It’s not uncommon for a live-action adaptation to differ from its source material, but fans of The Walking Dead might be shocked to learn just how far the AMC show deviates from Robert Kirkman’s comic book series. This is most evident when comparing the portrayals of certain characters and how they have been changed from their comic book counterparts.
With some characters, it’s easy to see why they’d be adjusted for TV, but for the most part, there’s no real rhyme or reason behind what the show is changing. Some characters are given drastically different storylines and others are even given someone else’s entirely. Some are killed much earlier than in the comics, while others live longer. For some reason these Walking Dead the characters have nothing to do with the comics.
10/10 Negan is even worse in the comics
It might be hard to believe considering Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s portrayal of Negan did some truly awful things, but the barbed-wire-swinging warlord is actually much worse in the comic book series. The main difference is Morgan’s undeniable charisma and sense of humor which is entirely vacant compared to his comic book counterpart.
In the comics, Negan is incredibly vulgar and constantly spouts profane obscenities that, for obvious reasons, couldn’t be translated to cable TV. But unlike the show, the comic Negan has no nuance, he’s just a cold-blooded individual with no redeemable qualities. That’s why he’s exiled in the comics; he does not change and becomes an anti-hero like in the series.
9/10 Shane has a larger role in the series
Fans of the AMC series might be surprised to learn that Shane was only in six issues of the comics, given how pivotal his character is to the show’s early development. He is the series’ first major villain and is meant to represent society’s decaying morality in a post-apocalyptic world.
Each version begins the same with Shane saving Lori and Carl, and even ends with Shane dying after a confrontation with Rick, but AMC has added so much more to the character that his death actually has an impact, unlike the comics. . Maybe they decided to flesh it out fully because of Jon Bernthal’s outstanding performance. Either way, it was a massive improvement.
8/10 Morgan is not a main character in the comics
In the comics and the TV series, Morgan’s story begins the same way. He first encounters Rick after waking up from his coma and explains to him and the audience the rules of The Walking Dead universe. They then meet years later and Morgan eventually joins Rick’s group at Alexandria Colony.
However, in the comics, Morgan is quickly killed when a horde of walkers breaches the walls of the settlement. In the series, Morgan survives this attack and becomes a central character both The Walking Dead and its fallout Fear the living dead. Morgan is essentially an original character now, having grown far beyond his comic book counterpart.
7/10 Judith is alive on the show
Similar to Morgan, Judith is essentially an original character in the TV adaptation. The only similarity between the two is that they were both born in prison. In the comics, Judith is only alive for about a month before being killed in the battle with the Governor. Killing a literal baby would have been too dark for the TV series, hence why she outlived her comic book counterpart.
Judith isn’t just a supporting character who pops up occasionally either. After the series’ time jump in season nine, she becomes a main character. Much of his backstory is taken from Carl’s role in the comics and given to him, but for the most part it works.
6/10 Sophia’s role in the comics is given to Enid
One of the biggest changes than the television series made from the comics was killing off Sophia so early in the series, especially considering that Sophia is still alive in the comics. In fact, she’s the longest running female character in comics. In the show, Sophia disappears at the start of season two and is later found in Hershel’s barn dead and zombified.
To fill Sophia’s role in the comics, the TV series created the character of Enid to take on some of her storylines and serve as Carl’s romantic interest. Enid even develops a close relationship with Glenn and Maggie like Sophia did in the comics. Other than that, the two are completely different.
5/10 Hershel is nicer on the show
For the most part, Hershel’s storyline plays out the same in both versions, however, comparing their personalities, the two couldn’t be more different. In the series, Hershel is the warm moral center and even acts as a father figure to Rick and others, but in the comics he is cold and never fully trusts Rick.
In both versions, Hershel is extremely religious and believes he can “cure” the walkers, but when Rick and the others kill the walkers in the comics, Hershel forces them to leave by pointing a gun at Rick’s head. Hershel’s characterization on the show was actually better on the show, but that could also be due to Scott Wilson’s incredible performance.
4/10 Carol is not a badass in the comics
Besides their shared history, the comic book Carol and the TV show Carol are completely different people. They both start out shy and weak, but that only lasts so long in the TV series whereas in the comics, that’s pretty much his entire character. She was also killed very early in the comic series while in the series she is still alive and a central character.
Carol’s character transformation is arguably the best thing AMC has changed from the comics. Instead of making her another damsel in distress, Carol becomes one of the most reliable and fearless members of the group. She changes drastically over the course of the show and evolves from her fearful self to the ultimate badass.
3/10 Michonne is more sensitive on the show
Similar to Negan, AMC had to tone down much of Michonne’s brutality that she’s known for in the comics. While she’s still a badass in both media, her TV counterpart is much friendlier and less mysterious than she is in the comics. Additionally, her relationship with Rick, which is a major storyline in the series, is non-existent in the comics.
In fact, much of her relationship with Rick is actually drawn from Andrea’s comic book storyline. So instead of Andrea becoming a mother figure to Carl, Michonne takes on that role. Which is something his emotionless comic book counterpart would simply never do.
2/10 Andrea is a fan favorite in the comics
One of the most iconic and beloved characters in comics has proven to be one of the most hated by fans of the series. In the comics, Andrea is among the strongest and smartest survivors and even becomes one of the main defenders of the group. She’s so vital to comic book history that she surprised a lot of fans when the show killed her off in season three.
That being said, most fans of the TV shows didn’t like her character and wanted her killed off. On the show, Andrea was naive and constantly made bad decisions that put the group in danger. Of all the characters, the comic television adaptation of Laurie is by far the most disappointing.
1/10 Tyreese’s role in the comics is given to Daryl
Most fans of The Walking Dead know that Daryl is an original character created for the show, but what some fans might be surprised to learn is that a good portion of Daryl’s character is actually taken from Tyreese. In the comics, it’s Tyreese who is Rick’s right-hand man and co-leader, but in the show, Tyreese is demoted to a supporting character who barely resembles his comic book counterpart.
Ever since Daryl was given his role and become such a popular character, the TV series didn’t really need Tyreese, but ironically Tyreese has lived longer on the show than in the comics. But unlike the comics, Tyreese’s death on TV had no real impact.
NEXT: The Walking Dead: 10 Most Likeable Villains, Ranked