Saturday, April 18, 2015

WALKING DEAD Comics vs. the TV Series: Those Poor Child-Killing Cannibals Are Just Victims of Soy-Com-Stance

And so they did. And they saw that they were tasty-good, and therefore set forth for more.

In the original The Walking Dead comics, Gareth and the Hunters weren’t from Terminus, but a gang of survivors who came more or less out of the woodwork, or, more precisely, the woods. Their story was that they were once perfectly normal, scared and hungry survivors who just happened to break down and kill and eat their own children during a particularly peckish week. Having gone about as low as a human can go, they figured, shoot, why not hunt and kill other survivors? It beats sitting around being hungry and scared. 

In case you already didn’t hate them enough for being so depraved, the Hunters enjoyed terrorizing their victims before going in for the kill. Like the Terminus survivors who turned cannibal on the TV series, the idea is that the Hunters were somehow victims of circumstance. They went crazy and killed and ate their children—and, having realized, oh my God, they just killed and ate their own children, they stayed crazy. I can see how that sounds reasonable to some people. That’s because they’re depraved themselves.

The graphic novel collection (Vol. 11) with the Hunters storyline.
Some dumbasses in the Colorado state legislature made noises
a few years back about taxing Internet sales, so Amazon doesn’t do
the affiliate program here, so, therefore, no link from me.
In reworking the Hunters story line from the comics, the TV show writers wisely made the Terminus cannibals one-time good guys who were victimized by a rape gang who took over their camp, until Gareth got it in him to orchestrate a necessarily bloody and successful reprisal. And it turns out Gareth’s people were hungry, on top of raped and traumatized, and they had all these dead rapists lying around, and, gosh, it just doesn’t pay to be nice in this post-apocalyptic world, does it? You’re either eaters or the eaten. So, instead of taking down the signs advertising sanctuary, reinforcing their walls, fences, gates, etc., and setting up 24/7 sniper posts with shoot-to-kill orders for any outsiders causing trouble for the gate guards, they kill and eat desperate survivors looking for the sanctuary advertised on the signs. 

Like Dawn and her cop shop/slave labor/rape camp, they’re “just holdin’ it together.” Yeah, right. I get that circumstances are going to push people over the edge. But how one is inspired by said circumstances is a matter of personal choice. You can be a hard-edged hero or an excuse-making zero. Blaming your problems on “we were hungry, and those people were mean to us” puts you square in the latter camp.

What I liked about the TV show’s adaptation of the comics story is how closely it followed the Hunters’ capture of one of Rick’s people. One of Rick’s crew goes out in the woods, presumably to urinate, mostly to get away and be alone. He’s hit on the head and knocked out by an unseen assailant. When he wakes up, he finds himself lying by a campfire. The lower part of his left leg is gone, the stump wrapped in bandages.

There are others around the campfire, and they’re eating. They’re eating his leg. Once the leader of the group realizes Stumpy is awake, he begins taunting the victim.

“You mean I could have been
working through Season 5?”
In the original comics, though, instead of Bob getting his leg cut off and mocked while the Hunters ate it in front of him, the victim was — Dale. Yes, he of the fisherman’s hat, who perished all the way back in Season 2 of the TV series. As Bob did on the TV series, Dale laughed to inform the the Hunters that they were eating “tainted meat.” Dale, like Bob, had been bitten. That’s why he was alone in the woods by the church. He had a lot on his mind, knowing he was dying. 

I was disappointed in both cases that we never found out if eating the flesh of an infected would cause one to sicken and die. It stands to reason, but I still wanted to see it. I’m weird that way.
“I was bitten by the corpse of Joan Rivers. She was NAKED!”

In the comics, the Hunters were caught and hacked to pieces outdoors, and off-panel. It was implied that Rick and the gang were way too enthusiastic about killing these sickos, which horrified poor, weak Gabriel to the point that he would complain about this to the people of Alexandria—which, as we know, he also did on the TV show. On the TV show, Gareth’s Hunters were hacked to death inside of Gabriel’s church, which, I’m guessing, made Gabriel’s revulsion a wee bit more plausible, if only to the writers. 

Except that it didn’t. Gabriel’s a whiny degenerate who has yet to take responsibility for the death of his congregation. He knew what the Hunters were about. With all the metaphorical blood on his own hands, he had no business fussing about the blood on the floor of his church—which, as was pointed out to him, was no longer a church, merely four walls and a roof. I suspect he needed it pointed out to him that his church ceased to be a church when he made the decision to stay locked alone inside the building while walkers tore and ate entire families outside begging him to let them in.

Me, I would have tied Gareth and his crew to some handy trees and let the dead have at them. For all the passion Rick and company put into their bludgeoning and hacking of the Hunters, the Hunters still got off easy. The dead would have given them the agonizing death they deserved. If there are any deaths worse than being eaten alive one small, slobbering mouthful at a time, I don’t want to hear about it.

It’s why we love those ugly stinkers, right? For me, they just make more sense than the surviving humans.