Carl Barks in Sweden
deckerd at agcs.com
Tue Sep 20 23:15:33 CEST 1994
Although I've been pretty much a lurker in this group, I was recently
sent a Swedish newspaper clipping that I thought I'd translate and
post here. It probably doesn't tell you anything you don't already
know, but what the heck...it might be interesting. It's from the
June 19, 1994 issue of the Stockholm "Aftonbladet":
DONALD DUCK'S 93-YEAR-OLD FATHER IS IN TOWN
by Johann Brannstrom
Do you think Donald Duck is in amazingly good shape for being
60 years old?
You should see his father.
"I'm a little hard of hearing, but I've been that way since
1916," says Carl Barks, 93: the master of the comic strip.
He held court yesterday at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm.
This is the first time that the legendary artists has ever
been outside of his homeland in the USA. But now, at the age
of 93 (!), he is on a European tour, where he has been met by
a press reception worthy of a rock star.
"I always wanted to travel, but I could simply never afford
it -- or else I was too busy," is how he explains it.
"But I'm utterly astounded by my reception. I had no idea
that comics were such a large part of the culture here."
BARKS GREATEST OF THEM ALL
And if comics are a large part of the culture, Carl Barks is
the greatest when it comes to comics. (There's a pun here that
isn't coming across. The same word in Swedish -- stor -- covers
both "large" and "great".--DRD)
A proof of that was the Adamsson Award statuette that he
received yesterday from the Swedish Comics Academy "for creating
some of the best comics adventures ever."
Actually, he did not create Donald Duck. But it was Carl Barks
who gave the duck his character and temperament, starting with when
he began as a talented young artist at Disney Studios in 1936.
"I have been asked how much of Donald Duck's character is my
own. The answer is: I don't know. Maybe I did give him a part of
myself, but if I did it was subconsciously."
Since then, he has drawn 6300 pages of Donald Duck adventures.
He also single-handedly created such characters as Scrooge
McDuck, Gyro Gearloose, and Gladstone Gander.
MAKES COMEBACK AS 93-YEAR-OLD
He retired in 1973 -- and began to produce oil paintings using
Disney characters. The most recent sold for $200,000. Now he has
promised to make a comeback and write a new Donald Duck adventure,
his first in 25 years. You will be able to read it in October.
"My dream is for Donald Duck and my other characters to live
With the article was a color photo of Barks standing in a hotel
lobby with somebody wearing a Donald Duck suit. The caption read:
CARL AND DONALD. Master comic artist Carl Barks, 93, is traveling
outside of his American homeland for the first time. Yesterday he
came to Sweden and held court for a press reception large enough
to be worthy of any rock star one can think of. Donald Duck's
father received an Adamsson Award statuette from the Swedish
Okay, okay, the translation's a little rough. If I really wanted to
polish it, I'd change that photo caption intro to something like
"Duck and Duck Man" to preserve the alliteration of the original
("Carl och Kalle" -- Donald Duck in Swedish is Kalle Anka), and
maybe fix some of the errors. I believe Barks retired in 1966 from
full-time funnybook work, though I don't recall just when he did
his last Junior Woodchucks script (which might be where the 1973
date comes from). While one of his paintings did change hands
recently for $200,000, he hasn't done any new ones for quite some
time (or am I misinformed?). Oh well, this should give you the
I was in Copenhagen last November and had dinner with some of
the local comics people. Freddy Milton brought along a copy of
what was then the proposed itinerary for Barks's upcoming Euro-
tour and showed it to us. Evidently, Barks's agent had sent the
itinerary out to a number of people for advice and comment, and
in the course of things Freddy had gotten a copy. We were all
amazed because the schedule then proposed was murderously packed
with events -- it would have killed me, and Barks is more than
twice my age. The agent was only allowing a day to recover from
jet lag, for example, which made me guffaw in disbelief when I
saw it, because I was suffering severely from it right then. The
way I heard it later, the agent had put out the schedule as a
tentative proposal to find out what was actually feasible, with
every intention of cutting it down; Barks himself supposedly cut
it to a third. Still...Barks is in amazing shape for 93. If I
live that long, I'd like to be still upright and making European
--Dwight R. Decker
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