"I always felt myself to be an unlucky person like Donald, who is a victim of so many circumstances. But there isn't a person in the United States who couldn't identify with him. He is everything, he is everybody; he makes the same mistakes that we all make."Carl Barks
(1901-2000) was a Disney
writer and artist who made comics set in the Disney Ducks Comic Universe
from 1942 to 1966. He was known as the Good Duck Artist
by the readers for much of this time due to a Disney company rule which forbade the comic authors' names from being featured in their magazines.
Barks is renowned for creating characters such as Scrooge McDuck, Gladstone Gander, Gyro Gearloose, the Beagle Boys, Flinthart Glomgold, Magica De Spell, and many others, as well as setting in stone the base geography of the city of Duckburg. His stories brought in the treasure hunt plot to Duck comics and inspired a generation of people (such as George Lucas
, Steven Spielberg
, Osamu Tezuka
, Don Rosa
and the writers of DuckTales
) to replicate the thrill of adventure. He's also responsible for expanding Donald Duck's personality beyond his usual one-note characterization in the Classic Disney Shorts
; reaching levels that were never rivaled in the animated appearances of the character.
After retiring, Barks took up painting (as seen in the page image). First his paintings were unrelated to his comic career, but later he began recreating scenes from Duck stories in paint. One completely original scene led to him writing one more story in retirement, which was drawn by William Van Horn, a younger Duck artist.
If you've been interested in reading his stories, there's good news for you:Fantagraphics books has been in the process of republishing all of his old Donald Duck stories over a 30 volume series of books in the upcoming years, with two volumes a year!
Not to be confused with a dog
themed Punny Name
version of Karl Marx
- Adaptational Villainy: People who have read stories featuring John Rockerduck but never read the only Barks story where he appeared will be surprised to learn he was by no means portrayed as a villain in that story.
- Artistic License - Economics: Averted in two occasions.
- Atop a Mountain of Corpses: Non-lethal variant, of course. Let's just say Scrooge can kick butt.
- Bamboo Technology
- Bleached Underpants: Before Barks started his Disney career. In the 1920's he began his career at a racy men's magazine called the "Calgary Eye-Opener" a racy men's cartoon magazine of the era. During his retirement, he would constantly draw or paint erotic pictures of women or men with Duck Faces.
- Breakout Character: Scrooge McDuck.
- Bungling Inventor: Gyro Gearloose.
- Chaste Toons
- Cold Cash
- Comic-Book Time
- Contrived Coincidence: Invaribly accompanied by someone (frequently the nephews) exclaiming, "What a break!"
- Cool Old Guy: Scrooge all the way.
- Creepy Twins: The Nephews at times.
- Durable Deathtrap
- Early Installment Weirdness:
- Scrooge living in a mansion, his money being stored in a bankhouse instead of the money bin
- In its first appearance Scrooge doesn't hold his Number One Dime in particularly high esteem - when he decides to change all his coins into banknotes, the dime is spared because he kept it in his pocket, but he apparently wouldn't have cared had it been changed too - unthinkable in later stories.
- E = MC Hammer
- Escaped Animal Rampage: One Carl Barks comic strip had Donald Duck walking around with a necklace that brings good luck. When he hears that a dangerous gorilla escaped he decides to turn the giant ape in, believing that he will be prevented by his lucky device. Of course, it doesn't work.
- Executive Meddling: Barks' comics often suffered from this. Several stories that were considered inappropiate were censored or just thrown out entirely, others were cut down to make room for adverts. Some material is most likely Lost Forever.
- Fiction 500
- Furry Confusion: Barks actually points it out in one panel.
- Get Thee to a Nunnery: "the only live one I ever knew"
- Golden Snitch
- Good Is Not Nice
- Hive Mind: The Nephews at times.
- Hollywood Mirage
- Identical Grandson
- Incredible Shrinking Man
- Island Help Message
- Jerkass: Gladstone Gander
- The Last Straw
- Lemony Narrator: There was a surprising amount of snark in the narration boxes: "No more trouble? Ho ho! That's what you think, Donald!"
- Magic Hat
- Money Fetish: Scrooge swims in it.
- Mr. Vice Guy: Scrooge used to be the Trope Namer.
- Narrating the Obvious
- Noodle Incident: Scrooge keeps on littering them around, referring to his adventurous past.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Everyone, but most notably the nephews.
- Our Founder: Cornelius Coot.
- The Professor: Gyro Gearloose
- Scooby-Doo Hoax
- Shiny New Australia: In "The Golden Helmet", the eponymous helmet was proof an ancient viking named Olaf the Blue was the true owner of North America, theorically allowing any (alleged) descendant of his to use it to take over the continente. When Donald Duck got the helmet, an attorney offered to help Donald and wanted Canada as his legal fees.
- Shoot Out the Lock
- Shown Their Work: Barks was very well known for doing his homework on whatever subject his stories involved.
- Take That: Barks really didn't seem to like all the silly quiz-shows that were popular at the time, and he mocked them a lot in stories like Voodoo Hoodoo, The Crazy Quiz Show, The Talking Dog, Land Beneath The Ground or The Colossalest Surprise Quiz Show, often pointing out how easy it was to answer the questions even for a complete idiot.
- In The Crazy Quiz Show in particular, the host of the quiz is portrayed in a slightly cruel light, giving insanely impossible quiz questions to professional prize-grabbers (like "What is Mickey Mouse's social security number?"), and giving silly punishments and pranks for answering wrong or trying to coach other contestants.
- One Donald ten-pager involved his being influenced by a quack psychologist named "Dr. Pulpheart Clabberhead," who believed any form of punishment administered to children was cruel. Clabberhead was a very thinly veiled parody of Dr. Spock, whose child-rearing books were popular at the time. The nephews used Donald's new softhearted philosophy to get away with everything and drive him nuts. Eventually they decided to light a stick of dynamite under Clabberhead's chair, causing the "doctor" to break his own doctrine by chasing them with a stick.
- Tangled Family Tree: Barks technically created most of the characters in it, but it was compiled for the masses to see by Rosa.
- Treasure Map
- Vague Age
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Barks started portraying the Nephews like this and invented the Jr. Woodchucks.
- Written Sound Effect