Catching up with the Walking Dead
Part 1: The page versus the screen

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Last week we spent some time discussing the first half of AMC’s The Walking Dead – Season Two in preparation for last Sunday’s mid-season premiere. Much of that conversation revolved around the distinctions we’re seeing between the television series and Robert Kirkman’s comic book series from Image. With more than 90 issues published, KevinMLD has been reading since the beginning. Rather than waiting for PTB to read through it all in order, we decided to dive in with a discussion of issue #91 through the current issue #93.

Spoilers for all forms of The Walking Dead will follow with some specific details from The Walking Dead #91-93.

PTB: The hardest part of jumping into this series was not knowing who each character was on sight. Most were all identified on some level but like any issue #91 the principals weren’t “introduced” in any formal sense.

KevinMLD: To be honest I’ve read the entire run and with death being such a constant element of the series, I have trouble bothering to pay attention to new characters until they’ve been around a while. So I struggle with keeping track of some of the characters too.

PTB: That said I liked the way everyone was rendered and had a district look. Without flashy costumes and in black and white that’s a real testament to Charlie Adlard’s work.

KevinMLD: This has always been an impressive skill. Kirkman must pay Adlard well because I’d have thought he would have been scooped up by one of the big two by now.

PTB: I also noticed they have Cliff Rathburn listed as a grayscale colorist. I’ve never seen that before, but I also don’t read many black and white books.

KevinMLD: I never really noticed that either, but it’s clear some coloring is done to the series even if it is grayscale.

PTB: There were a number of characters to keep track of, some that were familiar from the AMC series and some that are still unique to the comic (be sure to check out our character gallery below) Rick is still the central figure and the leader of his group, but the make up of that group has changed since issue #6. His son Carl is there but he’s lost an eye?

KevinMLD: Carl was recently shot in the face. He’s recovering, but he’s had issues with his memory. It’s pretty sad.

PTB: Is Rick missing a hand?

KevinMLD: He is indeed. He lost that in his first encounter with a large community of survivors.

PTB: I like that it’s one of the subtle things in the art.

Rick’s wife Lori isn’t around but I’ve heard she’s dead. Did she die conclusively on panel or is there potential for her to return?

KevinMLD: Lori is dead. She’s been dead a long time. Her death was brutal and shocking and maybe even a little over the top.

PTB: Any chance we’ll see her again as a zombie?

KevinMLD: Not going to happen. Characters in The Walking Dead have never really died and then made a shocking return months later as a zombie. In fact, I only remember one character ever being brought back as a zombie after an absence and it wasn’t played for a shock at all. In addition, Rick’s group is geographically nowhere near where Lori died anymore. They’ve migrated north.

PTB: Rick appears to be in a romantic situation with blonde freckle-face Andrea from the television series. I seem to remember some weirdness surrounding her, Dale, and her sister in the first trade paperback “Days Gone Bye”, but this confirms she was in love with Dale who’s also now dead.

KevinMLD: This relationship is a new development. Rick was recently in a short-term relationship with another woman, but if I remember correctly she was eaten alive. It happens.

PTB: It looks like Andrea has a number of scars on her face as well.

KevinMLD: The main scar is the result of a run in with a psychopath who intended to decapitate her.

PTB: Sophia is still kicking around in the comic and she’s been adopted by Glenn and Maggie? Is this Maggie from Hershel’s farm? If that’s the case it’s nice to have more than just Rick, Carl and Andrea from the show here.

KevinMLD: Yes, Maggie and Glenn are still running around from the early days. They’re still together and raising Sophia who likes to pretend they are her real parents, because she’s kind of a messed up kid.

PTB: The circumstances the group find themselves in has changed as well. Similar to the TV series, the survivors have currently found a safe harbor in a housing development rather than a farm, and there’s a sense of community.

KevinMLD: They left Hershel’s farm a long, long time ago. They have taken up residence in several different places in the years since. Each time it’s ended in disaster. They were invited to live in their current gated community near Washington, D.C. and disaster struck there as well including Carl losing his eye. Rick, however, was unwilling to abandon the community after the massive zombie attack and doubled down on efforts to try to make it a safe, self-sufficient place for them to live.

PTB: It’s weird seeing them with access to electricity.

