Barks' European popularity - an anecdote

Owen Heitmann owenheitmann at
Mon Jun 25 01:31:53 CEST 2001

To all non-Europeans,

I guess you’ve all heard stories of how popular Carl Barks and Donald Duck 
are in many European countries. But how many of you have wondered if what we 
hear isn’t slightly exaggerated? I mean, obviously they’re a lot more 
popular than in America (or Australia for that matter, which is where I’m 
writing from). But front page news? Carl Barks a household name? I must 
admit that although I wanted to believe, I couldn’t help but be a bit 
sceptical. After all, as fans, anyone on this list is bound to be at least 
slightly biased.

Well, here comes my point (yes, I do have one). I was at a party thrown by 
one of my University friends (in Adelaide, South Australia) on the weekend, 
and one of the people there was a Norwegian exchange student. After a couple 
of drinks, it suddenly occurred to me that this was a prime chance to test 
the Ducks’ real popularity. The exchange student (who was around 21 years 
old) was about as close to a totally random Norwegian as I’m likely to 
encounter. Also, as a friend of a friend of a friend, the chance of him 
being a comic book geek like myself shouldn’t have been any higher than 
normal. So I walked up to him and asked directly (to avoid the possibility 
of any leading questions contaminating the experiment) “Do you know who Carl 
Barks is?”

He looked at me, his eyes widened, and then with a big smile he said, “Oh, 
you read the Disney ducks? You know Don Rosa?”

I couldn’t believe it. The legends were true! My jaw just about hit the 

Sure, it’s not exactly the most scientific survey in the world, but it’s 
convinced me. Just something I thought I’d share.


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