1.) Daryl mother-trucking Dixon:
I don't think I'm posting any major spoilers here for non-comic readers if I tell you, Daryl doesn't exist in the comics. Neither does his brother, Merle. No motorcycles,. No sexy in a you need to shower type of way man-meat. There isn't even a character I can think of to draw a parallel to here, other than possibly attributing Tyreese's much less aggressive tv show counter-part to Daryl's existence as Rick's right hand man. Daryl is a brilliant character, and I have fallen in love with him, along with most of the country, but I can't predict what's going to happen to him from reading the comics. Which is probably what the TV show producers were going for.
2.) Carol is a strong psycho killer, with a dead daughter:
I'm sort of bundling here. For one, Sophia is dead on the show and alive in the comics. She becomes Maggie's adopted daughter, much like Enid on the show. This is of course after Carol dies in the comics. Which happens pretty early on in the comics. In the TV show, Carol has turned into a stone cold pragmatist who thinks nothing of putting bullets into people who have been infected with a virus and threaten to infect the group at large. It’s a huge transformation, both from her Season 1 days suffering emotional and physical abuse from her husband and from the comics, where she is a bit of a looker (not the mousy, short haired and quiet character in the show), a total nut job and much feistier, flirting with and dating Tyreese and suggesting a threesome with Rick and Lori.
3.) Where the heck is Andrea?
Oh yeah, dead. Andrea's initial indecision and emotional imbalance annoyed many viewers. Her decisions to relocate to Woodbury, to begin a relationship with the Governor and to leave Rick’s group riled many fans; it was tantamount to unforgiveable betrayal. But her death, or turning, in the TV show is pretty hardcore. This episode just doesn’t happen in the comics. Instead, Andrea becomes a sharp shooter and is central to the defense of the prison. What the heck TWD!? Andrea was hands down my favorite female character in the comics. Don't get me wrong, Michonne is awesome, but Andrea is a sniping badass who ends up with Rick, as Carl's Mom. She is the perfect for Rick. The lack of Andrea has brought Michonne and Rick together which is great and all, but is going to be interesting to the story arc since it cancels out any chance of Michonne developing a relationship with the "King" of the Kingdom. They've really rearranged the characters here. Which is confounding, but I'm excited to see where they take it. Who will the whisperers end up killing NOW?!
4.) Dale's early demise:
God love him and his penchant for open Hawaiian shirts, bucket hats, that trusty RV and moral philosophy. Dale dies sooner, and far more suddenly, in the TV show than in the comics. In the former, a few walkers ambush and disembowel him as he takes an ill-advised walk through fields. In the latter, Dale’s demise is a more prolonged affair, involving two bites and an amputation to stymie the first. This has a few major plot affects. For one, he and Andrea never date. I know it seems weird and creepy but Andrea and Dale were totally in love in the comics. This also leaves an opening for Bob, the alcoholic medic, who in the comics was a white guy who falls in love with Lilly Caul and helps out the Governor. That was a really weird twist.
5.) Morgan's super weird story line
So... on the show there's a goat and a homemade jail cell mixed with a zen buddhist attitude. All very strange. In the comics he leaves his crazy booby-trap infested home with Rick and makes his way to Alexandria with the group after the jail is blown up. He's with Rick when he goes all zombie crazy and bites a dude who's threatening Carl. He is one of Rick's main men. The change could be partially attributed to Daryl's place in the show or could have just been a scheduling conflict. Who knows?
Interested in catching up on the comics. Get started here!
So what do you think? Am I on point? Did I miss any HUGE differences you would have mentioned? Let me know in the comment section.