The Walking Dead Comic vs. Show – 16 Shocking Differences

walking dead comics vs show

Are you an avid watcher of The Walking Dead who thought both the comics and TV series were the same? Or are you one of the many wringing their hands in despair because you find the two completely different?

The Walking Dead’s characters and storylines may play out quite differently on screen as opposed to in ink but the creator of the comic, Robert Kirkman, and the maker of TWD TV series, Scott Gimple have made sure that the basic structure of the comic doesn’t lose its integrity.

As revealed in our list of TWD trivia, Daryl doesn’t exist on paper and that Jesus is still alive and kicking. But did you know that Rick loses a hand in the graphic novel? Or that Negan looks totally different as a comic book character? Check out more shocking differences between The Walking Dead TV show and comic…

1. Rick Grimes

In the comics, Rick turns into a walker. I’m kidding.

Although it’s a popular fan-theory, rest assured it hasn’t happened in the comics. In both situations, he starts off as a noble and highly-principled leader and rides the slippery slope from law man to outlaw man. His community still blindly follows him and makes him their guru.

But there a few things that we don’t see happening to the leader on the show. Most obvious, he has no hand because The Governor cut it off. It seems this honor was passed onto Merle (poor Merle) and Rick got to keep his Colt python because it’s pretty hard in the hot, sticky sun to shoot it one handed, not to mention managing the ongoing prosthesis stump.

It may shock viewers to know that in the comics, Rick goes on to marry Andrea after Lori’s death. Unlike the TV show, Rick’s death is confirmed in the comics, after he gets shot by Sebastian Milton. Will he suffer the same fate in the upcoming Walking Dead movie?

2. Carl Grimes

In both the comics and series, Carl Grimes is Rick’s smart, somewhat hardened son. The major differences are that while Carl’s eye is accidentally and gruesomely shot out by Ron on TV, his eye is mistakenly shot out by Alexandria leader, Douglas Monroe (who is the Deanna equivalent) in the comics.

People around the globe may be laughing at Andrew’s Lincoln’s faux southern accent and his pronunciation of ‘Coral’, as he is so fondly known (and even turned into a meme), but few may be laughing at Carl’s hardened and shocking transition from a little boy into a mini-Rick – a vigilante with a colony to defend.

Oh! And just a little by-the-by, in the comic, Carl kills the real, non-zombiefied Shane. He’s also married to Sophia (yes, Carol’s daughter) and he isn’t dead…yet.

3. Daryl Dixon

Daryl Dixon is definitely leading the pack in terms of the show’s anti-heroes and rough-as-guts fiercely loyal characters. He hunts with a crossbow, he has no fear when it comes to zombies or villains and he would rather die than be made a coward of.

Daryl’s a huge fan-favorite and he’s brought us some of the best scenes in Walking Dead history – it would be difficult to see the show carry on without him. Funnily enough, in the comics? He doesn’t exist. Now that’s a comparison that blows our brains!

4. Michonne

It will surprise watchers to know that Michonne remains a distant and somewhat mysterious character in ink. She’s just as fearless and endures even more than the TV Michonne (raped and tortured by the Governor) and even has a relationship with Ezekiel and Tyrese. Rick is nowhere to be seen except in wedded bliss with Andrea. So, if you like the idea of Richonne, then stick to the show (until season 9 of course) and don’t bother opening the graphic novels.

What we do know about her in the comics, is that Michonne ends up being reunited with her child (who dies on TV) and gives up her sword to become the community lawyer.

5. Carol Peletier

Carol is perhaps the most badass and fearless characters of the whole TV series (rivalled only by Daryl Dixon and perhaps Rick Grimes). She evolves form a meek, abused housewife to the woman who kills her husband with a pickaxe before he turns. She shares a deep friendship with Daryl Dixon which constantly taunts fans as to a potential relationship. Why not? She makes really good cookies and is a maniac zombie, and person, killer.

In the comic? Meh, Carol is sad and never finds her inner lion. She romances with Tyrese but when he cheats on her with Michonne, she turns to Lori and suggests that they become a happy family with Rick (weird). Duh, Lori refuses and so Carol commits suicide with the help of a walker. Turns out, in the comics, Carol is a bit of a nothing, and dead character.

