For the most part, the show stays true to the original comic. That being said, there are some differences. First the comic books are more violent and gratuitous. Because of the typical twenty page format, the story is divided up into short cliffhanger sections. The hour-long TV slot allows for a slower-paced character driven drama.
Days Gone By
Differences & Similarities: S01E01 & #001-002
note: S01E01 = season 1 episode 1. #001 = comic issue #1
The Walking Dead Season 3 averaged ten million viewers per episode. It's safe to say that this show isn't going anywhere anytime soon. And like most things these days, it was first based on something else: a comic book.
*Spoilers!* Both versions begin in the same place. Rick and Shane are involved in a gun fight. During this, Rick gets shot and is hospitalized. He then slips into a coma. When he wakes up the world has changed and his wife, Lori, and son, Carl, are nowhere to be found. Morgan and Duane Jones find Rick and take him in. Rick then takes them to the Sheriff station as thanks and gives them access to the armory.
The television show spends more time in this town. Morgan explains that his wife, Jenny, got infected. This is really why the Jones family was still in town and not in Atlanta with the other survivors. Morgan attempts to put his zombified wife out of his misery, but in the end, can't pull the trigger. Rick gives Morgan a radio so they can meet up later. The show also goes into minor details and shows other members of the sheriff department, other than just Shane. It also gives a glimpse into Rick and Lori's marriage.
After leaving his town, Rick finds a horse and rides it into Atlanta to search for his family. In the TV show, he spots a helicopter and attempts to flag it down. This is where he meets Glenn, who rescues him from the zombie horde that has taken over the city. The comic only has Glenn, who then takes him back to his camp. In the TV show, however, Glenn is leading a group of survivors on a scavenging mission.