Ah, it’s time for Walking Dead character comparisons, one of those ongoing pastimes of fans far and wide. The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is the man caught between two worlds: his original comic books series and his roles as executive producer and writer on the TV series.
Kirkman gave the world a collection of rich characters in the bleak and exciting back drop of a zombie apocalypse. In the comics, Kirkman is judge, jury, and executioner along with Charlie Adlard, Tony Moore, and Cliff Rathburn.
For the TV series, Kirkman must work with showrunner Scott Gimple and a cadre of writers. Since the TV series started with Frank Darabont before the hand off to Gimple and Kirkman, the characters have gone through various transformations, dipping away from or melding with other characters in the comics. In the case of the Dixon brothers, they didn’t exist in the pages of Kirkman’s comics and were created by Frank Darabont, Charles Eglee, and Jack LoGiudice.
Walking Dead character appearance is not just about resembling the comics, but finding actors who can handle the action, story content, heat, bugs, and grueling hours that the series requires of its cast. For example, comic book Rick and TV series Rick vibe the same but look different. However, Andrew Lincoln has proven that he IS Rick by now, although he’s gotten to keep his hand… so far. But Coral sure got his eye shot out just like in the comic series. Ouch, buddy.
The Walking Dead casting directors, Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas (along with Gohar Gazazyan), have done a wonderful job keeping pace with the screen counterparts, added characters, character amalgams, and other alterations. It can’t be an easy job, but when comic fans saw Michonne emerge from the darkness, there were genuine chills.
Which are your favorite Walking Dead comic to screen transformations and casting choices? Vote them up to the top. Note: We’ll add new characters as they appear on the TV series so come back and check this list out.
Comics Michonne: Michonne never fully drops her guard with anyone in the comics, with the exception of Ezekiel. Besides the trauma surrounding losing the people in her life, she’s brutally raped and tortured by the Governor for days. She has all of the reasons in the world to do some pretty intense things to him including nail his manhood to the floor, sodomize him with a spoon, use said spoon to scoop out his eye, and chop off his arm.
TV Michonne: Michonne appears very much in the same way she did in the comics although TV Michonne is given a lot of the characteristics of Andrea from the comics. Michonne takes on the role of co-parenting Carl with Rick to a certain degree. And then she hooks up with Rick, giving rise to Richonne. She puts out the Governor’s eye with her katana and later kills him with it, still letting him off pretty lightly from her comic counterpart.
Sgt. Abraham Ford
Comics Abraham: He’s got the same flaming red hair and ’70s porn ‘stache, but the comics version is more of a no-nonsense kind of guy. He takes Tyreese’s position as Rick’s right hand after Tyreese is killed. Abraham meets Denise’s fate in the comics, getting shot through his eye with an arrow as he tells Eugene it’s okay if he gets with Rosita.
TV Abraham: Abraham has a way with a catchphrase that his comic book counterpart lacks. “Motherd*ck” has become a standard in the lexicon of fans. He’s just as thirsty for violence on screen. And dies violently at the business end of Negan’s bat in the season 7 premiere, but not before flinging out his last catchphrase, “S*ck my n*ts.”
Comics Ezekiel: The charismatic Ezekiel is a zookeeper before the world fell. He tries to take care of the animals but ultimately has to set them free before taking a tiger with him. Later, Ezekiel founds the Kingdom and shakes off the intimidation of the Saviors. He plots to overthrow Negan, seeing a chance when he meets Rick. He has a relationship with Michonne. He ends up killed by the leader of the Whisperers, Alpha.
TV Ezekiel: He’s definitely younger and more fit than his book version. He’s only appeared briefly, but Ezekiel is an ally to Rick’s crew.
Comics Daryl: He’s Tyreese.
TV Daryl: Hot as Georgia asphalt and moodier than Beyoncé’s hair in Lemonade.
Comics Glenn: He’s just as beloved in the comics and just as dedicated to Maggie. Oh… and in issue 100, Glenn gets his head bashed in by Negan.
