Barks and the War of the Comico
Geir.Hasnes at DELAB.SINTEF.no
Fri Sep 3 12:29:37 CEST 1993
> I suppose that all ANY of us can do!... well, I'll **try** as
>well and maybe WE should also wait and see what happens!! (UNLESS,
>Geir Hasnes knows anything the rest of *us* MIGHT NOT!)
>Wilmer> Maybe he doesn't have it in for you in particular, but just
>Wilmer> for anyone who might siphon off some of the glory and/or
Hello out there, I have been so busy recently I havent had time to comment
on the topics, but I have ftp-ed all the old digests and plan to go through
Re Barks and his new direction:
I talk now and then with Geoffrey Blum, who has had running contact with
Barks the last few years. Barks got more and more tired with Gladstone and
Another Rainbow, thats why he stopped doing the covers for the Barks
Library. He was burnt-out, that is true. However, we have to know a few
things to understand what is going on now:
- Barks has children from previous marriages, and these again have
children. He has built up a fund for them for one or another reason. One
reason may be that one daughter of him died while her children were small.
I dont know the full story.
- Barks was in severe debt after the breakdown of the second marriage. He
has had to work hard just to keep with that.
- Barks built up a fund for Gare so that if he died, she would be
financially safe until she died.
* These three activities were the rational basis of his continued work,
when he chose to continue after he had retired.
* Barks was very well paid at Western. In fact he earned very much when
calculated into what it would be worth today. He never travelled and used
little money on himself: consequently it is a mystery where the money went,
apart from for his children and grandchildren and debt and funds.
- Barks did not consciously think about what his work was worth until the
activity in the 70s.
- He felt very annoyed when he saw how Disney earned money on the reprints
and he didnt.
- He has many times said he felt that he was used by Disney, and is
consequently angered and bitter.
- The fans of course cheated Barks when they bought original art from him
just to sell for ten times as much the next day. Barks began to understand
that the art had a value, so he began selling it himself for market value.
- According to Blum, Barks is that sort of guy who cannot understand the
sentiments of the people who love his stories. He is not able to understand
why they love his work so much. But he is aware of his own standard of
work. He writes nice letters to people in response to them, because he
feels it is his duty, but he will not keep his temper to people who know
him, like Blum.
- On the other hand, Barks can relate to the people who buy and sell his
art, because he can understand them.
* I think we can say that Barks has an understanding of the financial value
of the stories and characters, but not of the sentimental value of it.
- Barks has many times been very clear about what he means about the
articles in the Barks Library. He calls it leftist quasiintellectual
rubbish when they speculate. He calls it an attack on his artistic freedom
when his sources are shown, like the articles from National Geographic. He
doesnt like anyone building theories upon his stories, and he doesnt like
anyone obviously earning money and reputation on _his_ work.
- The first one to annoy Barks in that respect is Don Rosa. Geoffrey Blum
has managed to steer clear of his anger, but it hasnt always been easy. Don
is the first one to have a reputation actually built on Barkses own work.
* Gladstone / Another Rainbow gave him a huge royalty on the library and
books and comics even though they didnt have to. Because they had to pay
that to Disney too, who had the rights to the material. Even though Bruce
Hamilton is a money-grabbing guy, he has done more to ensure Barks in his
old age than anyone else. He has not always had to pay him when they resold
his paintings, he could in some states have got away with that, but he did
- Barks now turns away from Hamilton simply in order to make more money.
- He also attacks Rosa because Rosa drains money out of Barkses creation.
- He did not do this before Gare died. Barks cared very much for Gare.
- Barks is 92 years old.
- Barks wanted to live alone, away from Disney. According to Blum, he has
depicted himself as the old,long-lived oriental in US 71 who has gone
searching for King Scrooges ancestors for two thousand years at least. Blum
has painted a terrible picture of Barkses relation to Disney, I have
transcribed a huge interview with Blum on these things, actually 3 taped
hours, but I can never print it as long as Blum does Disney things, it was
a pick behind the scenes to an unheard degree. Barks is tired, old and
hates Disney and all that. Read Blums article in Barks Library set V about
* We need to see that Barks is in fact a bit like the bitter side of
Scrooge. He feel that the only thing they cant take from him, his whole
foundation, is that he and he alone created the Duckburg universe. And he
feel that if anyone else earns money on it, he should be the first one to
* My theory is that he wouldnt do so much about it as long as Gare lived,
but now that she is away, he concentrates about obtaining money and fame.
Not that he waited to do it, but now it is the only thing he has left to
* And I think that no matter how much he is paid, he will not be satisfied.
* And no matter how much you tell him you love his stories, he will not
* Dont you see that this is the same thing as I said some digests ago, that
to use the characters of Barks in such a way, digging up his sources and
making more out of it, is like stealing money from Scrooge. You are
stealing his life, his memories, taking his clothes off him, letting him
stand there naked. There is more to Barkses stories than meets the eye at
first sight. Barks had an unconscious but deep understanding of human
relationships that made him do these brilliant stories. Now he acts out
what he himself told.
* The only thing we can do is to continue to love Barks, and not do
anything about his attacks and feverish attempts to direct money and fame
to him. He doesnt do it for his own sake, he does it simply because Bruce
and Don has earned money and fame on _his_ creation. If Bruce and Don
werent there, he would have lived in peace and quiet. If Don hadnt gone to
Scandinavia, Barks never would have thought of it. He does it to tell
people that it is _him_ that is the one to look up to, it is him who should
* We can continue to tell him that we love him and his creation and nothing
he does now can take away the impression that he once was the greatest
storyteller of our youth and that he is a part of 20th century literature
for all time.
* And let us for Gods sake not attack him. He has not got many years left
to live. He will probably never understand our love. He panicks about, to
grab money just as Scrooge when the money floats away from him. Let us view
that as the pitiful reaction of an old man who has been exploited most of
his life and didnt understand it until recently that something could be
done with it.
* Have mercy with him.
More information about the DCML