About a year ago I got hooked into the phenomenon that is The Walking Dead. I binge watched the first 6 seasons over the course of 2 months and have been a fan ever since. A few months ago (when season 7 ended) a co-worker asked me if I had ever read the comics? To me the obvious answer was no. Comics are for kids right? Adults don’t read those things. It was that day at work that I got put in my place and was told by many, many co-workers (who are my age or older) that the comics were so much better than the show and that no, these comics are not for kids.
I still had my reservations, but then decided to give them a try. So me, having no experience with reading comics, had to go to a co-worker and ask them what is the best way to buy comics. I knew there are a lot of issues out, but really wasn’t looking forward to buying them one at a time. That’s when I was taught what a compendium is. I learned a was able to buy a whole bunch of the comics in one big book. So of course I took that route.
As someone who has never in her life read a comic, the biggest adjustment I had to make was that there is no narration. The whole thing is written in dialogue. I know that those of you who love to read comics are thinking I’m a complete idiot right about now. No, I’m not a complete idiot. I did know that comics are written in dialogue format, but it’s one thing to know this and another to actually try and read it. The best way to describe it is if you were listening to someone on the phone. You only hear one side of the conversation. Yes, I was hearing what the characters were saying to each other, but had no idea what was going on in their heads.
Once I got past that part, I actually got really into the story. As someone who has seen every episode of The Walking Dead, it was interesting to see how the comics are different. I had heard that the show changed a lot of things but didn’t really realize how much until I read the comics. Some of the changes I really liked, and others not so much.
*** Spoiler alert from this point on***
The biggest let down was that some of my favorite characters from the show aren’t in the comics. I know that many people have different opinions about who their favorite is, but mine is without a doubt is Daryl Dixon. His character has come a long way since the beginning of this show, and he has developed some really deep connections with other characters on the show. When I was reading the comics I just felt like something was missing. I kept asking myself, “WWDDD?” (What Would Daryl Dixon Do) when certain things kept happening in the comics. When the Governor cut off Rick’s hand (which btw…. WTF!!), I kept thinking that Daryl would kill this guy in a second.
Something that I was expecting, but still threw me for a loop, was how fast paced the comics are compared to the show. I mean the show spent one whole season on a farm (not my favorite season) and while reading before I knew it our gang was ran out of the prison and Lori and Judith were killed (again… WTF!!). This also goes back to the fact that I didn’t care for the lack of development for the characters. If I honestly hadn’t watched the show first, I’m not sure if I would have gotten into the comics. If you had read my reviews before, you know that for me to really love a book I need to fall in love with the characters first and feel some sort of connection to them. That is hard to do when reading in the comic format. I am reading the dialogue but have no idea what a character is thinking or feeling.
The best part about these comics is by far the illustrations. The drawings are amazing. At times I found myself not even reading the dialogue but reading the story through the illustrations.
I also love how the comics don’t hold back. I went into reading this thinking that the comics were going to not as gory or shocking because TV shows always try to make things more dramatic for the sake of ratings. But I was pleasantly surprised that in some areas of the story, the comics went even one step further than the show. One example is when Judith is killed. As a fan of the show I feel like Judith’s character is the one safe thing in the show. They would never kill off a baby right? So when I read the Judith was killed at only a couple weeks old when Lori and her were trying to escape the prison I was shocked.
What I’m looking forward to:
Every week after I watch the show and I get on social media, people are always commented on how “this is nothing! Wait until …….”. When it comes to book/movie/TV spoilers I’m actually kind of weird. I admit it. I actually like spoilers. I don’t like being completely shocked when something happens. If one of my favorite characters dies I want to know about it so I can mentally prepare myself. So I am looking forward to the part in the comics when I pass where the TV show is now. I know that the show does a lot of things differently or in a different order than the comics, but I can get a better of idea what is to come. For example, I keep hearing things about the Whisperers. “If you all think Negan is bad, wait until you meet the Whisperers.” I want to know who these people are and if they are as bad as I keep hearing.
Overall I really enjoyed reading the comics. I wouldn’t go as far to say I liked them better than the TV show, but I am definitely going to continue reading them. I think my opinion will change more in favor of the comics once I pass the point where the show is now. Right now I am just reading a story I have already heard (in the format of television of course). Once I get to the point where things are starting to become new to me, I think I will enjoy reading it a whole lot more.