The GeeksverseHe’s Not Supposed To Die Yet

He’s Not Supposed To Die Yet
Published on Tuesday, March 6, 2012 by

I just watched this week’s episode of The Walking Dead and over the weekend I finished up reading the second volume of the comic book. And I wonder why they’re so different.

Now I could go on about how the comic isn’t as good as I thought it would be (it’s not) but what really got my attention is how different the tv show is from the comic book; different characters live and die, there are events in one that aren’t in the other, there are characters that exist in one but not the other. This is nothing new to the comic book fan.

He's not in the tv show

We’re used to seeing our beloved books changed when they go from one medium to the other. Sometimes the changes are drastic and some aren’t. Sometimes the end result looks nothing like the source material (Wanted, I’m looking at you). We’ve come to expect this. We may not like it, but we’ve come to expect it.

Quick tanget, the better the movie (or tv show or whatever) is, I’ve noticed that it’s easier for people to accept the changes. Wanted was a good movie, so it was easier for people to accept that it wasn’t like the comic book then it was for people to accept the CW’s Birds Of Prey, which wasn’t good and wasn’t like the comic book. Funny how that works, huh?

Anyways, I saw the tv show before I started reading the comic. I’m not a zombie fan at all. It was my girlfriend that convinced me to watch it. We watched the entire first season in a weekend and have been hooked. I picked up the first volume for a couple of reasons; thinking I might be able to get her into reading comics through it and I also figured I should check it out and see what all the fuss is about.

He's not in the comic

Watching this week’s episode and the result at the end, which was telegraphed throughout the episode but is neither here nor there, I started to wonder why this changes from medium to medium have to happen.

In alot of cases it’s obvious why:
1) Budget concerns
2) Trying to cut all the story into 2 hrs
3) Concepts just wouldn’t fly with a traditional movie-going audience (to which I reply, then why bother adapting that material)

But looking at The Walking Dead I can’t find a reason why it shouldn’t have been a note for note remake of the comic book.

Budget?

Nothing in the comic book that hasn’t already been shown on tv, and in fact the tv show has had a lot more in the way of effects then the comic book did.

He should be dead by now

Trying to cut all the story into the time frame?

It’s a weekly serial show. Good writers would be able to make it work. I’m still not seeing anything.

Concept?

Nope, the concept is the same from one to the other.

So why was The Walking Dead changed so much? It’s even more surprising when realize that the writer/creator of the comic, Robert Kirkman, is also an executive producer of the show.

Why does it happen? Why would Kirkman allow it to happen?

He shouldn't be dead yet

Is it as simple an idea that the same story works in one medium but not another? What works in the comic book won’t work in the tv show? I find that hard to believe, because for the first 12 issues, there really hasn’t been anything in the comic book that wouldn’t or shouldn’t have worked the same way on the tv show.

This was a great oppotunity, and probably the only one we might get anytime soon, to do a direct comic to live action tv adaption. I’ve said that I do like seeing where the show goes with it’s different take, as it follows the same path as the comic. But it’s not doing that.

I think I would have liked to have seen “what the Walking Dead would have been like if Shane had lived” but we’re not getting that.

Instead of being an adaption of the comic book, like it could have been, it’s just back to the same ol’ “based off” that us comic fans have been forced to get used to.

We’re back to the two different continuities that happens all the time. What could have made The Walking Dead something different is gone. Which is a shame, it could have been a really nice treat for the comic fans.

Fan favorites The Governor and Michonne are supposed to be showing up on the tv show next season. Fans are supposed to care? Why? They’re not the same characters. The concept is the same, but the world that made them favorites is not.

The Walking Dead has proved that nothing can be a straight adaption from one medium to the other. Things have to change, even if there’s no reason for it.

Thankfully I won’t have to argue with myself over “I like the tv show but not the comic, how can that be”, because they are two different things.

4 Responses
    • Kirkman has said that these will be two completely separate worlds and only slightly related. He has said the changes are to keep long time fans guessing, so that reading the books will not spoil the show. He also saw some logical holes–like not being able to keep time–that he created.

      I can’t wait to watch the second season on DVD. 

    • I can see that, but he’s not doing anything different then anyone else when they make an adaption.  I’m new to the comics and kept hearing people say how close to the comics it was, how it was following them.  But it’s not close at all and getting further away each episode.

    • Each episode in the first season moved further and further from the source material. That clearly is not a concern for Kirkman. While I have not watched the second season yet, I don’t expect it to be like the original. Arguably, what makes Walking Dead a great book is that it is a Romero film that won’t end. The TV show then can become a Romero film that won’t end as well thus exactly like every zombie movie anyone watches. The long form story telling and the development overtime works slowly but surely in the comic but may not translate well to screen. In the forum discussion on Walking Dead as a comic I remember you saying the long form story telling didn’t work for you in this series but instead just felt slow. Wakling Dead is an acquired taste, and one I’m surprised you’re revisiting in trade. 

      • It’s not the long form that didn’t work for me.  I prefer long form over the “for the trade” that we have nowadays.  What didn’t work for me was the pace of the comic.  It’s a frantic pace.  I wouldn’t call what is in the first 2 volumes as long form storytelling either.  It’s constant movement, barely even know any of the characters.  Where parts of the show could pick up the pace, the comic could stand to slow down.  The whole farm scene in the comics was too quick.

        I get down reading and I feel hyper.  It’s just too fast.

        With the tv show they had a great oppotunity to truly translate a comic to the screen.  If done right it could have really paved a way for getting new fans into the comic medium.  But instead we run into the same issue that always happens with a comic book adaption, the elements that exist in the adaption (in this case the tv show) don’t exist in the comic form so why would fans from one move to the other?

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