TV Glenn: Fans believed for an entire summer that Glenn might be dead. Many looked under dumpsters, praying to the television gods that he was somehow still under there. Turned out, he was. And then… he died much the same way on screen in the season 7 premiere.
Comics Paul Monroe: Paul Monroe’s nickname is Jesus in the comics. He lives in the Hilltop Colony and is funny, intelligent, and resourceful. Monroe is also gay.
TV Jesus: Jesus is very much like his comic book version and has functioned much the same way. Jesus’s sexuality is a mystery but Jaron (Jesus+Aaron) or Jaryl could be a thing.
Comics Maggie: She and Glenn do meet at her dad’s farm and become as close as ever. Maggie and Glenn have a son they name Hershel and they adopt Sophia after Carol dies. After Glenn’s death, Maggie descends into grief but eventually emerges and becomes the leader of the Hilltop Community.
TV Maggie: Maggie and Glenn’s storyline is similar to the comics, until Glenn fake-dies and Maggie learns she’s pregnant. Deanna sees Maggie’s leadership skills and she takes up a position as her right hand in Alexandria until Deanna becomes walker food. Maggie’s been an envoy to the Hilltop Community, so she might very well take on the role of leader.
Comics Rosita: Rosita meet sup with Abraham and has the same relationship seen on screen, including the part where he cruelly dumps her. Her rebound? Eugene. They actually get married.
TV Rosita: If she lives through the Negan line up, she very well might hook up with Eugene or all by herself because some of these men in the apocalypse are the worst.
Comics Carl: After he has to shoot Shane and the loss of his mother and sister, Carl grows up pretty fast. His actions cause the Whisperers to attack Alexandria, resulting in the deaths of Rosita and Ezekiel. He falls for a teenaged girl from the Whisperers. Douglas Monroe accidentally shoots out Carl’s eye in the comics.
TV Carl: Carl goes from being an overly protective little boy to a sort of serial killer. He’s grown up in this world and has seen and done a lot, most notably killing his mother. He nearly dies after being shot by Otis. As he hits his pre-teens, he doesn’t rebel by banging up the family car or smoking pot. Instead, he decides to venture out and take on walkers while his dad bakes away on a couch in a fever dream. His reward is a much-deserved giant can of roof pudding. He connects with Enid, a girl his age who lost both of her parents. Ron accidentally shoots Carl’s eye out in a scuffle with Rick.
Comics Negan: He’s one of the most terrifying villains in the comics – cold, calculating, cruel, and charming.
TV Negan: Jeffrey Dean Morgan has been having a grand ole time at conventions and in interviews, obviously pleased with just how much hate will be coming his way when he begins killing off characters.
Comics Eugene: Eugene and his mullet pull off the scientist lie for a while before he confesses to only being a science teacher and that there is no cure in D.C. Eugene has to make himself useful and does, coming up with the idea of planting sorghum and making bullets for the community. He is also married to Rosita.
TV Eugene: The business in the front/party in the back hairstyle and his scientist secret stayed the same. Eugene has creepily watched Rosita and Abraham do it, but if Abraham gets his head bashed in and/or stays with Sasha, Eugene might have a shot.
Comics Rick: Rick and his TV counterpart go through the same transition from a lawman with a strict moral code to a leader who is as brutal as the group’s enemies across the wasteland. After Lori’s death, Rick gets together with Andrea. The Governor hacks off Rick’s right hand in their first meeting. And the comic allows time to pass to see an older Rick and the world he and the group have made.
TV Rick: Rick is an impressive, frustrating, and monologuing leader who sometimes makes the WORST decisions, but somehow keeps his position. Andy Lincoln has stepped into the skin of Rick with many jokes about his Southern accent, particularly his pronunciation of his son’s name. He’s held on to his right hand on TV because it’s a total bummer to work in extreme heat with ticks crawling all over you AND learn to shoot your Colt Python with a fake hand. Rick and Michonne have a fiery beginning with a lot of hostile looks and mistrust that eventually evolve into a romantic relationship.
