ABC/Disney news release

Gary Pantzer gpantzer at
Sat Aug 26 15:57:09 CEST 2000

Here is what was posted on the ABC news web site about
Carl Barks. (ABC is owned by Disney).

 GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) _ Carl Barks, the Disney illustrator credited
 with giving Donald Duck his distinctive feisty and comical personality,
 Friday at the age of 99. He had been receiving chemotherapy for leukemia,
but "was funny up to the end," said his caregiver, Serene Hunicke. Barks
drew Donald Duck for Walt Disney Studios from 1935 until 1942, and
continued afterward as the creative genius behind the Donald Duck universe.
 Although other animators had a hand in the duck"s activities, Barks
up Donald, rounding him out and shortening his beak, and gave him a
personality that was more jolly, though still spiked with that trademark
Barks" early writing credits included the 1937 Donald Duck short, "Modern
 Inventions," in which Donald runs into trouble at an exhibit of
devices, including a robot butler. In 1942, he turned from cartoons to
illustrating comic strips and books. He gave Donald a hometown _ Duckburg _
populated by such characters as Uncle Scrooge McDuck, Gladstone Gander,
 the Beagle Boys and Gyro Gearloose, and he is credited with giving Huey,
Dewey and Louie _ Donald"s nephews _ their distinctive personalities. Barks
got his start drawing one-panel "gag strips" for magazines when he was in
20s and 30s, but the job lost its allure. "I was thinking then that I"d like
to do
comics with whole stories," Barks recalled in a 1994 interview. "You know,
 like Prince Valiant; stuff with continuity, not single, one-shot gags all
the time."
In 1935, he saw an ad for cartoonists to work for Walt Disney Studios in
 Hollywood. Leaving a steady paycheck in Minnesota, he packed his bag and
decided to take a stab at animation. He quickly advanced from drawing the
details between the characters and the main background to primary character
artist, and his handiwork could be seen in more than 60 short subjects, many
 featuring Donald Duck. When Western Publishing gained the rights in 1942
to publish Walt Disney characters in comic books, Barks was asked to
 a 10-page Donald Duck story written by someone else. "The story just didn"t
 seem to hang together," Barks recalled. "I made some changes. Western kind
of liked it and asked me if I wanted to do my own stories. From there on, I
 their fair-haired boy." Like every other artist in those days, Barks" name
appeared on a comic book. But that anonymity ended after he retired. Comic
book fans came out of the woodwork in the 1970s with the creation of
shops, trade publications and conventions. "I was astonished by the number
people who"d read my work and liked it," Barks once said. "These comic book
 fans seem to want to shake the hand of the guy who drew all that stuff.
It"s still
mystifying to me." Barks stopped drawing in 1966, but continued writing duck
tales until his retirement in 1973. He painted Disney figures in oil at his
home in
Grants Pass until he contracted leukemia 13 months ago. Barks is survived by
daughter, Dorothy Gibson of Bremerton, Wash., four grandchildren, six great-
grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren.

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