You didn't really think I was done talking about The Walking Dead on AMC yet, did ya? My original plan was to re-read the comics along with the show as it aired, and talk about each episode afterwards. Unfortunately for me, I have somewhere around a half million comics, and my issues of the Walking Dead ended up spread all over the place throughout the course of three different location changes the past few years. However, a friend asking me if they could read the comics, and myself always being one to promote comics whenever possible, prompted me to rent a backhoe and dig all 78 issues out and get them together.
This also gives me the opportunity to do what I had planned on doing, and enjoy the series all over again, in both print and televison formats. It's going to be somewhat difficult to not read ahead of the show beforehand, as I won't be sure before the episodes air when and where in the story they'll break. I remember enough of the series to stay pretty close though I think. That's the plan anyway. For this first post, I'm gonna catch up on the first two episodes, in preparation for the third tonight.
Episode 1: Days Gone By
So far there have been lots of things that seem to be pulled directly from the books, especially in the first 90 minute episode. The scene when Rick is shot was of course important for setting up the entire story, but in the show it was way more fleshed out and took longer to get through. Nothing really important to note as far as differences to what happened, but in the comic it was I think literally no more than three or four panels on one page. The flashback sequences with Rick and Shane in the patrol car talking, and with Rick and Lori didn't happen in the book either. I thought these were nice additions, particularly the Rick and Shane scene as we get a glimpse of their past friendship, and adds a little sadness to what is coming for those two.
The meeting of Morgan and his son Duane also ended up being pretty different detail wise, and for the better. I thought Morgan's reaction to Rick in the show was far better and more believable in the show. In the book, Duane cracked Rick on the back of the head with the shovel, Morgan ran over, looked at Rick, helped him up and took him home for dinner without much question. In the show, same thing, only Morgan never took his gun off Rick, even after he got him home and cleaned and bandaged up until after much deliberation, and explanation on Rick's part. Granted, in the book the first thing Rick did after waking up in the hospital was put on clean clothes instead of waltzing around town in his tattered, dirty hospital gown, so "comics Morgan" was dealing with what probably appeared to be a perfectly normal human being. Still, during the zombie apocalypse, it's going to take more than clean clothes to make me comfortable with a stranger, especially if I'm considering bringing him to the home that me and my children are living in.
The other stuff before they part ways was overall the same in both, Rick took them to the police station, gave them supplies, thanked them and they went their separate ways. The book never gives us a look at Morgan again after this point, the show adds what so far has been my favorite difference. Morgan returns home with Duane, tells his son to read his comic books for a while, and proceeds upstairs with the rifle that Rick has just given him. I'm not sure if I'm exactly right, but to me at this point it seemed as if maybe Morgan had decided to move on, because he no longer seems worried about alerting the walkers outside to his and Duane's presence and begins shooting from a second floor window. He eventually trains his crosshairs on his wife, but can't bring himself to pull the trigger. Again, not entirely sure why he decided to do this, unless he and Duane are taking their car and relocating.
The rest of the episode was pretty close to the book, with no notable differences. The tank was new, and pretty cool. It did appear in the comic, but only for a splash page, and there wasn't any interaction with it. The poor horse was in both, but his ending was far more unsettling in the show, attribute that to the addition of sound though.
Episode 2: Guts
Episode two was a completely different story, literally. I promise not to be as long on with this one, and honestly couldn't be if I tried. The Asian kid who rescued Rick is Glenn, at this point in the comic, Glenn and Rick escape the department store by climbing the scaffolding and leaping to the roof of the store beside it, then climbing down and running back to camp, where Rick is reunited with his family and meets the others. The show at this point introduces us to several characters in the store, including four that don't appear in the comic. As far as I remember, and can tell from what I've gone back and read, Morales, Jacqui, T-Dog, and Merle exist in television continuity only. Amy, Andrea, and Jim exist in both. Again, nothing wrong with changing things up, but from what I can tell it looked as if this group had maybe left camp in search of supplies, and had run into Rick. In the comic, no one seemed to know exactly why, but Glenn always made supply runs alone. Maybe easier for him to get in and out by himself? Not sure, but if we're going to add characters, I really hope they all aren't as annoying as these few were.
The only other real difference worth mentioning is Shane's relationship with Lori, which seems to be secretive in both, but much more "ongoing" in the show. I got the impression that Shane and Lori had been routinely sneaking off the be by themselves and getting it on, in the comic it's only referenced once and Lori is of the opinion that it was a mistake. Apparently "tv Lori" is ok with making this "mistake" into a bad habit maybe. Again, a subtle difference, but makes what is looming there a little more uncomfortable.
So all caught up and ready for episode three now! I've finished the first 6 issues of the comic as of this writing, so I'm probably as far ahead as I need to be for a while. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised if the season finale wasn't what happens at the end of issue 6. The show is off to a fantastic start though, with a lot of good buzz, especially amongst the horror blogging community. I also read online today in several different places that the show has been given the go ahead for a second season. It's exciting, being a long time fan of the series, it's really nice to see so much love for The Walking Dead right now.