A world overrun by zombies is not a light subject. If you lost your family and were scraping to survive, chances are you wouldn’t often feel much like laughing or goofing around. That said, it’s a bit difficult to sustain that level of seriousness without coming up for air. There have been lighter-hearted moments in the show (Carl and Michonne and the pudding come to mind), but moments are exactly what they are. Robert Kirkman treated us to a bizarre (and colored!) moment of levity in the back part of issue #75.
The only reason Image signed off on The Walking Dead was because Kirkman pitched the story as having a twist: it would turn out the zombies were being created as part of an alien plot to conquer the world (a la Plan 9 From Outer Space). With no intention to follow the pitch, Kirkman threw in a small story where Rick Grimes was beamed up from Alexandria and thrust into a world where all the dead characters of the comic were fighting for or against the aliens.
Granted it was just one time (so far) that Kirkman did this for us, but it was greatly appreciated. We can only hope that as time goes on we are treated to more of these asides (or even just a continuation of this story). As for the show, it could use a tonal break along these lines to break things up as we’re approaching the 84th episode. An annual Christmas special, perhaps?
15. A TALE OF TWO ANDREAS
Many of the characters in the television show differ, sometimes greatly, from their comic counterparts. In some cases, the characters share little more than a name. Arguably, the characters changed the most was Andrea. In the comics, Andrea seems to be in her 20s. After losing her sister early in the books, she winds up forming a relationship with Dale (yes, the age gap is huge… and no, Dale is not nearly as obnoxious in the comics) and they wind up adopting orphaned twins Ben and Billy (more on that later). Much further down the line in Alexandria, she and Rick become a couple. The relationship becomes so long-standing that Carl has taken to calling her “mom.” Andrea is level-headed and resolute, a crack shot sniper, and one of the most respected members of the human communities thriving in the present day after “the jump.”
In the television show? Andrea isn’t painted so kindly. Time and again she shows, despite her desire to be a decision-maker, that she is not fit to be; culminating in her clipping Daryl with a rifle round by mistake and accidentally allowing Beth to attempt suicide on her watch. Andrea eventually abandons the group and makes a home in Woodbury (shacking up with undercover psycho, The Governor), but flip-flops between Woodbury and leaving with Michonne. Fan ire about Andrea’s television portrayal reached a fever pitch in Season 3, and Andrea wound up not surviving the season (although this may well have been coincidence).