Dan Shane danshane at
Fri Jun 15 14:55:40 CEST 2001


> Some have jumped at the chance to
> ally
> themselves with John.>


> I'm not part of any anti-Rosa alliance,


That was a poor word choice on my part.  I should have said that some
eagerly leapt to John's defense.  My swift fingers and slow brains are a
poor match.  Sorry.  I did go on to say that I applauded the spirit behind
the messages that agreed with John, as his arguments were worthy of such


> As to Barks paintings, you _made_ a declaration as to their quality: you
> said that the paintings would not stand up on their own.  Hopefully, I
> have shown at least one example of where they do.  If you want to
> continue the discussion, you would show where or how my reasoning or
> examples are wrong, and give examples as to how your assertion is
> correct.  That is how reasoned discussions work.


I made my assertion boldly and too briefly, and for that reason contributed
to the misunderstanding of my intent.  I should have been more careful.
When I stated that the paintings require knowledge of the characters and
stories to have real meaning, it was from the viewpoint of someone who read
the stories as a child in the 50's and 60's and came to the paintings much
later.  I had also not yet read John's impassioned explanation of his
history with Barks that showed he came at Carl's work in the completely
opposite direction.  Once again, my impatience served me ill.

I still maintain that knowing who the Ducks are and why they are "looting
treasure" (John's words from a past message) adds immeasurably to the
painting that John offered as an example.  Who is that goofy-scary birdwoman
descending on the Ducks?  Why are they in that ruin in the first place?  I
recognize Donald Duck instantly, but who's that whiskered guy with the
glasses?  Wasn't he in some cartoon show my kids used to watch?  Oh yeah,
he's the younger ducks' grandpa or something, isn't he?  Believe me, I've
walked into many a Disney Store asking for Scrooge items and met with a
blank stare and a reply of, "This isn't a Christmas store."  Once that
happened right under a life-size figure of Scrooge suspended from the
ceiling.  Not everyone knows who the old gentleman is.  But people who grew
up on the stories know him like he was their own uncle.

I've said before that I cannot with any authority debate the artistic merit
of Barks' paintings.  I'll say it again.  I've also said I like the
paintings.  I'll go one better now -- I like them *a lot*.  The style, the
colors, the humor all seem perfect to my untrained eye.  But that eye had
also read dozens of Duck stories before ever seeing a beautifully rendered,
nearly 3-D Duck.  The first painting I saw immediately immersed me in a wave
of nostalgia for the great story *behind* the painting.  From my
perspective, it would be impossible to divorce the single image from the
story that inspired it.  Later, I would see paintings that did not evolve
from a single story, such as those inside the Money Bin.  But the Money Bin
itself is a character from Barks' stories.  (I know that very well, having
recently completed the architectural drawings for that "character".)  I have
a print of the Ducks in the Bin vault hanging on my wall.  (Not Barks, but
very nice.  I cannot afford a Barks version.)

Will Barks' paintings stand the test of time, or will it be the stories that
are still around years from now?  Or both?  We'll have to wait and see.
Which will Carl be best remembered for?  Will he be remembered at all when
my kids have kids of their own?  Time will tell.  Either way, the paintings
and the stories both are testimony to The Good Artist.  For me and many
others, the stories mean more because they transported us to other worlds
while we sat in our armchairs (much the way my beloved View-Master reels
did -- but that's another story, boys and girls).  Oh no, they can't take
that away from me.

Much too lengthy,

Dan Shane
(danshane at

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