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The Walking Dead: Comic VS TV Show Character Comparison

AMC’s The Walking Dead has broken network records since the first episode aired on Halloween night, 2010. As most zombiephiles know, The Walking Dead TV Show is based on the comic version of The Walking Dead, written by zombie fanatic Robert Kirkman (of Marvel Zombies fame). Fans of the Walking Dead show who’ve never read the comic, though, might not realize just how closely the TV show follows the comic in some cases, and how far it diverges in others.

Any time that a comic is made into a movie or TV show, one of the first things that people notice is whether the characters on film seem the same as the characters in the comic. This is one of the areas where The Walking Dead has both scored major points with some fans of the comic book by keeping the characters so true to the book, and alienated some others by leaving out major characters from the comic and adding new ones in that never existed there.

Let’s take a look at how the characters who appear in both the Walking Dead comic and TV show compare. Warning: minor spoilers ahead!!

Rick Grimes (played by Andrew Lincoln)
Walking Dead Comic VS TV Show Comparison - Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes

Visually speaking, Rick Grimes, the main character, looks a bit different in the Walking Dead show than he did in the comic. His hair is shorter and darker, and his face doesn’t quite match up. In terms of his character, however, he follows the comic fairly closely, with one notable exception – like most things in the TV show, he seems to be darker and more serious than his character in the comic.

Shane Walsh (played by Jon Bernthal)
Walking Dead Comic VS TV Show Comparison - Shane Walsh

Shane Walsh

Shane is one of the characters whose TV counterpart looks significantly different from his character in the Walking Dead comic. Jon Bernthal, the actor who plays Shane, is lacking that square, Batman-esque jaw that defined Shane in the comics, and the TV version of Shane seems to be a bit smaller overall than the hulking comic book version. Also, Bernthal seems to have lost his hat in the Walking Dead TV show. What’s out of whack visually, though, is more than made up for by Bernthal in terms of actually transforming Shane, whose short-lived character in the comic was a bit flat and two-dimensional, into a far more stimulating and complex character on the TV show.

Lori Grimes (played by Sarah Wayne Callies)
Walking Dead Comic VS TV Show Comparison - Lori Grimes

Lori Grimes

This is one of the instances where most watchers of The Walking Dead are actually glad to see that the TV version doesn’t look that much like the comic version. Callies is widely agreed upon to be far better-looking than the comic version of her character was. She also appears to have made an ethnicity jump during big-screen translation, since the comic version of Lori has a decidedly Native American look to her that that TV version definitely doesn’t. Callies’ portrayal of Lori has made her into a slightly more complex character, and a significantly less happy one – she’s barely smiled at all in the first three episodes of the Walking Dead AMC show.

Carl Grimes (played by Chandler Riggs)
Walking Dead Comic VS TV Show Comparison - Carl Grimes

Carl Grimes

Carl Grimes, Lori and Rick’s son, is played very close to the hilt by actor Chandler Riggs. The Walking Dead wardrobe people went so far as to replicate the exact T-shirt that his character in the comics wore, adding a layer of authenticity to the character that wasn’t there before. Like Lori, he seems to have made an ethnic shift in the TV show toward a more Caucasian version. In terms of the character himself, Carl on the show is slightly more tame than Carl in the Walking Dead comic, who turned out to be a bit of a bad-ass – but there’s another half season to go, so we’ll see how he develops.

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  1. nice one, i wonder will it come to australia or if i’ll have to resort to other measures to watch it.

    nice font btw.

  2. Glad you like the font; the site needed some sprucing up.

    Given Australia’s history with screwing zombiephile over (L4D2, I’m looking at you here), I assume that when Oz does get it, it’s going to be all hacked up like it was here in Malaysia. They turned a 90 minute premiere into a 50 minute one.

  3. When I read that reply, I heard the voice of Bruce from Family Guy saying “Oh no!” in my head.

  4. Sir I enjoyed reading this. I’ve only read the first few issues of the Walking Dead but I agree with a lot of what you said. I noticed a minor mistake but I told you about that over twitter.

    Good stuff sir.

  5. Thanks for the tip, @Zombie_Plan – fixed it!

  6. Kel

    The TV show reproduced Carl’s shirt exactly because it’s the Science Dog logo. SD is another character from Robert Kirkman’s comic books, specifically it’s a comic book within Invincible’s world. He’s shown up in a back-up story a couple of times in that book as well.

  7. Thanks, Kel, for the backstory on Carl’s Science Dog shirt! I figured that there had to be something going on there.

  8. I think the show is doing a fairly good job at keeping the characters in line with the comic. Kudos to them :)

  9. Doe

    That’s actually Carol, not Amy. Amy in the comic books has freckles and long hair that’s in a ponytail.

  10. […] Algunos detalles son increíbles, como que la polera del cabro chico es la misma o el parecido del casting. Pero no debemos olvidar que son dos lenguajes completamente diferentes, cada cual con sus […]

  11. blobbybobby

    so… which one did you actually like better?

  12. TV Show. I know the comic guys are going to freak out on me, but there’s nothing quite like seeing characters on paper become real.

  13. Jordan

    What do you mean by Shane Walsh’s short lived comic character? This sounds more like a major spoiler to me rather than a minor one. Though my fault for reading up articles on the show if I still want to be surprised. The guy has to go sometime anyways.

  14. grrarrg

    I wouldn’t worry about it. I haven’t read the comics, and I’m only on episode 2×3, so maybe he’s already checked out, but, from what I’ve seen and read, it seems like the comic shane died in what would have been episode 1×5 of the show. I have been trying to resist spoilers, so I could be wrong. So they evidently changed the character quite a bit – if tv-shane has outlived comic-shane this much, I wouldn’t be surprised if they kept him on for several seasons. So I don’t feel spoiled by this knowledge. Seems like this page hasn’t been updated since episode 1×3.

  15. By the way, that comic pic is Carol, not Amy… Amy has the same long hair as in the tv show.

  16. Guy with a thought

    I don’t get why some people are complaining so much in that this series is so different from the comics and that the comics are better blah blah blah…like I think this is one of the best transition from comic to screen I’ve ever seen and the fact that they try to base it off on the comic plus adding a little extra, they’re doing a fantastic job. Why would you want the series to be exactly like the comics…then what would be the point of making it and watching it. This has got to be one of my favorite tv series and I don’t watch much tv so this is saying a lot…and I like zombie based things :)
    I cant wait for season 3!!!

  17. goree gal

    I disagree fully about Lorin Grimes ethnicity change. I love the way native americans look… It would have been far more exciting to have a native survive.. since, they have been on this continent successfully longer than anyone else. The media is so racist.. guess they hit their limit of how many non whites you are allowed on any given show… BOO! to that.. other than that bigot replacement.. I love the show and comic.

  18. […] further irritates me to read things comparing the looks of comic vs. show characters, and mentioning the erasure of her ethnicity in the same breath  as how much […]

  19. […] Zombiephiles) bb_keywords = "Zumbi"; bb_bid = "1618053"; bb_lang = "pt-BR"; bb_name = "custom";bb_limit = […]

  20. […] presa da Condividi:Like this:Mi piaceBe the first to like this. Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in […]

  21. […] your audience see each comic frame, without using bullet time effects, or otherwise stopping time. (The Zombiephiles has a neat article showing some side by side character comparisons.)  Of course, the visual […]

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