Dead Boy Detectives: 5 differences between the comic and the TV series based on the works of Neil Gaiman

What are the differences between the Dead Boy Detectives comic and TV series?

Image Credit: Netflix

Dead Boy Detectives represents the latest work by Neil Gaiman to be adapted into a Netflix series, after Sandman, bringing protagonists Edwin Paine and Charles Rowland, originally introduced in the Sandman comics in 1991, to the Netflix platform. However, despite the inspiration drawn from the original comics, and the series being faithful to the original story, there are some more or less significant changes.

1. How Crystal is saved

In the Dead Boy Detectives series, one of the most different moments is at the very beginning, when Crystal is saved by the detectives. But, while in the comic the young woman almost died due to a bomb, in the show Crystal she appears as a woman possessed by a dark demon. Her life is in danger, trapped in the clutches of evil until the timely intervention of Edwin and Charles intervenes. The two defeat the demon, freeing Crystal from her sinister grip. However, the price to pay is high: the demon takes away most of Crystal's memories, leaving her with no memory of her past and her identity. This moment marks the beginning of an even darker and more mysterious adventure for Crystal, as she tries to piece together her uncertain past alongside her unlikely saviors, Edwin and Charles.

2. The age of the characters

In the television adaptation of Dead Boy Detectives, one of the most obvious changes lies in the age of the main characters: Crystal, Edwin, and Charles. While in the comics Crystal is depicted as a young teenager, and Edwin and Charles appear as children of around 13 despite being long dead, in the TV series they are all more mature, probably in their late teens. This difference in the characters' ages leads to a significant twist in the plot and tone of the story. Instead of being seen as simple kids, the protagonists can face adults with greater confidence and determination, without being belittled or ignored due to their young age.

3. The place where the events come to life

In the Dead Boy Detectives comic, the plot takes place mainly in the United Kingdom, in places such as St. Hilarion, and other points around London that play a significant role in the narrative. This choice reflects the familiar setting for the author, Neil Gaiman, who opted to write about the place that best suits him. However, the Netflix television series takes a significantly different direction. Although the story begins in the United Kingdom, one of the first cases the boys find themselves involved in takes them to America, specifically to a picturesque town called Port Townsend. Here, they face a series of mysteries and unsavory characters that will force them to extend their stay.

4. Charles' family

In the comics, as in the TV series, the character of Charles is characterized by a complicated relationship with his father which has created many problems for him. But, while his mother died when he was still young in the comics and the detective also has a half-sister, Clementine, this does not happen in the TV series. Charles regularly checks on his parents' well-being and appears to be satisfied when he sees them happy and healthy, although his father's violent behavior continues to torment him.

5. Edwin and his love for Charles

In the Dead Boy Detectives comic, Edwin and Charles are presented as close friends who share a long history of collaboration and emotional closeness. Despite their strong relationship, this is described as totally platonic, focused on mutual friendship and collaboration in the detective agency they founded. Even when Charles becomes romantically close to Crystal, Edwin demonstrates sincerity and happiness for the couple, albeit joking about the situation. Which doesn't happen on the show.

In the Warner Bros series, Edwin shows a more romantic and sincere love towards his dear friend Charles, highlighting an evolution of the character compared to his paper counterpart and demonstrating feelings of jealousy towards Crystal.