As I sit in my home office, I ponder an assortment of questions. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Why does FOX continue to screw up the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises? Why does Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber look so much alike? Among these questions is a deeper burning one that I am dying to discover. Which one is better, “The Walking Dead” comic book series or “The Walking Dead” TV series? Both are filled with elements that are meant to pull audiences in, and both continue to increase in popularity. As the New spin off series debut draws near, I feel the need to really find out the answer.
The comic series is a tricky beast. Years ago when I first heard about it, I thought it would be pretty boring reading a comic book done in black & white with average looking people. I was brought up in the 80’s and 90’s, where everything was full and colors were bold, Eras where the colored artwork seemed to leap off the page. The comics I read as a child and well into my late teens were filled with buff super beings that were larger than life, heavily sculpted monstrosities that looked like steroid users and gym addicts. “The Uncanny X-Men”, Batman, Spider-Man, and Spawn were the comics that gripped my attention, so years later, when I first saw the pages of “The Walking Dead” lacking color and muscled out super soldiers, I was less than impressed. I read less than five pages before placing it back on the shelf and going on about my business. When I first laid eyes on the comic book, I was already past the stage of the boring sluggish undead, I was into the freakishly fast, infected made popular by movies like “28 Days Later” and the remake of “Dawn of the Dead”. I really didn’t get the popularity of it until months before the debut of the TV show. The buzz going around about the live action TV series, made me decide to give the comic series another look. I checked it out again and as I read, I figured out what the hype is all about. The comic series isn’t just about zombies and survivors; it’s a character-driven series, which explores the depths of humanity in the midst of complete chaos. Thankfully, the TV series captures that same emotional dire-straits element even though a lot of the things deviate from the source material (deaths, characters made for the show, etc.).
Now with that being said, one must decide which one comes out ahead, the comic book series, or the TV series? Die-hard Daryl and Meryl Dixon fans with undeniably pick the show. While fans of the comic book will say that, the show doesn’t compare. I for one find myself stuck in the middle. And now with the spin off show on the horizon, The need to find the answer is even greater. There are things about the show that I love, but at the same time, elements in the comics are genuinely must-read. Daryl is clearly a show favorite, though he doesn’t appear in the comic, which is a bit of a travesty when considering the impact that he has had on the show. The comic has the spirit of an ongoing George Romero saga. The TV series mostly captures this, but in some ways, it fails to fully express the awesomeness of the comic book. The TV show is something different. It connects with viewers on a completely different level. It has hooked and continues to hook people that probably weren’t even remotely interested in the comic. What it all boils down to is this, the comic is great for me because it contains something more than meets the eye, while the show keeps me in suspense for the next episode. If you had to choose one or the other, which one do you feel tops the other? Which one wins out overall? Please give me your opinion.