Ad Code: 3
from Auction House Records.
The Sport of Tycoons Painting Original Art (1974).
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Carl Barks established his reputation as a comic book artist, and the
work that ultimately won him the most distinction was done anonymously
from 1942 to 1966 when he drew and wrote the first original Donald Duck
comic book stories. Along the way, he created such characters as
Gyro Gearloose, Gladstone Gander, the Beagle Boys, and Uncle Scrooge. |
was born in Oregon, and "by the time I was sixteen, I had become pretty
well assured that I wanted to be an artist or a cartoonist." It took
him some time to realize his ambition. "I had to go out and be a
cowhand and a farmer, a muleskinner, lumberjack, anything that happened
to come along that would furnish me with a living," Barks once said.
"I'd worked in a printing ship, been a cowboy and a whole bunch of
other things, with practically no success whatever."
the late 1920s, he started to sell his cartoons to magazines such as
College Humor and Judge. His more risqué gags, featuring sexy ladies
wearing a minimum of clothing, found a home in a Minneapolis-based
magazine called The Calgary Eye-Opener, and in 1931, they offered him a
staff job. In 1935, Barks decided he wasn't earning enough and applied
for a job with the Walt Disney Company. He sent examples of his works
and was hired at the salary of $20 a week to be an in-betweener in the
Southern California animation studios.
Bark's talents as an
apprentice animator waned, but "I turned in so many gags to the comic
strip department and the story department that I was placed in the
story department on a permanent basis." After working nearly seven
years, Barks made up his mind to quit and relocated in the desert
country. Just before he left Disney he worked on a one-shot comic book
entitled Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold. Based on an abandoned movie, it
was the first original Donald Duck comic book. Later in 1942, Bakes was
hired by Dell-Western to do original, 10-plate Duck stories in Walt
Disney's Comics & Stories. His first job appeared in #31 (April
1943), and soon he was writing as well as drawing the stories.
character of Donald Duck changed as Barks began to think of him as his
own. "Instead of making just a quarrelsome little guy out of him, I
made him a sympathetic character," he once explained. "He was sometimes
a villain, often a real good guy, and at all times he was just a
blundering person like the average human being." The three nephews were
modified as well. "I broadened them like I did Donald, started out with
mischievous little guys and ended up with little scientists."
started doing full-length Duck books in 1943 as well. It was in these,
The Mummy's Ring, Frozen Gold, Volcano Valley etc., that he really
began to shine. He started doing graphic novels filled with adventure,
comedy, satire, and some of the best cartooning to be found in comics.
In 1947 came Christmas on Bear Mountain, which introduced Barks' major
creation, Uncle Scrooge.
Barks' forte was the mock adventure
tale; he put his ducks into handsomely rendered locales where they
could experience every sort of action, intrigue, fantasy, and mystery
situation. He built his settings carefully, often using such reference
sources as The National Geographic magazine. He drew his characters so
well, in every kind of situation, that they became close to real. The
Barks dialogue was just about the best to be found in a kid's comic
book, equaled only by that of Walt Kelly. He was especially good at the
invective sprouted by the avaricious, and short-tempered, Uncle
Scrooge. The current, successfully animated television show, Duck
Tales, owes much to ideas and approaches done earlier, and usually much
better, by Barks.
Barks retired at the age of 65 to devote
himself to painting. As his identity became known, he became the object
of increasing attention in both fan circles and in mainstream
publications. His entire output on the Ducks, as well as his work
on other characters such as Mickey Mouse and Barney Bear, has been
reprinted. Since Barks did all of it as a worker-for-hire, he did not
become rich, but he has most certainly grown famous.
on the biography above is based on writings from the book, "The
Encyclopedia of American Comics," edited by Ron Goulart.)
|This biography from the Archives of AskART:|
|Born in Merrill, OR on March 27, 1901. Barks went to work in 1935 at Disney Studios where he brought to life the many Disney characters. In 1942 he joined Western Comics and created the first Donald Duck comic book along with Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey and Louie. After retirement in 1966, he began capturing the Duck family in oil paintings. In 1993 Diamond Comics awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award. He died in Grants Pass, OR on Aug. 25, 2000.|
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Interview with the artist or his/her family; NY Times, 8-26-2000 (obituary).
|Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.|
|** If you discover credit omissions or have additional information to add, please let us know at registrar@AskART.com.|
Carl Barks is also mentioned in these AskART essays: