While fans of The Walking Dead TV show are wailing over the events of the premiere last week like they just watched the Red Wedding, comic fans are shaking their heads and muttering, “That happened years ago.” It tends to happen often, especially since most comic fans do enjoy the show as well. The comic series, where almost no one is safe, is just much harsher than the AMC program. It’s so violent, in fact, that it’s a good thing that it’s made in black and white. Seeing that much red might make you puke.
Show runners have indicated that the TV version of the story will more closely follow the comics in its current season, but in the past there were so many differences that it might as well have been called something else. From a perfectly healthy Sophia and her dead mom, Carol, to a likable Lori and Andrea, the writers of the show took extreme creative liberties in adapting the comic. While both versions are highly entertaining, there’s no question that the comic has pushed the envelope much further than the show has. Of all of the inhuman and bizarre acts committed by apocalypse survivors, here are the 15 Most WTF Walking Dead Comic Moments You Haven’t Seen On TV.
15. Racist Otis
Had Shane sacrificed the comic version of Otis to the zombies at the school in the TV show, fans probably wouldn’t have minded as much. As much of a bumbling bumpkin as Otis, the neighbor of the Greene family, seemed to be in the television show after he shot Carl, his character was affable enough to empathize with. Robert Kirkman and company made Otis much less sympathetic in the comic. He is leaner, meaner, and downright racist.
During a disagreement with his girlfriend Patricia, Otis said, “You sided against us with–with–a couple n–. I just want you to know I ain’t talkin’ ta you neither. Yer dead to me.” This occurred even after Michonne saved his life while the two high-tailed it to the prison to ask for entry. He is later killed by zombies, but his death takes place in the prison rather than a school. Otis also is reanimated as a zombie, after which Rick shoots him dead once again.
14. Death Of Donna
Donna’s death reminded fans that the survivors are never safe. Donna, a minor character present at the beginning of the series, was as relieved as the rest of the survivors to find Wiltshire Estates, where the company thought they might be able to make a home for the first time following the outbreak. After a brief respite with her husband, Alan, during which the two cuddled and enjoyed a rare moment of peace, Donna was attacked by walkers, bitten right in the face in front of her family as she exited the house. Her entire family never recovered.
Donna was also murdered on TV, but as a member of Tyrese’s group, she only appeared in one episode in order to be bitten, taken to the West Georgia Correction Facility, and bashed in the head to prevent her zombiefication. Comic-Donna was much more fun because, even if she was a bit old-fashioned, she was strong-willed, opinionated, and a more three-dimensional character than her TV counterpart.
13. Andrea’s Face Is Slashed
During the time the gang spent in the prison, Andrea Harrison not only stayed with the team, but suffered a slash to the face at the hands of psychopath Thomas Richards. While she was able to fight the inmate off in time, he was still able to murder and nearly kill other members of the group before Maggie Greene shot and killed the violent criminal.
The scar remains with Andrea to this day, as she is now Rick’s girlfriend, Carl’s surrogate mother, and very much alive. She is also arguably the coolest character in the entire series, as opposed to TV-Andrea, who most fans despised. A sharpshooter with a positive attitude, she’s saved Rick and company countless times, is a fantastic leader, and is pretty much the opposite of the whiny, smug Andrea in the show. The different portrayal of Andrea’s character is one of the things that many comic fans dislike most about the show.
12. Romeo And Juliet
As awesome as Sasha is in the show, in the comics Tyreese does not bring his sister to the prison with Rick’s surviving tribe. Instead, it is his teen daughter Julie and her boyfriend, Chris, who accompany him. Julie and Chris made a suicide pact that ended badly in the comic, with Julie dead and Chris distraught. The two had sex for the first time before readying themselves to shoot one another, but Chris’s gun went off early. When Julie reawakens as a zombie and nearly kills Tyreese, the shaken father attempts to cajole her back into being human, nearly dying in the process. Chris saves Tyreese by murdering her zombie form.
The story worsens as Tyreese, engaged, screams, “What did you do? What did you do to my little girl?” He chokes Chris with his bare hands only to brutally kill him again as a zombie. Once he burns and buries both his daughter and her boyfriend, he informs Rick about the tragedy.
11. The Whisperers Reveal
Walking around in zombie suits, stinking of rotting human flesh, and stumbling along to sneak by during a raid or a touchy escape… It’s no picnic, but Rick Grimes and company manage to pull it off like a post-apocalyptic masquerade ball. Wearing zombie flesh to get by on a daily basis? That’s pretty gross. In the comics, that is exactly what the survivors encounter when it comes to The Whisperers.
