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Shown Their Work: Webcomics
  • Several of xkcd's most popular strips are this trope. Good examples would be these Gravity Wells and Height. Given that the author is a math nerd and physics major, this should come as no surprise.
    • The xkcd Time animation is a particularly well-developed example, including a detailed night sky that indicated the setting to be Earth, eleven thousand years in the future.
  • Ursula Vernon's Digger does this regarding hyena biology, among other things, creating a comprehensive mythology out of their astronomical infant mortality rate on first births. This is due to Vernon having an anthropology degree.
    • Also of note is the comic's depiction of the aftereffects of a wombat eating a hyena's liver (as part of a funerary ritual). Not something to be attempted in real life, even for one who isn't an herbivore.
    • Vernon's fans also enter this territory, frequently responding to each new page of Digger with their own contributions of trivia on whatever the topic of today's page is, such as the authentic Balkan folklore behind the vampire squash and several parallels from various other cultures, historically-accurate dye substances that might be used to color skin for tattoos or leather, and alternative condiments should Digger carry out her threat to "eat my pickaxe... without salt".
  • The author of Get Medieval does this to an extraordinary extent with medieval history. During one of the interludes she even draws a picture of Sir Gerard in the actual formal wear he'd have during that period (complete with pointy-toed boots), then explains that she put him in more "conventional" medieval attire because if she drew him like that nobody would buy it.
  • Schlock Mercenary has in various occasions shown their work. Military tactics, futuristic concepts and even current space theories find their way into the comedic space opera. Not only that, but it also introduces some tactics (like the Very Dangerous Array) that would actually be very effective in real world (if we ever reach that level of technology).
    • Most notably, in one of his earlier arcs dealing with the Lunar States, he described the number of levels on a space elevator and the movement rates of the elevator itself and challenged readers to calculate the height of the structure. It worked.
  • Dylan Meconis, author of Family Man, does so much research for her comic that there's a page of notes accompanying the pages to prove it.
  • The Dreamer was pretty much started as a healthy outlet for the author's obsession with Revolutionary America.
  • Brat-Halla is actually quite well-researched... and goes out of its way to show it when it's not diverting from mythology because it would be funnier. One comic is a particularly extreme example, quoting verse 56 and part of Verse 55 of Völuspá in the Poetic Edda, seemingly just to show that they bothered to research Thor's death, and render it as accurately as the storyline it happens in allows.
  • Unlike many fangirls, when Gina Biggs began creating a webcomic set in Japan (Red String), it actually resembles modern-day Japan and not fangirl-fantasy Japan, showing very clearly that she took the time to know what she was doing.
  • Heartcore has a variety of tidbits and Shout Outs to demonology and classic anime and gaming, from Ame's Signature Move, the Devil Drive, to characters bearing names from Sega Role Playing Games, right down to the Idiosyncratic Episode Naming being based off of song names from the author's favorite games.
  • Irregular Webcomic! is chock full of obscure scientific, literary, mythological or otherwise obscure knowledge that makes the puns work. Arguably it's more fun to read the annotations than to read the comic.
  • Lackadaisy Cats features authentic 1920s slang, fashion and technology. Also, Zoot Suits, but most of it's good.
    • The only noticeable historical inaccuracies are the aforementioned zoot suits and one cathedral-style tabletop radio. Both are acknowledged by the author, who mentioned that she might changed the radio to something more accurate before that page is published.
    • The author bases all the buildings in the comic off of buildings in her home town of St. Louis, which is also the setting of the comic. She also references lyrics from popular songs of the 1920s. She dates many things in the comic, such as characters' dates of birth, letters, and photographs, with painstaking detail.
  • Clint Hollingsworth knows tracking, and uses this knowledge as part of the premise for The Wandering Ones.
  • Terinu author Peta Hewitt is a practicing nurse, so any medical details in a hospital scene are either accurate or logical extrapolations. Not to mention she used to work in a children's ward, so her depiction of her eponymous troubled teen hero's psychology is well grounded also.