KevinMLD: It’s very limited access from solar panels and generators if I remember correctly. They explained it, but I think that was like 20 issues ago.

PTB: From what I can tell, Rick’s group has joined a larger one and while he still leads his people, someone else is running the show. I can’t imagine anything ever works out well for this crew.

KevinMLD: There certainly was someone else in charge of the larger community when they arrived, but Rick has basically been left in charge ever since the massive zombie attack almost destroyed everything.

PTB: A lot of attention is paid in these issues to two survivors that haven’t appeared on the show yet, Abraham and Michonne (who I was initially referring to as “Hogan” and “355”). These two characters are on the cover of issue #92 where they’re on patrol and encounter an outsider named Paul (who also goes by the name “Jesus”). His arrival drives a lot of the action heading the latest story “A Larger World.”

KevinMLD: “Hogan” I get, but as much as I love Y, Michonne is way cooler than 355. When she showed up for the first time in The Walking Dead it was one of the single greatest images in comics and inarguably one of the most memorable. I would think that she’s about due to appear on the TV series. It should certainly happen by the end of next season at the latest, but maybe even this year.

PTB: The timing of my reading this encounter with another group of survivors coupled with seeing something similar on TV last week created an interesting look at Rick. The circumstances are very different, but seeing Rick kill the two guys at the bar on TV and not kill Paul even after all he’s been through in the comic is a nice juxtaposition.

KevinMLD: In the television series, Rick shot them in the bar after your friend from True Blood went for his gun. The fatter guy is definitely dead. Can we be so sure about True Blood?

PTB: I was surprised that a recognizable face like Michael Raymond-James from another TV series was killed off so quickly. He helped create a real air of tension in that scene. There’s a chance he’ll be back. The guys at the bar were a more active threat and television-Rick is a much younger version of the character, but does comic book-Rick let Paul live because there’s more at stake with his offer of working with other survivors?

KevinMLD: Paul never threatened anyone once Rick was on the scene. Though you cannot argue that Rick didn’t treat him like a threat. The issues where you’re starting are the first point where Rick is saying we need to try and be civilized again. It’s a recent revelation for him even though he’s still prepared to plunder these new other communities if need be.

PTB: So it’s more accurate to say he’s returning to form rather than he’s stayed idealistic through 90 issues?

KevinMLD: Well, he wants to return to form. I’m not so sure it’s possible. He never wanted to be the darker person he’s become. It’s just a side effect of survival I think.

PTB: The “Something to Fear” teasers that showed up last week on Skybound.com (and featured below) suggest there’s more bad news on the horizon. Has Rick’s group really not encountered other groups of survivors as large as their own? I couldn’t tell if their surprise at the community Paul described was due to the size of that group or because it was a group that was organized in any way.

KevinMLD: They’ve only seen two large communities in all this time. The first one was while they were still down south and the encounter led to a full on war between Rick’s group and a group led by a character known as the Governor. Seriously. War. A tank was involved. Since then Rick’s group basically walked to DC and joined the community they live in now. They saw no evidence of other peaceful trading communities during their trek.

PTB: One final point I wanted to bring up is what seems to be a weird oragnization to the series with #93 being “Part One” of “A Larger World.” This new antagonist, Paul / Jesus shows up at the end of #91, is discovered by Abraham and Michonne in #92, and finally meets Rick and explains his deal in #93. So if #93 is “Part One,” what does that make #91-92?

KevinMLD: Stand alone prequel issues? This is the first issue where Rick decides to join the “Larger World”. I’m sure they’ll be collected in the same volume though.

PTB: That was what I was considering since this book has had such success as collected editions. They’ve all recently been made available through Apple’s iBooks.

Check out our character gallery below as well as the recent set of teasers for what’s coming up in the pages of Image Comics’ The Walking Dead. No one is quite sure to make of these teasers, but news might be coming at next weekend’s Image Comics Expo. The Expo is a celebration of Image’s 20th anniversary and fans in attendance will have access to a show exclusive variant of The Walking Dead #94. That cover is featured along with the rest of the show exclusives in today’s edition of our Standard Deviations column.

As seen on TV:

From the comic book series:

Coming soon:

Catch up with all of our coverage of The Walking Dead on MyLatestDistraction.

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