I usually do, and I know that that can become problematic in itself, people aren’t meant to be tour guides of their own identity for the benefit of white writers.
But in general, people have been amazingly generous about sharing this stuff with me and I think it’s precisely because they also want to see characters represent their backgrounds well. Books and even travel are not really enough necessarily, if you want to portray lots of different kinds of people.
I have had lovely readers helping vet characters like Alysia, Obscura, Tremor, and Katharsis (who was based on an actual person), just as examples. That’s also been the case with Alysia as a trans woman, and Vengeance Moth as a PWD.
A lot of writing books say, “write what you know,” but I think that’s the worst advice ever, the road to publishing is not equally viable for everyone, and I know from years of attending conventions that representation matters.
If I wrote only what I had experienced myself, you know, I was raised on a farm in a very isolated community. I’ve traveled a lot and met thousands of people, that helps, but a lot of the people who have helped me define backgrounds for characters share the same desire to have a diverse range of comics characters out there. I am frankly blessed to have them.
It’s not a substitute for research, you still have to do your due diligence, but it’s lovely to be able to show a script to someone where they can tell you if you have fucked up or gone astray!