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Carl Barks

Carl Barks (March 27, 1901 - August 25, 2000) was a famous Disney Studio[?] illustrator and comic book creator.

Barks began working for Disney Studios in 1935, a year after the debut of Donald Duck. He collaborated on such cartoons as Donald's Nephews (1938), Donald's Cousin Gus (1939), Timber (1941), The Vanishing Private (1942) and The Plastics Inventor (1944).

Frustrated by the working conditions at Disney (Barks was known to have a temperament not unlike that of Donald Duck, especially when his work was criticized) Barks quit in 1942. Shortly before quitting he had worked on a comic book story along with Jack Hannah. "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold", a story of 64 pages based on an original scenario by Bob Karp[?], first Published in October, 1942. It was the first Donald Duck story originally produced for a comic book and also the first involving Donald and his nephews in a treasure hunting expedition, in this case for the treasure of Henry Morgan. Barks would later use the treasure hunting theme in many of his stories.

After quitting the Studio Barks found work with Western Publishing which had published the previous story. Barks had originally hoped that he would be allowed to create his own characters but was immediately assigned to produce Donald Duck comics. He insisted, though, on handling both the scripts and the artwork of his stories. "The Victory Garden", a story of 10 pages first published on April, 1943 was the first of about 500 stories he would produce for Western Publishing.

Barks produced stories for the next three decades, well into his purported retirement. He surrounded Donald Duck with a cast of eccentric and colorful characters such as Scrooge McDuck - the wealthiest duck in the world, Gladstone Gander-Donald's obscenely lucky cousin, inventor Gyro Gearloose, the persistent Beagle Boys, the sorcerous Magica De Spell, and The Junior Woodchucks organization.

People who work for Disney generally do so in relative anonymity; the stories only carry Walt Disney's name and (sometimes) a short identification number. However, through the sheer quality of his work, people started realizing that a lot of the stories were written by one person, whom they started referring to as the Good Duck Artist. Later it was discovered that the Good Duck Artist went by the name of Carl Barks.

Barks' stories were humorous adventure stories with a dark, defeatist undertone. They found popularity not only among young children but adults as well. Despite the fact that Barks had done little travelling his stories took his duck characters around the globe into the most remote or magnificent of locations.

Carl Barks retired in 1966 but continued to script a number of stories for Western. He began producing oil paintings of scenes from his stories. These paintings quickly became highly sought after and their price rocketed to Barks' astonishment.

Carl Barks passed away in August 25, 2000, at the age of 99. Though he was undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia he was, according to caregiver Serene Hunickle, "funny up to the end."

Notable Stories

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