For comic book lovers of all ages the scariest news possible is that their favorite series is being turned into a television show. Of course this isn’t scary for everyone, it can be very exciting for some who have always wanted to see what characters look like in real life. The fear comes from the idea that television executives are going to change the most iconic parts of these classic stories. In the past we have seen small adaptations in the form of children’s shows and movies, but nothing like what we see today.
In the past six years, AMC has taken up the challenge of adapting such beloved comics as The Walking Dead and Preacher. AMC is best known for their dramatic shows such as Breaking Bad and Mad Men, both of which have won numerous awards for their brilliance. The Walking Dead was AMC’s first attempt at a comic book adaptation, which began with a six episode first season. The first episode was by far the best example of “sticking to the source material” that most people had ever seen on television. The iconic scenes such as Rick Grimes riding his horse into the city of Atlanta with the outgoing lane of traffic filled with abandoned cars and corpses was done beautifully. There were so many spot on points throughout this episode, which were directed at the true fans of the series while allowing first-timers to bask in the glory of this apocalyptic world.
Overall the first season of TWD was an example of how comic book adaptation should be done. The five seasons that followed, however, began to show the one major problem with adapting a well-known comic series. TWD has a well-established cast of characters and a point in the story where each character meets their unfortunate end. Television writers, understandably, feel the need to change things up a bit and switch around character positions. As someone who started off watching the show and then referring back to the books, I’m perfectly okay with this. The scenes are still set up the same way with similar elements and I understand that the character swapping is to keep the audience on their feet.
The hardcore TWD fans are not as easy-going about these changes as I am. With a show that deals primarily with survival and brutal deaths, keeping characters in place is very important. The emotions behind each death are what make this series as powerful as it has become. My defense in this argument goes back to seasons four and five. In season four, beloved character Hershel met his demise by the hands of The Governor, in the spot where Tyreese should have died. This became a bone of contention until a year later during season five, when Tyreese met a slow and extremely sad end. Although these changes seemed awful at the time, the show’s writers do an excellent job of ensuring that those emotions come back in some shape or form. The benefit of having a network like AMC is their amazing ability of making moments with so much quality drama and making the audience feel every moment of it.
Preacher is AMC’s most recent addition to their comic book based series collection. This show has only a few episodes so far and has packed quite a punch. I was unaware of the Preacher comics until this series was announced. Having read the first issues and watched the first episode, I saw immediately this was more of an awesome television show than a comic book adaptation. The story behind Preacher is a very twisted and confusing one, at best. From the skimming I’ve done of the later issues of the comic, I am very interested to see how the creators could possibly make some of these very graphic moments come to life. There were some moments that were pretty close to the books, mainly Tulip’s crazy gun and corn filled introduction. As an avid television lover, I am very excited to see where this show goes. As a new comic book reader, I am slightly worried about where this story is going.
Whether it’s a beloved comic book series or a highly watched television series, there is always one thing they have in common, an audience. There will be those who want to analyze every frame of TWD comic and compare it to the television show and be disappointed. There are some who are most likely still unaware that Preacher is based on a comic book series and who are just enjoying this awesome, bloody new show. And there will be people like me, who glide through the middle of both, happily enjoying the magic of comics and the beauty of television.