DCML digest, Vol 1 #560 - 17 msgs

john garvin jgarvin at bendcable.com
Sun Jun 10 06:53:54 CEST 2001

Georges wrote:

>In my humble opinion, you're wrong. As Barks himself
said in an interview conducted by Geoffrey Blum, his
comic book stories are the work he will be most
remembered of ("definitely"). That is also my opinion.
I have nothing against the paintings except that they
are too much sophisticated and "lêchées" for me. In
Barks' oils, I don't see the poetry I see in Barks'
comic book stories.<

Well, actually, I'm not wrong.

For one thing, what any given creator "thinks" he or she might be remembered for, often, in historical
terms, has little to do with what they are in fact, remembered for.  Doyle, for instance, wanted to be
remembered for his historical works, and not his "hack work" in Sherlock Holmes.  Likewise, J.R.R.
Tolkein wanted most to be remembered for his literature and scholarly works and translations, not his
Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Barks's opinion as to his own lasting worth holds little weight in the test
of time.

For another thing, the Barks paintings which I think have the greatest value, are not the duck paintings
done as lithographs in the late 80s and early 90s, but are his other anthropomorphic oils and
watercolors, many of which have been collected in Animal Quackers.  There you will find the biting satire
and irreverant humor of Barks's best comics period (the mid to late 40s), the hallmark of Bark's best

What Barks's best paintings represent, like his most memorable stories, is the visualization of specific
parts of pop culture, turned against itself.  Specific and detailed characters and places, which make fun
of their couterparts in a non-anthropomorphic reality.  Subversive and satiric.  Humorous, and sometimes
painful.  Barks work was never about being poetic.  It was about laughing until you saw what he was
making fun of.  Most of todays critics and creators don't get it.  I pity them.

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