Comics Tyreese: He’s got a larger presence and a different personality. He’s Rick’s right hand and gets it on with Carol, only to cheat on her with Michonne. He is beheaded in front of the prison the same way Hershel is on the show. His death has the same impact as Hershel’s, leaving fans reeling.
TV Tyreese: He’s a gentle giant, reluctant to kill anyone, clinging to his hammer and humanity with all that he has. His compassion to help Noah find his family is the death of him, though, ending with a walker bite and a fever dream of dead characters. His death is used to further propel his sister Sasha into sniper-happy madness.
Comics Hershel: Hershel is the same man of faith and conflict as in the TV show, at first believing that a cure is coming, until a massive walker herd overtakes the farm. He dies on his knees when the Governor shoots him in the head.
TV Hershel: Hershel is the moral center of the group as he was in the comics and still dies by the Governor’s hand, only he’s beheaded with Michonne’s katana as Rick and the crew watch in horror. The brilliant Scott Wilson was perfect to play the beloved character from the comic. Both the paper and TV deaths were met with shock.
Comics Heath: Heath is more of a presence in the comics simply because the format allows it. He is with Denise and is a solid member of Alexandria. He loses a leg after Denise sacrifices herself to save him.
TV Heath: Heath’s story has yet to evolve in any significant way. He may take on more of a role once the gang gets away from Negan. If they can get away from Negan, that is.
Merle doesn’t exist in the comics but he does get some of the treatment reserved for other characters. He takes up space in the Governor’s posse and he loses his right hand instead of Rick.
Comics Dale: The 68-year-old retired car salesman is traveling around the country with his wife in their RV when the world falls apart. After her death, he seeks survivors and meets 25-year-old Andrea. The two end up having a relationship and adopting Ben and Billy. Dale provides wisdom and reason, holding a leadership position within the group. He’s around a lot longer than TV Dale, but he’s eventually bitten by a walker and subsequently kidnapped by cannibals. He actually watches as they eat his leg, laughing and yelling, “Tainted meat,” a fate that befalls Bob on the show.
TV Dale: Dale meets Andrea and her sister when the world goes to hell, giving them shelter in his RV. After Amy’s death, Dale grows worried about Andrea’s mental health and is overly protective. Although the two are close, they do not become a couple. Dale’s other main focus is following Shane around and giving him the wild judgment eyes. He’s so distracted by Shane, he doesn’t see the walker in the field who eats him. Daryl has to shoot him.
Comics Morgan: He is the first person Rick meets. While he does rejoin the group, he’s far from the zen master on the show. After being bitten, he’s killed by Michonne.
TV Morgan: When you cast Lennie James, you’ve got to give him more meat in a role. Morgan’s journey has taken him from a man who had to take down his walker wife and then his young son to madness to taken up the Bo at Eastman’s behest to becoming the yin to Carol’s yang.
Comics Judith: In a gut-wrenching moment, the baby dies along with Lori when the Governor and his group attack the prison.
TV Judith: She’s still with us and will probably grow up to be a serial killer just like her brother.
Comics Aaron: He pretty much has the same role in the comics as recruiter for Alexandria. He and Eric are also together.
TV Aaron: So far, they appear to be pretty similar. And he’ll probably react the same way if someone kills Eric.
Comics Carol: She’s the same meek, abused housewife as TV Carol only paper Carol never gets to evolve into a badass. She has a relationship with Tyreese and then tries to get into a three way with Rick and Lori. When she can’t seem to connect with anyone, she commits suicide by walker.
TV Carol: The meek, abused housewife kills her abusive molester husband with a pickaxe just before he turns. Having matured into an unstoppable killing machine, Carol’s trying real hard to be the good shepherd and not kill everyone in her path.
Comics Sophia: Sophia is adopted by Dale and Andrea after Carol committed suicide by zombie. She’s still alive and well.
TV Sophia: Due to budget constraints and some behind the scenes infighting among the producers, Rick and the Crew spent a whole season on Hershel’s farm. Good news: Maggie and Glenn happened. Bad news: the loss of Dale. And a wowzer of an ending with walker Sophia emerging from the barn, leaving Rick no choice but to kill her.