the dialog is great, the pacing is near perfection, and the tension feels real.

I recently attended Timegate, a Dr. Who and Stargate fan convention in Atlanta. I attended a panel on The Walking Dead with Michael Cowart, Mike Faber, Leo Thompson who opened my eyes to the idea that the comic and TV shows diverging is not a bad thing. It will provide opportunities for surprises and allow characters to develop in different and hopefully interesting ways.

From AMC:

Based on one of the most successful and popular comic books of all time, written by Robert Kirkman, AMC’s The Walking Dead captures the ongoing human drama following a zombie apocalypse. The series follows a group of survivors, led by police officer Rick Grimes, played by Andrew Lincoln (Love Actually, Teachers, Strike Back), who are traveling in search of a safe and secure home. However, instead of the zombies, it is the living who remain that truly become the walking dead. Jon Bernthal (The Pacific, The Ghost Writer) plays Shane Walsh, Rick’s sheriff’s department partner before the apocalypse, and Sarah Wayne Callies (Prison Break), is Rick’s wife, Lori Grimes. Additional cast include: Laurie Holden, Steven Yeun, Norman Reedus, Jeffrey DeMunn, Chandler Riggs, Iron E. Singleton and Melissa McBride. Guest stars include: Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson and Pruitt Taylor Vince.

From Image Comics:

An epidemic of apocalyptic proportions has swept the globe, causing the dead to rise and feed on the living. In a matter of months, society has crumbled: There is no government, no grocery stores, no mail delivery, no cable TV. Rick Grimes finds himself one of the few survivors in this terrifying future. A couple months ago he was a small town cop who had never fired a shot and only ever saw one dead body. Separated from his family, he must now sort through all the death and confusion to try and find his wife and son. In a world ruled by the dead, we are forced to finally begin living.

I rate the TV show a 7 out of 10 and the comic books a 9 out of 10. Both are a must for fans of the zombie genre.

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