When The Walking Dead takes the liberty of deviating from its comic book source material, the common response is a touch of complaint from fans. However, sometimes those changes feel like a second chance for Robert Kirkman to play with a character or change their attributes years after writing them in the books.
While the AMC series has been following the source material quite closely lately, it hasn't always been the case through six and a half seasons.
On the following slides, we run through five instances where The Walking Dead deviated from its comic book source material but we are all grateful that it did.
The drama between Shane Walsh and Rick Grimes remains one of the strongest story points through the entirety of The Walking Dead to date.
Shane Walsh was killed very early on in the comics. The former cop never made it to Hershel's farm before Carl could shoot him in the neck to protect his father. As we know, things went down considerably differently on the AMC series.
Shane made it to Hershel's farm and insisted on a more aggressive approach to survival. Rick did not support Shane's antics and everything truly came to an eruption when the factor of Shane and Lori's relationship started to push Shane over the edge. The two leading men of the apocalypse were forced into a showdown which Rick would come out on top of but not before some of The Walking Dead's most compelling moments were delivered from the two.
Plus, Shane granted us the Sophia-walking-out-of-the-barn moment in Season 2 which didn't exist in the comics.
The Grimes Family
The Grimes family has seen some major changes in terms of who lives and how those who don't die.
Lori's death in The Walking Dead comics came during the prison raid shortly after giving birth to Judith. She was shot by one of the Governor's soldiers and fell onto her baby, crushing and killing the little girl. Thankfully, Judith survived the prison and is still alive today on the AMC series.
Furthermore, Carl being forced to shoot his mother made the TV version of the character more hardened early on than his comic book counterpart. It's something he carries with him, endlessly, and audiences won't soon forget.
Carol is the most unrecognizable character by comparison to her comic book counter part.
On television, Carol has evolved into a killing machine which not only knows what is required to survive but will also skillfully apply that knowledge whenever necessary. In the comics, Carol committed suicide by feeding herself to a zombie. When Morgan and other attempted to help her, she insisted they let her die.
We saw shades of this moment in the Season 6 finale of The Walking Dead but know now that Carol has healed physically. We're just grafetful for the certified bad-ass she has become on television and hope she never fulfills her comic book destiny in live action.
Terminus was a storyline made entirely for television. The location never existed in the Skybound comic series. The path to Terminus with signs on train tracks, the explosions with Carol saving the day, and people being whacked in the head with bats and drained of blood like cattle were never seen on the often brutal pages covered with Charlie Adlard's art.
A variation of the Termites were featured in the books but they were called the Hunters. The Hunter's ate Dale's leg the same way they did Bob's on television but the gun fight at their home on AMC made for one of the best episodes of The Walking Dead to date.
Giving Abraham Ford's comic book death to Denise Cloyd on The Walking Dead TV series was brilliant for a couple of reasons.
First of all, Denise's death was shocking and unexpected despite recreating an iconic moment from the comics which typically are expected. When the arrow flew through Denise's face, everyone's jaws hit the floor -- and she wasn't even a top tier character!
Secondly, this made for Negan's introduction to be twice as deadly as it was in issue #100 of The Walking Dead comics by killing not one but two main characters. Abraham was wiped off the board with one final epic line of "Suck my nuts" and Glenn saw his comic book fate realized in horrifying fashion.