I think the crowning example of not doing your research probably remains the classic Superman/Wonder Woman Annual #2 from a couple of years ago.
I love this one:
I don’t mind ridiculously inaccurate - I think I remember reading an early Bloodshot where Beefeaters greeted everyone getting off the plane
What about the continuing use of Doc Samson as though he were alive?
Oh, I care less about in-continuity fictional stuff. It’s much more jarring when something’s pretending to reflect the real world, but doing it really badly.
But it’s not that hard to do some simple research. I know it’s not a recent thing – in the 70s, Marvel characters would come to London and it would be hilarious – but these days it takes five seconds to type “British police cars” into Google and get this:
Edit: as Gar already said
Do the majority of British police actually drive Jaguars?
You can see the problems even with a Google image search. I mean you could insist that Italian police cars look like this.
…or American ones look like this.
I know what you’re thinking Ronnie…but I think it’s a bit too late for us to secede back to the Motherland.
All the cool ones do
I’d like to think it is setting the right bar.
Others do it too, in the days before the internet Chris Claremont used to film places on his camcorder as he travelled the US and the globe for signings and conventions and sent videos to his artists as reference.
My bet would be that car is from the Coventry area.
I take offense at that last one.
When is Speed Racer going to commit a crime?
You know he’s just using those worldwide races to smuggle cocaine around the globe, right? That’s an Ariel Atom by the way and is a super sweet ride.
My point is that this sort of thing isn’t uncommon in comics (or other media for that matter). The only time it’s particularly bothering is when someone gets something we know well so wrong. At least there wasn’t some negative stereotype associated.
One of the things I liked about Paul Cornell and Leonard Kirk’s Captain Britain series is that it tried to get a lot of those little details right.
Of course, that arc was called “Hell Comes To Birmingham” so it was pretty much a documentary.
(The story was particularly amusing for me as I know Hodge Hill very well, I have family that live and worked near there.)
Is it really working hard to get it right when it’s a place just down the road from where you live and grew up? I’m sure Cornell was very specific with Kirk about what he wanted.
That’s what I mean though. Kirk is Canadian, but it sounds like he worked hard on making the visuals as authentically British as possible (with Cornell’s assistance, I’m sure).
I wonder if there are clangers the other way round, for US readers - do you ever read books by British authors, and think that a word or phrase sounds out of place? Or by British artists that get important details wrong about US life?
(I guess that in American comics that kind of stuff is more likely to be caught in the editorial process, though, if the books have American editors.)
Sometimes the spelling is more European. With the added "u"s and everything.
Details about US life though? I think that we’ve put as much out there into the pop cultural cosmos.
The problems with the US are generally regional and assuming the US is either homogeneous or that stereotypes about certain parts are true. I can’t think of examples of this one off the top of my head. It would be less noticeable to someone from a large city as they are better documented in TV and film.
Like I said earlier, the one that always shocks me about British artists is the lack of understand of how bullets work.