The Walking Dead Show vs Comic: Major Plot Differences

With The Walking Dead season 5 upon us, I thought it was high time to make a short list of the major plot differences between the show and the comics. Personally, I prefer the comics over the show and I strongly encourage any fan of the series to check them out. If you aren’t a subscriber to the comics, you can read the full versions on thewalkingdeadpdf. Here is my opinion of the biggest deviations the Walking Dead show has taken over the Walking Dead comics (so far), whether these discrepancies are for the better are up to you.

WARNING! Spoilers, graphic scenes, and strong language ahead!

Shane Walsh’s fate

In the show- Best buddies, Rick and Shane slowly become more hostile over Lori and the prospect of Judith being the biological daughter of Shane. Both men vie for control over the group and tensions grow until Shane’s lies catch up to him and he attempts to murder rick on Hershel Green’s farm.

In the comic- Even though the show held true to the conditions of Rick and Shane’s relationship before the dead took over, Shane’s fate was very different in the comics. Rick and Shane argued constantly in the Atlanta camp about the next steps to take. Shane believed they should stay put, and Rick wanted to move on. Eventually Shane had his classic freak out moment over Lori and his need for control that he tried to take Rick’s life before they ever left the camp. Carl was actually the one to kill Shane in the comics and Deputy Walsh never even made it to Hershel’s farm.

carl kills shane

Crazy, crazy Carol

In the show- this is one aspect of the show that I preferred over the comics. Carol has developed from the mousy wife whose only purpose is to do laundry and serve as her husband’s punching bag, to the veritable super soldier of the post apocalyptic future. As the show progresses, Carol becomes a stronger more independent figure that knows how to throw down. In the season 5 premier, Carol really demonstrated her ability to survive and blow stuff up.

In the comic- the group actually meets Tyreese and friends on the road long before they get to the prison, and an intimate relationship ensues between him and Carol. After they all arrive at the prison, Tyreese has a secret little fling with Michonne and Carol starts to go off the deep end. The process is slow, but by the time Carol completely snaps, she voluntarily introduces her own neck to a walker’s face.


The Governor

In the show- I actually thought David Morrissey did just fine as the one eyed, nut job, leader of Woodbury. He played a very believable antagonist and had great character development. The Governor started out as a deceiving murderer who was teetering on the brink of insanity, but he still had the town’s best interests in mind. Sure, he massacred those Army grunts, and maybe he kept the undead remains of his daughter locked in a closet, but he still seemed like a nice guy. It wasn’t until Penny’s walker was killed that he “Governor’ed out” and just wanted to kill anyone and everyone.

In the comic- Nearly from minute one, the Governor is a complete psychopath. He meets Rick during one the famous Woodbury arena matches and is courteous and hospitable for a total of 2 whole minutes before he decides to take Rick and company hostage, cut off Rick’s hand, and tortures Michonne…….like, a lot. After Michonne gets free, she is up for some revenge torture and waits for the Governor in his house. She gives Rick a little justice when she takes his arm with her trademark katana, and goes a little bonkers with a metal spoon. Let’s just say he wears the eye patch from then on in the comics too.

michonne spoon


In the show- The infamous death scene of Hershel in the mid-season 4 finale will be burned into the back of viewer’s skulls for years to come. When the Governor went medieval and sloppily hacked off Hershel’s head, the sound of collective jaws dropping to the floor could be heard in the next town over.

In the comic- This was basically the same setup in the comic; the Governor and his minions are ready to storm the prison and Rick’s group is preparing for the coming fight. The only difference was Hershel was behind the fence and Tyreese was the one who got his head lopped off instead.


Judith Grimes

In the show- Even though her mother dies during childbirth, Judith survives and goes on an adventure with Carol and Tyreese. In the season 5 premier she is reunited with her pa-pa and big brother in a tearful emotional reunion. What else could possibly be in store for the invincible toddler who has already had more close calls than a Korean War veteran?

In the comic- When Lori gives birth to Judith, she actually survives, for a little while anyway. Remember Lilly in the show? She was the woman that slept with the Governor in a box truck in season 4. She didn’t participate in the takeover of the prison on the show but in the comics she was directly responsible for the deaths of both Lori and Judith.



Honorable Mention- The most polite apocalypse ever

In the show- This isn’t a plot deviation, but I feel it needs to be mentioned. I understand that TV is TV and the FCC has the uncanny ability to take away anything that might be interesting to the viewers, but considering the situation, everyone is just too damn polite. No one just tells it like it is when it comes to someone who is rubbing them the wrong way. It’s all about back-handed insults and last word drama until something finally happens that forces people to say “well I guess we should just get over it and work together”.

In the comic- “Negan”. That’s literally all that needs to be said.


There is a massive list of ways the show has taken a different path than the comics, but there just isn’t enough time to mention them all. If you have never read the comics, hopefully this will persuade you to so. The reading can be a little slow, but at least when your nerd friends start talking about the Walking dead comics you will be able to join in.