The Whisperers are a group of survivors who dress themselves completely in dead flesh in order to survive. They whisper, giving the illusion of actual sentient, talking zombies. Their leader, Alpha, is a piece of work who pimps out her teen daughter to the rest of her crew, saying it is a necessary sacrifice. When Carl meets Lydia, he falls in love with her and demands that his family help her, resulting in a domino effect that Rick’s community is still reeling from. Then there’s also that weird lick she gives to the skin where Carl’s eye should be after telling him that he should remove his patch and proudly display his wound…
10. Carl Kills Shane
Sure, fans of the show have seen Carl kill zombie-Shane after he becomes reanimated, which draws the zombie horde to the Greene farm and results in one of the biggest walker battles in the entire series. But they may not know that Carl in the comics, who is only seven years old, pulls the trigger to kill human-Shane in order to save his father’s life.
Shane creates a plan early on in the comic to murder his lifelong best friend in cold blood while they are hunting, even after Lori admits that their one-time affair was a big mistake (which is another huge difference from the TV show). He openly blames Rick for taking away all he has in the world, which is, in fact, Rick’s family. Carl secretly followed both men into the woods and, upon witnessing a crazed Shane pointing a gun at his father, shot him in the neck while screaming, “Don’t hurt my daddy again!” It’s not a quick, clean death, and Shane gurgles while drowning in his own blood. He also doesn’t last nearly as long in the comic, dying long before the survivors make their way to Hershel’s farm.
9. Carol’s Suicide
Several key characters in The Walking Dead do not represent their comic selves in anything other than name, and one of those characters is Carol. Beloved by TV fans, on screen-Carol started out as a weak, useless character who sat still and let the men search for her missing daughter, but developed into a much more capable person as her story unfolded. Comic Carol, who has been dead for years, is pretty despised by fans. A clingy, lonely mess, Carol propositions Tyreese, Lori (as a partner to both her and Rick), and even Hershel’s son Billy in a desperate attempt to make a connection. While fans can’t fault her for her search for love and meaning, they can blame her for abandoning Sophia.
Once Tyreese’s head is turned by newcomer Michonne, he cheats on Carol. She attempts to slit her wrists in front of her own child afterward. She is saved, but once again, after everyone and his twin brother rejects poor Carol’s advances, she seems to forget that she is, you know, someone’s much-needed mother, and walks right up to a zombie, offering herself as a tasty, suicidal snack. Comic-Carol’s husband husband wasn’t an abusive misogynist as he was in the TV show, either, but simply a boring used car salesman who, after witnessing his parents die during the zombie outbreak, killed himself.
8. Loss Of Rick’s Hand
In most of The Walking Dead comics, Rick Grimes functions only with his left hand. This is because early on in the series, The Governor quickly cuts off Rick’s hand when he is captured. Much like Negan’s horrible initiation of Rick’s company, the gesture is meant to be a display of power to demonstrate how The Governor is the one in charge.
Several story developments have been cut from the show as a result of Rick’s hand remaining intact, such as his struggle learning to use his left hand in battle and the forging of his cool metal hand. While fans speculate about whether or not Rick will ever lose his hand in order to match his comic counterpart, it remains an unlikely plot point. After Negan instructed Rick to cut off his own son’s hand, some are saying that it served as a foreshadowing comment regarding Rick’s own hand later, but there’s not much that the gesture could do at this point in terms of threatening Rick and the gang. Many have also pointed out that the CGI effects required would be expensive for the duration of the show.
7. The Murder Of Hershel’s Daughters
Comic readers already know that Hershel Greene had seven children, some of whom were young enough to require babysitters. In fact, Julie and Chris served as the caregivers for the many children of the survivors while their parents worked on keeping them alive until their own untimely deaths. Two of Hershel’s little girls, twins Rachel and Susie, were decapitated by the same villain who attempted to kill both Andrea and Patricia.
Although Maggie ultimately avenges her sisters’ death by shooting Richards, when the twins’ heads reanimate as zombies neither she nor Hershel can manage to kill them again. The task is left to Glenn, who completes it for his new family. While the Greenes originally maintained an idyllic refuge away from the violence of the outbreak, most were still unable to come out if it alive. Of the Greene family, today only Maggie survives along with her adoptive daughter, Sophia, and her young son with Glenn, Hershel.
6. Twin Murder, Take II
After Donna was bitten by zombies, Allen was never the same. The good-natured father of two told Rick, “Donna was eight years older than me. She was always wiser, more level-headed. She always knew what to do, or was able to convince me that she did. I don’t know how I’m gonna see those boys to adulthood without her. I really don’t know what I’m going to do.” But ultimately he became aggressive and angry, and when he was bitten, he left his twins in the care of Dale and Andrea, one of the most stable couples in the series.
Unfortunately, the five-year-old young twins, Ben and Billy, had seen too much. In issue #61, long after the two looked at Dale and Andrea as their parental figures, Ben, who had already demonstrated some troubling tendencies, murdered his twin brother, innocently telling Andrea, “Don’t worry, he’s going to come back. I didn’t hurt his brains.” Horrified, the adults aren’t sure what to do with Ben, who desperately needs psychiatric help. Carl takes matters into his own young hands again, killing the remaining twin to prevent further murders at his hands. Lizzie and Mika are used in a similar story line in the show, but Carl killing young Ben is much more shocking that Carol taking out Lizzie, especially given the constant references to how unstable the child is in the show.