Did you know the AMC show is full of secret references and Easter Eggs? Check out our list of hidden clues in The Walking Dead!

6. Andrea

In the comic books, Andrea would become Andrea Grimes as she and Rick marry after Lori’s death. In the show, her last name is not mentioned, although her father is Terry Harrison, so essentially, we kind of know.

Non-comic readers, prepare yourself for a shock! Earlier on in the story, Andrea and Dale are an item! 68-year-old car salesman, Dale Horvath, and Andrea, 25, start an unconventional relationship, going so far as to adopt Ben and Billy who are the comic’s creepy equivalents of Micah and Lizzie.

Unlike in the comics where she is bitten by a walker, Andrea’s onscreen counterpart is killed off by The Governor when she is left in a room with Milton, the scientist-turned-zombie, who reanimates and takes her out. Andrea’s leaving was a controversial one.

7. Morgan

Morgan isn’t much of a big player in Kirkman’s original scenario. He doesn’t have the no-kill ethic nor is he a master of Aikido. In fact, he’s a bit of a background character without much significance. But when you cast the Lennie James, you have to have something a bit meatier for him. The series allows us to watch long portions of Morgan’s story which starts with meeting Rick after having had his wife turn (the only consistency) through his solo journey to find peace and something to believe in, in the midst of the carnage and despondency. We see him rejoin Rick, and his community, where he inevitably breaks his no-kill rule to protect Carol.

The TV show has definitely enriched this character and I’m glad. Because on-paper, Morgan ends up dying from a walker bite. Oh and he hooks up with Michonne. Damn, she gets around in the comics!

8. Eugene Porter

There are two very important commonalities between TV show Eugene and comic Eugene – the mullet. It’s all business at the front and party at the back for both. Both also pretend to be carrying the cure for the virus outbreak when in reality, they’re just high-school science teachers.

A major difference, however, is that in the comics, Eugene and Rosita are married! Yes, you read right!

The biggest difference is that in the original story, Eugene is absolutely and steadfastly loyal to Rick. He is unwaveringly loyal and would not join Negan’s side in a million years. The onscreen Eugene is a blubbering mess of mixed-up morality who’s easily influenced.

9. Glenn Rhee

Glenn is one of the more consistent characters between both milieux. He meets Maggie at Hershel’s farm, marries her and she falls pregnant. Glenn is equally as loving and loveable and is a fierce and cunning fighter. He indeed dies in the same way – at the business end of Lucille.

Fans were understandably devastated at Glenn’s death in the comic’s 100th issue and his skull-cracking, eye-popping demise at the hands of Negan on screen. His rumored final words to Maggie? “I will find you”.

10. Maggie Greene

Maggie is the daughter of Hershel Greene, owner of the farm where the group take refuge. Glenn Rhee comes to stay at the farm and the pair fall in love and she falls pregnant. As on television, in the comics, Maggie gives birth to her son and names him Hershel and she later becomes the leader of the Hilltop Community.

So far, so good – the stories are consistent in both media. A few major discrepancies? She hasn’t left her people. Instead, Maggie actually adopts Carol’s daughter Sophia, who is still alive in the comics, and becomes President of the Commonwealth.

11. Negan

Jeffrey Dean Morgan is just as terrible and villainous in the comics as he is in the show. He still says the funniest lines and he does indeed kill Glenn at random, but not Abraham, who instead gets shot through the eye with an arrow on the printed page. The sarcastic and sadistic villain is in fact a lot more bulkier in built in the comics as compared to his onscreen counterpart. Something both readers and viewers will agree on? Negan is hands-down the worst villain we have ever seen in The Walking Dead so far – whichever version you prefer.

After his incarceration in the comics, Negan ends up proving his loyalty by saving Rick and earning his trust. After killing Alpha, he moves on to live as a hermit in an abandoned town with occasional visits from Carl Grimes. But that’s it so far. TV-Negan is also becomes a somewhat “anti-hero”, becoming besties with Judith rather than Carl (because he’s dead, duh). Freed from imprisonment by Carol, Negan helps the survivors by killing Alpha on-screen, too.

