What Would You Ask Don Rosa? OR Carl Barks?

Cato Elder cato at rock.com
Thu Sep 29 00:45:02 CEST 2011

Many thanks to Matt Yacklin for his letter!

Matt Yacklin asked whether the works are not more important than the man
(or woman) behind them.

In that context I think of composer Richard Wagner a self-centered,
ungrateful, adulterous proto-Nazi, who created, however, some of the
world's most wonderful music in the operas The Flying Dutchman, Tristan
und Isolde, Der Ring der Nibelungen, etc.

As a person Wagner seems to have been fairly dreadful, although one
assumes that he was at least occasionally lovable, gracious, and
considerate, or perhaps even a majority of the time.  But his dreadful
moments - anti-Semitic outbursts, womanizing, etc. - evince a very dark

And yet...do we destroy his music because he could be a dreadful person? 

And more to the point: do we have any greater enjoyment and understanding
of his music, if we know his biography?

This could vary from person to person, but I think for the enjoyment of a
work, no, knowing the biography is not necessary.  For understanding a
work, yes, the author's life story can shine light on certain things in
the work, e.g. reading that Thomas Mann seems to have been a bi-sexual
explains many things in works such as Death In Venice, The Magic
Mountain, and Doctor Faust.

I have an impression that Don Rosa does not suffer fools gladly and can
be rather impatient at times with people: is that why he was attracted to
the world of rather irascible ducks?  Carl Barks might have had similar
traits: how much of Uncle Scrooge is Carl Barks?

Would I want to ask them such a personal question?  [IMAGE]

The answer (for me) is irrelevant: to enjoy their creation of The
Duckburg Universe I only need the stories!

Best Wishes!

L. Schulte

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