The Importance of Research in The Creation of Comic Book WritingUpdated on Jun 28,2023
Comic book writing, like any form of storytelling, requires a great deal of imagination. But, imagination alone cannot create a compelling story. As any experienced comic book writer will tell you, research is the foundation upon which any good comic book story is built. Research brings authenticity, depth, and detail to the characters, settings, and themes of any comic book. This article will explore the importance of research in different aspects of comic book writing and showcase some examples of well-executed research.
What is Comic Book
Comic book writing is a form of storytelling that uses sequential art to convey a narrative. It encompasses a wide range of genres, from superheroes to science fiction, from fantasy to horror writing. While comic book writing allows for a lot of creative freedom, it also requires a great deal of discipline in the planning and execution stages. Arguably, one of the most crucial aspects of comic book writing is research.
Research can encompass many things, from historical and cultural details to scientific accuracy. In order for a book writing to have emotional resonance and authenticity, it must be rooted in the real world, even if the world it depicts is fantastical. By conducting research, writers can make sure that their stories are realistic, the characters are authentic and the themes are well-developed.
Historical Research in Comic Book Writing
Every good storyteller knows that history is a rich source of inspiration and material. Whether it’s a historical event, a famous figure, or an everyday person who has lived through a particular time period, history has the power to captivate and inspire. Historical research in comic book writing can lend a sense of realism, accuracy, and depth to a story. Historical accuracy is important in making a comic book story feel authentic.
A well-researched historical comic book can transport readers to a different time period and teach them something new. Examples of comics that have made great use of historical research include Art Spiegelman’s Maus series and Joe Sacco’s Palestine. Both these pieces of work portray historical events and political conflicts from a personal, human perspective, which makes them compelling and informative.
Cultural Research in Comic Book Writing
In today’s globalized world, cultures are crossing over more frequently than ever before. As a result, cultural research has grown in importance in creating truly authentic comic book worlds. This type of research can include anything from food, dress, customs, languages and cultural beliefs. By incorporating cultural research into their work, writers can create worlds that are rich in detail and complexity, even if the world is entirely made up. Cultural research is also important for representing diverse characters or cultures without resorting to harmful stereotypes.
The creators of “Black Panther”, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, for instance, did extensive research on African culture prior to creating “Wakanda”. They drew inspiration from real-life African cultures and peoples, and created a fictional African nation that is both believable and unique. “Black Panther” is an example of a comic book that has successfully incorporated cultural research.
Scientific Research in Comic Book Writing
Although comic book writing tends to be viewed as a form of entertainment, science fiction comic books, in particular, require a great deal of scientific research. Creating a believable future world that relies on scientific advancements requires a lot of imagination and knowledge about science.
Many comic book writers consult scientific experts to ensure that the science described in their work is accurate. For example, graphic novel “Saga” showcases many planets and futuristic settings. The writers, however, have based the science behind them on real-life science concepts. The “Gundam” series are another example of a comic series based on scientific research.
Character Research in Comic Book Writing
In comic book writing, character is king. Whether it’s a beloved superhero or a villainous mastermind, readers want characters that feel authentic and well-developed. To achieve this, comic book writers put in extensive character research into traits, experiences, and motivations of characters. By making characters as realistic as possible, readers become more invested in their story writing.
A great example of well-researched characters in comics is the characterization of Tony Stark or “Ironman”. The original Ironman character in comic books was a heavy drinker and a womanizer. But comic book writers conducted character research and re-invented the character as a complex, realistic figure with alcoholism as part of his persona. This has led to a deeper appreciation of the character and a more human approach in storytelling.
Importance of World-Building Research in Comic Book Writing
World-building research is essential in comic book writing because it helps to create a sense of place and context. The world that the story takes place in must be believable and relatable for the reader to fully invest in the story. Researching the time periods, geography, and cultural trends that make up the world of the comic aims to help the writer to create a credible fictional universe. For example, Black Panther comics, which are set in the fictional country of Wakanda, are rooted in extensive world-building research, from the design of the country’s customs, history, and religion.
Examples of World-Building in Comics and Their Research
The world-building in comics can be done in many ways. Some comics take place in the real world, but require some level of research to maintain factual accuracy. For example, Spider-Man comics are set in New York City, so the writers must make sure that the landmarks and cityscape are accurately depicted in their stories.
On the other hand, some comics are set in entirely non-fiction writing that requires world building. The characters and settings in character’s world must be grounded in reality, so readers can invest in their stories. Sandman, Neil Gaiman’s popular comic series, has a narrative that hops across worlds, time periods, and myths. Gaiman drew inspiration from numerous mythos, including Norse, Japanese, and Egyptian mythology, and the created an original magical world that echoes those mythic setting.
Consequences of Poor Research in Comic Book Writing
The consequences of poor research in ghostwriting can range from mild to severe. Inaccuracies in factual details about the setting, character traits, or historical events can destroy the believability of the story. Poor research shows improper preparation or laziness, which eventually undermines the comic’s legitimacy and quality. They get more irksome as the reader consumes more panels, and this can lead the reader to lose trust in the story and the rest of the series.
Examples of Poorly Researched Comic Books
Poor research can lead to poorly researched comic books, which are problematic for any book publishing service. One example is the infamous “Superman vs. Muhammad Ali” comic book that had Ali portrayed as a Muslim, but Superman had a limited understanding of Islam. Many readers and critics found the depiction to be stereotypical, inaccurate, and insensitive.
Similarly, the X-Men villain Moses Magnum was written as an Asian, leading to a stereotype-laden backstory and character design that was insensitive and offensive to many readers. Such under-researched comics leave an unendurable stain on the comic’s legacy and the producer.
In conclusion, research is a critical part of comic book writing. Good research helps to create believable characters and worlds that readers engage with emotionally, build credibility, and maintain accuracy which is indispensable in comic book writing. Poor research, on the other hand, results in underwhelming, inaccurate stories.
The world of comic writing is ever-expanding, with no one reason to let poor research ruin what could be an outstanding piece of literature. A lack of research is a terrible disservice to audiences seeking new and engaging comics. Therefore, It is crucial that comic book writers establish vigilante research behaviors to create quality and excellent comics.