Throwing Barks art out of a window / newly-wed Murphys (WDC 140)

Daniel van Eijmeren dve at
Thu Sep 4 04:03:58 CEST 2003

It isn't just The Carl Barks Library giving me sleepness nights. 
Donald Ault's book "Carl Barks Conversations" is guilty, too! :-)

In my latest email, I though I was funny by ending with a reference to 
a Barks story in which the newly-wed Murphys are fighting again, the 
story of Gladstone's mystery (WDC 140), where Gladstone walks past a 
window and hears the following dialogue: "You're three minutes late 
for lunch! Just for that I'm going to throw the whole meal out of the 

This reminded me of some information from a Barks interview by Donald 
and Lynda Ault, conducted on 13-14 June 1997:

DA: Do I remember correctly that you said that your second wife 
[Clara Balken] used to tear up your comic books or something?
CD: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, well, she started out doing my blacking, solid 
blacks, and even ink the borders around the panels.

DA: Your second wife did this?
CB: Yeah, she did that for a while. And she had a--she came from a 
family that had a long record of alcoholism. And she just loved the 
taste of liquor. And so she kept drinking more and more, and finally 
she just got to the point that she was hostile and half crazy. And she 
would tear up my comic books and my drawings if I didn't get them out 
of sight. I had to just be walking on eggshells around her because you 
never knew what time she would start being hostile and want to tear 
something up.

DA: So she actually did tear up some of your pages?
CB: Yes, well, I can't remember of her ever tearing up a finished one 
that had all been inked and everything, but she did tear up one or two 
that were just in the beginning stages, the pencil sketches. But she did 
take one of my whole 10-pages stories after I'd practically finished it 
and threw it outside. Thank God it was not muddy or wet out there--they 
all landed in the dirt.

DA: About what year was this?
CB: It was around the late 1940s.

Source: Donald Ault - Carl Barks Conversations, page 181 and 182. In the 
book, the above mentioned part continues with Ault and Barks talking about 
a connection between this and Barks's most experimental stories of that 
time, but that's another matter. I'm getting tired of typing. :-) I hope 
I didn't make any typos, by the way. (ALWAYS BEWARE OF THAT!)
To my (sleepy) eyes, the fighting newly-wed Murphys scene in WDC 140 looks 
like an autobiographical reference to the above described events. 
Mrs. Murphy threw out a whole meal.
Clara threw out a whole 10-pager.

According to Donald Ault's chronology in "Carl Barks Conversations", 
Barks's second marriage began in 1938, broke up in 1950-1951, and the 
divorce was declared final in December 1951.
The story with the fighting Murphys was accepted on 23 August 1951.

There are instances of (possible) autobiographical references to this
second marriage and divorce. For example, "The Golden Helmet" with the 
annoying lawyer was accepted on 3 December 1951, around the time of 
the divorce.

Barks also has portayed some rather mean, unreasonable and agressive 
women in (mostly) his 1940s and early-1950s stories. Maybe these women 
also were inspired by the circumstances of the second marriage?

In fact, are there *any* kind, warm, reasonable women in Barks's stories 
of the 1940s and early-1950s? That would be quite quiz for me! At the 
moment, I can only think of Grandma Duck.

Two notes:

- This email is about Barks's *second* wife, not to be confused with his
third (and last) wife Garé Barks. This marriage lasted until Garé's death 
in 1993.

- Clara Balken died in 1964(?). According to Barks, "it was alcohol that 
killed her and it took 13 years to do it." (All those years Barks paid 
$250 a month alimony, "and she used it to buy more booze. Eventually she 
just died of cirrhosis of the liver.")

Guess from which interview, and interview book I took that quote. 
Do I really need to say it again? :-)

--- Daniël the Spam-Spam-Spammer

P.S. All jokes aside. This email is fully my own initiave and opinion.
I'm really so favourable of Ault's book "Carl Barks Conversations".
And also, the more people who buy it, the more likely new books about 
Barks will be written and published. So, yes, BUY this darned book, 
and have some sleepness Barks-nights, too! :-)

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