Actually, Capt Hook does have a point about the season 2 cliffhanger, with the shot of the prison and the introduction of Michonne. I do think they were nods to the comic fans, who'd been impatiently waiting for both plotlines. I can't "unread" the comic and be able to assess if I would have had the same response as a non-reader of the comic did. But really, the references to the comic are actually few and far between. You don't need to have read it in order to know what's happening. I think those above mentioned scenes were actually a way of luring back the fans of the comic, as it had almost completely detoured from the source material after the pilot episode. It's a good example, but also probably the only example of a scene where one should have read the comic first.