5. Death Of Lori And Judith
Lori Grimes. Poor Lori Grimes. When portrayed on television, she seems like an idiotic adulterer who doesn’t give a whit about her husband. Even when she tries to redeem herself, Rick doesn’t let her have the chance, fully blaming her for Shane’s death. She ultimately sacrifices her own life for her baby, opting for a cesarean section that she knows will kill her. Comic Lori is an entirely different person. While she did sleep with Shane when Rick was in a coma, it was in a moment of desperation and weakness that she later regretted, openly telling him it was a big mistake. From that moment on, she was a loyal partner to Rick and mother to Carl, sharing many warm moments with both members of her family before her death.
During the escape from the prison raid, Carl ran ahead, forcing Rick to chase after him for his son’s safety, leaving Lori and their baby behind in the process. When Lori was shot and killed by Lilly Caul during the prison raid at the orders of The Governor, it was difficult for readers to witness both her and baby Judith die.
4. Tyreese’s Decapitation
In TWD television show, Tyreese’s death is terrible. Bitten by a walker, he bleeds out after Michonne attempts to amputate his arm to prevent the spread of infection. His death in the comic is much more brutal at the hands of The Governor, who maliciously draws his murder out to last. The Governor drops off a heavily beaten captured Tyreese to the prison gates, demanding the fortress in exchange for his captive. Tyreese pleads with Rick’s group to not give in to the demands, and when they refuse The Governor slowly hacks away at his head with Michonne’s own katana in a horrifyingly slow death. The symbolism of the weapon is even more heartbreaking given that he and Michonne are in a relationship in the comic. He leaves Tyreese there for the group to see after they start shooting at him.
In both versions of TWD, Michonne stabs Tyreese in the head following his death. In the show, it is to prevent him from becoming a roamer; in the comic, it is to put the zombie head of her former lover to rest.
3. Michonne’s Revenge
In the TV show, The Governor got off easily, merely losing an eye after his altercation with Michonne. In the comics, he violently tortures and rapes her repeatedly, prompting her to extract a much harsher punishment from his flesh. While he tortures her and she cries, she tells him, “I’m not crying for me. I’m crying for you. I think about all the things I’m going to do to you and it makes me cry. It scares me.”
When he turns her out to the arena to fight for entertainment, she defies him by not only killing her opponent but by killing all of the surrounding walkers as well. During the escape of the rest of her group, Michonne remains in Woodbury to torture and dismember The Governor. She nails him to a board by his genitals, reviving him to further torture him, leaving him missing several body parts and at death’s door. Even after she mutilates him, The Governor still seeks his revenge on Rick and the survivors, resulting in the capture and murder of Tyreese and the eventual prison siege. Lilly Caul, who is aghast after murdering Lori and Judith, shoots him and shoves him into the zombie horde to his death.
2. A Bloody Fence
Coming back to your town to see the heads of people you love on stakes is never on anyone’s wish list, but that is exactly what Rick and company faced after they returned from seeking audience with the Whisperers. Carl left to find Lydia, prompting Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers, to “learn more” about his people. In a supposed reconnaissance mission during a festival in which she is warmly welcomed, Alpha slowly takes victims one by one, murdering members of Rick’s group who are alone and most vulnerable.
She doesn’t stop there. She mentions to Rick that she marked her borders so he and his group would not cross them again, only for him to discover that the border markers are a series of stakes with the decapitated heads of his friends and neighbors. Some of the most terrible deaths in the incident include a pregnant Rosita and Ezekiel, whom Michonne now regrets pushing away.
1. Dale’s Cannibalization
The brutal cannibalization of Dale is one of the hardest moments of the comic for any fan to stomach, not just because of how he dies, but because he was one of the best of the crew. A sound leader, kind man and key character since the beginning, Dale made readers cry over his death when a group of cannibals nonchalantly ate his leg in front of him in front of him. (Note: He only had one leg after having the other amputated in the first place!) Fans received some respite in knowing that Dale was already dying from a lurker bite, and he laughed in near hysteria, telling the band of survivors that the joke was on them: they were eating tainted meat.
In the show, it is Bob who is cannibalized by the Terminus hunters. As terrible as the dismemberment of Sasha’s man is, it just isn’t as affecting as the the long-term character’s ordeal in the comic. In Dale’s last moments, he tells Rick that he was a good leader and thanks him, repairing their friendship from a previous argument, before a heartbroken Andrea shoots him to finalize his death.
With so many soul-destroying moments in the comics to choose from, which are you most glad to never see on screen?
The Walking Dead season 7 continues Sunday nights @9PM on AMC.