12. Judith

Rick and Carl were left with the burden of looking after baby Judith throughout the television show but in the comics, this Grimes character was rubbed out from the start. Unlike the TV show, in the comics, Judith actually died with her mother, Lori, during The Governor’s prison assault.

What with the six-year time jump on the show, Judith is now a fully fledged teen. She is adopted by Michonne and takes on a lot of her brother’s characteristics (and sheriff hat). Even her secret friendship with Negan is inspired by Carl’s relationship with the villain in the comics.

13. Jesus

Jesus’ death on The Walking Dead TV show was a far cry from what comic book fans are familiar with. In fact, this character is very much alive on paper. He plays an integral role in fighting the Whisperers and actually survives the battle we saw in the season 9 mid-season finale. Instead of dying, Jesus kills all of the Whisperers except for one, whom he takes back to Hilltop as a prisoner.

We’re gutted (see what we did there?) we won’t see Jesus again on-screen, but his legacy continues in the comics, nonetheless. P.S – in the comics, Jesus is in a relationship with Aaron!

14. Ezekiel

Ezekiel is still the charming, theatrical and fascinating leader in the comics as he is on television, but there are in fact a few dissimilarities with his character. Firstly, Shiva’s owner doesn’t first meet Carol or Morgan during his introduction – instead, he gets to know Rick Grimes, first. He may hook up with Carol on-screen, but believe it or not, on-page, Ezekiel has eyes for none other than Michonne. They even end up becoming lovers!

Sadly, Ezekiel is eventually murdered by The Whisperers and had his head is decapitated and placed on a stake. In the TV show so far, Ezekiel is very much alive, although he has developed thyroid cancer.

15. Rosita

Rosita may be alive in the television series, but on paper, the character is actually well and truly dead. In fact, she is one of Alpha’s many victims whose head ends up on a stake – indeed the horrid scene in the season 9 finale of The Walking Dead plays out rather differently on screen. Instead of Tara and Enid, in the comics, it is poor Ezekiel and Rosita who fall victim to Alpha’s horrid ‘border’.

Both on TV and in the comics, Rosita is in love with Abraham. On paper, however, she ends up marrying Eugene after Abraham’s death, but on screen, Rosita falls for Gabriel. In both versions of The Walking Dead, Rosita has a baby with Siddiq.

16. Dwight

In both the comics and show, Dwight works for Negan and ends up betraying the villain to join the survivors. On TV, Dwight helps the survivors, but ends up being exiled by Daryl; but in the comics however, Dwight eventually becomes the leader of the Saviors, takes charge of the Alexandrian military, and becomes Rick’s trusted adviser and right-hand man. He’s later killed by Rick himself after acting like a loose canon.

What are the biggest surprises? The fact that Daryl Dixon doesn’t exist in one world but seems to be an amalgamation of several of Kirkman’s characters? Is it that Carol is a meek and extremely sad character who dies early in one version, but is ranked one of the most badass female TV characters of all time? Or perhaps it’s the fact that Dale and Andrea are for a time, a family with two children?

Whatever it is, don’t forget to binge-watch The Walking Dead if you haven’t already. Despite the above spoilers, it is a gripping, roller-coaster ride of a show. No wonder it was ranked as one of the most popular TV series. Or maybe you should sit down with a stack of TWD comics and catch up on the original backstory? Comment below on the differences you found the most shocking…


Tale Teller

  • Anna K

    I hail from the Land of the Long White Cloud - New Zealand. I am a teacher, jewellery designer, international award winning writer and blog owner of The Story Sofa. I love binge-watching TV shows then analysing them, drinking tea, writing mystery stories, the cool wind on a dark night and rain on the roof.

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5 years ago

U need to read the comics more cause Glenn died before maggie gave birth to Herschel in the comics i know this because she’s pregnant in all out war re read it n this article is full of mistakes like when u said the creator of the comics is alan kirkman its robert kirkman