  • Kilgannon does this with A Miracle of Science. Discounting things that are obviously visual aides for the audience (like eye colour change when being possessed by Mars (though that's Sachs' fault)), the background work is obvious and he can't resist the temptation to rant about science a little bit (significantly more science ranting and explanation happens in the comments with each panel).
  • Hastings and Archer, creators of The Adventures of Dr. McNinja are very studious and take great care to research what the characters are dealing with. Everything from blood transfusions to submarine classes to in what part of the country you can find MTO setups. As if we need another reason to go gaga over this comic.
    • Two words: blood loss. The eponymous doctor backs out of a fight due to blood loss.
      • This is in the same part where Dr. McNinja's "doctor half" argues with Death over whether or not his injuries were actually fatal (although it's really just a ploy to allow his "ninja half" to sneak up behind Death).
    • Although they do freely ignore this information if it would be more entertaining.
      Chris Hastings: My dad used to fly a jet like this one, and I asked him about what would really happen in a situation like this, but in the end, I still just went with what I thought would be coolest.
  • Freefall, while featuring a furry and a green blob alien as the protagonists, is nevertheless fairly hard sci fi, and has many references to real (well, often speculative) science and technology.
  • The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage: Many of the jokes in this steampunk Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace spoof are based directly on the writings of Babbage and Lovelace and other historical documents.
  • Goodbye Chains sticks extremely closely to the details of the American wild west. The historical notes are evidence of the effort and research put into this work.
  • Paradigm Shift is set in Chicago, where the artist lived for many years. It shows.
  • Kin in Goblins describes a Yuan-Ti mating ritual in this strip, which is based on the way garter snakes mate in real life.
  • The Whiteboard: In this July Fourth strip, take a close look at Roger's shirt. "Red legs" is the nickname for US Artillery personnel, from the red stripe along the leg of their uniform pants during the American Civil War.
  • The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal is very, very thoroughly researched. Almost every page has a corresponding list of notes on it, naming landmarks, song lyrics; right down to the brand of whisky Amal is drinking.
  • In Wapsi Square, when Paul Taylor decided to introduce a mysterious artifact on a sunken U-Boat, he actually made sure to choose a specific one for which the known details of its disappearance don't contradict the events of its disappearance in the comic. He also researched a bit of information about the interior of such subs and German WWII grenades.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court have more fine details than pages with "113" written somewhere, and does it right — all the time. To the point where fans regularly feel compelled to also do the research after the current page. Yes, this became another layer of entertainment in itself.
    one fan: New theory. Tom knows EVERYTHING.
    • One chapter spends a few pages talking about historical fencing — in particular, the style of Johannes Liechtenauer, German knight and swordmaster of the 14th century. The source material for such a reference is so obscure that many modern studies of warfare in the period fail to take it into account.
  • The author of the Hark! A Vagrant strips, Kate Beaton, has a degree in history and anthropology, and it shows, what with strips centring around Antonio José de Sucre, Mary Sidney, Georges Cuvier and others that may be completely obscure to most people.
    I was new to the greatness of Chiune when I made this, look him up.
  • The author of Era Of Errors has spent most of his life researching and learning about various fields of science and health due to numerous problems during his childhood with his own health. These elements of real-world, cutting-edge science will be frequently woven into the story, with slight exaggerations here and there for aesthetic/advancement of the storyline reasons.
  • That in The Dragon Doctors one can stop a werewolf by striking it on the head with a knife is actually true to the pre-Hollywood werewolf mythology. That said, the justification given here is an original invention.
  • Amy Stroffolino, the writer of Charby the Vampirate, is very good about researching the legends behind a lot of the mythological monsters that appear in the comics and happily works what she's learned over the years into the story. Her take on alps is the most conspicuously faithful of them all; she's even posted an infodump comic on them on her deviantART account.

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