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What Only Comic Book Fans Notice About Syfy's Wynonna Earp

SyFy's Wynonna Earp is one of the more underrated TV series of the past decade, with a diehard fan base that already brought it back from the brink of cancelation once. (Although, sadly, SYFY has already announced that there won't be a fifth season.) The supernatural Western series follows Wynonna Earp (Melissa Scrofano), great-granddaughter of legendary Wild West lawman Wyatt Earp, who inherits his trusty pistol, Peacemaker, and uses it to defend her hometown of Purgatory from various undead villains.

Fans of the TV series may not know that Wynonna Earp is based on a comic book series of the same name that was first published by Image Comics in 1996 as a five-part series. The Wynonna Earp comic then moved over to IDW Publishing, which sporadically released new content in the franchise from 2003 to 2011.

Fans of the original comics no doubt noticed that when the TV series debuted in 2016, it was quite a bit different from the source material. Of course, 2016 was also the year that the Wynonna Earp comics were revived once again, this time as a reboot that brought the print franchise in line with the popular TV series.

If you were a fan of the pre-2016 comics, there are probably quite a few things from the TV show that stick out as odd.

There are a lot of new faces in Wynonna's life

While the comics mostly focus on Wynonna's monster-hunting work, the TV series is more about the interpersonal dynamics between Wynonna and the people close to her. That focus made it necessary for the TV series to add several new characters who weren't in the original comics. (Although they have been part of the reboots.)

Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) is one of Wynonna's closest allies and a love interest earlier in the show, but he wasn't part of the original comics. Nor was Xavier Dolls (Shamier Anderson), the agent from the U.S. Marshals' top-secret Black Badge division. 

But the most surprising additions are probably Wynonna's sister Waverly Earp (Dominique Provost-Chalkley), and Waverly's girlfriend, Sheriff Nicole Haught (Katherine Barrell). Waverly and Nicole quickly became fan favorites — earning the couple nickname "WayHaught." Thanks to Waverly and Nicole's relationship, GLAAD nominated Wynonna Earp for its 2018 Media Award for Best Drama Series.

The TV series covers a lot less territory

In the comics, Wynonna racks up many miles crossing the country to deal with the latest undead threats. While her home base is in New Mexico, comics-Wynonna goes to places like Tombstone, Arizona, where her great-grandfather was deputized, and New York City, where she faces off against a gang of vampires selling a designer drug called "Hemo." It's a proper road story.

The TV series, on the other hand, is mostly set in one location — the fictional town of Purgatory, where Wynonna grew up and where her great-grandfather Wyatt Earp laid down the law before her. The show doesn't specify where in the world Purgatory is. The real Wyatt Earp plied his trade in the Arizona territory of the American Southwest, but Purgatory probably isn't supposed to be in Arizona. Fans have found various clues that Purgatory is located somewhere in the Canadian province of Alberta, but those clues are likely due to the fact that the show films in Alberta.

Things aren't quite as weird

Wynonna Earp is sometimes classified as belonging to both the Western and supernatural genres, but it's actually a better fit for a subgenre called "Weird West," which describes Westerns that include supernatural elements and, well, weirdness. Unfortunately for the comics fans, the TV series isn't quite as "weird" as other titles from this subgenre, and that's a definite divergence from the source material.

On the TV series, Wynonna goes up against plenty of undead nightmares, but they're usually either demons or Revenants. The demons are demons, but the Revenants are the 77 undead outlaws once killed by Wyatt Earp and now risen from the grave to menace Wynonna. That's a unique enemy that wouldn't work on most other TV series, but the comics had monsters that were even weirder — from zombie mailmen to hillbilly gremlins to a mummy named Raduk Eater of the Dead who was also a hitman for the Egyptian mafia. Yes, really.

What we have here are two very different takes on the Wynonna mythology, but both equally enjoyable.