DCML digest, Vol 1 #243 - 4 msgs
fumetti5 at fumetti.org
Sat Aug 26 16:00:41 CEST 2000
from the NY Times...
Filed at 11:45 p.m. EDT
By The Associated Press
GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) -- Carl Barks, the Disney illustrator credited with
giving Donald Duck his distinctive feisty and comical personality, died
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 polished
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
labor-saving 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
Barks got his start drawing one-panel ``gag strips'' for magazines when he
was in his 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 tiny 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 illustrate 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 was their fair-haired boy.''
Like every other artist in those days, Barks' name never appeared on a comic
But that anonymity ended after he retired. Comic book fans came out of the
woodwork in the 1970s with the creation of specialty shops, trade
publications and conventions.
``I was astonished by the number of 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 a daughter, Dorothy Gibson of Bremerton, Wash., four
grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and eight great-great grandchildren.
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