The Walking Dead: Comics or Television?

Photo+courtesy+of+Aaron+Ruacho

Photo courtesy of Aaron Ruacho

Aaron Ruacho, Columnist, 2010-2013

The Walking Dead is awesome. It started as a comic in 2003 by Robert Kirkman, and the franchise became a hit television show in 2010. Soon after, it got two video games and books, as well as action figures and other merchandise. But the real question is which is the better of the two media: Comic or TV show?

Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead comic series follows Rick Grimes, a man who fell into a coma and woke up to the zombie apocalypse. After finding his family, Rick and a group of survivors travel to different places like a farm, prison, simply trying to survive. Along the way, they face hardships like cannibals, the winter, sickness, pregnancy, and, of course, the shambling army of corpses lurking around every corner. Robert Kirkman stated that he wanted to create a zombie apocalypse that never ended, and the way the comics are headed, he seems to be doing a good job on that. The great thing about the comics is that you never know who is going to be killed off next. Kirkman really doesn’t care who lives or dies in this world he has created, and the only real guarantee is that Rick will live to see another day.

AMC’s The Walking Dead television show is popular, to say the least. The show is the highest viewed drama show in cable history, and with a fourth season on the way, it shows no sign of slowing down. The show follows the basic story of the comics, but also includes a lot of new stuff for filler. (If you have seen the season three finale, it seems the show is going off on its own a little.) Andrew Lincoln does a great job of portraying the show’s main character Rick, but probably the favorite among fans is Daryl Dixon, a character who does not appear in the comics and is played by Norman Reedus. The Governor is one of my favorite characters in the comics, and David Morrissey did not disappoint in the role. He brought out both sides of the character, from the normal and likeable persona he puts on in front of his people, to the cold and calculating man he is underneath. For me, the show brought in the emotion that I felt was absent in the comics. While it follows the basic story of the comics, the show has had many surprising twists I did not expect. For example, Dale in the comics is just another character in the group. However, in the show he was given the kind of personality that I can relate to, and he became one of my favorites in the show. ( The majority of the episodes in the show are filler, such as Shane going into town for medicine and the meeting between Rick and the Governor.

The franchise has also spawned two video games, one for each medium. The first, Telltale’s The Walking Dead, takes the comics as its base, and includes an art style similar to the comics. The game comes in the form of five parts, and each is downloadable online. The story follows Lee Everett, a convict who meets an eight-year old girl named Clementine and goes with her to different areas of Georgia. The gameplay is basically non-existent, as all you really do is walk around, click on interactable objects (like picking up a screwdriver to use on a generator) and listen to dialog. However, every choice you make matters. Something you say to a character might be remembered, and could come back to haunt you if something else you say contradicts it. Throughout the entire game, everything you do is driven towards one goal: To keep Clementine safe. She is adorable and the game does an amazing job of making you emotionally attached to this little girl. The ending of part 5, and the entire game, is one of my favorite game endings of all time. I cried for at least ten minutes after the credits started rolling, and if it is available to you I would recommend buying and playing it. The game received reviews of around 8 out of 10.

The game based off the TV show, The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct, puts you in the shoes of Daryl Dixon as he and his brother Merle try to get to Atlanta during the early days of the apocalypse. The game focuses more on killing zombies than talking to people, and allows you to choose whether you want to sneak past them or fight head-on. The game makes you manage the amount of food, ammo and fuel he has, and throughout the game you will meet other survivors who you can choose to leave or let join your group. In between story  missions you choose how you want to get to Atlanta by traveling by highway, which is faster, or by the small roads, which allows you to scavenge for supplies when you are running low. Even though it was cool to actually kill the zombies this time, the game wasn’t nearly as good as Telltale’s and you could tell Activision, the makers of this one, were really in it for the money. The game received scores of around 3 out of 10, and I would really only recommend getting it if you are a diehard fan of the show.

After much consideration, I consider the comics and its game to be better than the television show and its respective game. While I love the show, most of the episodes are filler and the game based off it is not very good. The comics, while lacking some emotional flair, more than make up for it with the incredible moments, unforgettable characters (ones we won’t see on-screen for at least another couple seasons,) and one of my favorite video games of all time. Let’s hope not only the comics, but the award-winning TV show as well, continue to survive and pop out new material years from now. The Walking Dead is truly a franchise that can’t be missed.