Backderf Talks Research, Creativity & Kent State

One of the feature panels at last weekend’s MoCCA Art Fest was Derf Backderf discussing researching his non-fiction graphic novel Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio.

Research was the reigning topic of discussion during the talk. The Kent State shooting carries such an overwhelming amount of trauma, politics, culture, and activistic identity in its narrative that getting the events down on paper right required nothing less than a rigorous investigative approach. Backderf’s journalism experience came to the fore here, informing the audience on his decision to dive into every resource available with the urgency of a journalist that’s hungry for a story.

But there comes a time to stop the researching and start the creating.

The digital archives and collections, Backderf emphasized, force upon researchers the need for discipline. There comes a point where one has to draw a line and trust that enough research was done to put into a comics script and move on.

Ricardo Serrano Denis, at Comics Beat, covers the Backderf presentation.