I consider myself of a fan of “The Walking Dead”.
I was introduced to the franchise through the TV series, and around the beginning of Season 3, I was given “The Walking Dead Compendium 1” as a (fantastic!) Christmas present. Once I cracked that book open, there was no turning back, and I’ve found myself becoming increasingly critical of the television show as time goes by.
I know it’s somewhat unfair to compare the two and create an “apples and oranges” argument, but I’m going to anyway since many people have been vocally disappointed with the entire Season 6 finale / Season 7 premiere debacle. I think some of those fans could easily transition to the books and still enjoy “The Walking Dead” story without any of the nonsense that AMC has been putting its viewers through lately.
Here are some reasons I feel “The Walking Dead” comics are superior to the show at this point.
There is virtually no comparison here.
The comics are incredibly quick reads, even as far as comics go, and picking up the Omnibus or Compendiums means you can read through roughly 3 “seasons” of source material in the time it would take you to binge watch 1 on a TV streaming service. Not to mention the horrific pacing the show has suffered as of late. Watching it “in real time” on a weekly basis has started to feel like a chore. Minor plot points that are resolved in a matter of minutes across 5 pages become laborious, commercial-laden one hour filler episodes.
This is a current hot topic based on the events of the Season 7 premiere. No spoilers, but it was pretty brutal.
While a comprehensive analysis of America’s cultural censorship standards (evisceration and decapitation OK, nipples CENSORED) are beyond the scope of this blog post, I have to touch on the gore for a moment.
As a horror fan and writer, I’ve come to both expect and appreciate gore. I don’t enjoy gore for it’s own sake (although I think it has a place), but I’ve developed a particularly high tolerance for it.
That said, the nearly “identical” events of the Season 7 premiere / Issue #100 couldn’t have been more different in delivery. The books used them as a turning point, and while horrific, they were over in a matter of moments. The TV show led its audience on for the better part of 6 months, only to then drag the payoff out for almost 30 minutes of browbeating melodrama. Any narrative weight to the story arc was lost within the spectacle.
On a lesser note, the censorship of dialogue in the TV show is annoying, especially for certain characters. The jury is still out for me on this one, since I feel like most of the profanity in the books doesn’t add much, but in some cases the show would be better served if it remained as close to the source material as possible.
I give it to the TV show on this one.
I know AMC’s “The Talking Dead” would like to have you believe this is all drama of the highest caliber, but it’s not. It’s just the longest zombie movie ever made. (Sorry Chris Hardwick.)
Most of the comic dialogue reads at around a 5th grade level, and is peppered with tons of (see above) profanity. It’s not a bad thing, but lets be honest about what we’re dealing with.
The show packs in FAR more character development, which is necessary, since that medium demands characters for fans to latch onto over the long term. Plus, I’m sure having an ensemble cast with that kind of turnover would be present its own challenges.
This has played to its detriment lately, since many (including myself) saw the show “playing it safe” and protecting certain characters when the original intention was that anyone could die at any time against such a dangerous backdrop.
When it comes to the books, the characters are more flat, and often just plot devices that get arbitrarily picked off. Then again, it is just a comic about the zombie apocalypse.
Do you enjoy “The Walking Dead”? If so, does your preference lean more toward the show or the books? Discuss below!