Wilmer Rivers rivers at seismo.CSS.GOV
Tue Aug 31 16:58:17 CEST 1993

Don Rosa writes:
> In the meantime, folks can help me not be paranoid.
Well, I can **try**, but probably at least some paranoia on your part is
justifiable.  Maybe the balance is misinterpretation (to give Barks the
benefit of the doubt).

> You recall how Barks snubbed me in Atlanta.
Boorish behavior on his part, even if he doesn't like your work.  Still,
maybe he's just a crank in general, so perhaps you shouldn't take his
rudeness as being directed exclusively at you.  If it seems to be
directed **primarily** at you, this is probably because he does see
you as something of a rival.  If this is true, and if he does snub his
perceived "rivals" in this manner, then it is Barks who is paranoid.

> There's something afoot now that he has some "agents" managing his
> affairs now that his wife is no longer around to control him. You saw
> how he's decided to write a new story and have Van Horn draw it.
This should present no problem for you, any more than do the duck
stories created by other writer/artist teams, unless he uses the
opportunity to undermine some of your own stories.  Even then, however,
you have made the point that the "modern" stories are not meant to have
continuity with one another, so that possibility too ought not give
you grounds for concern.  (But if he does go out of his way to slam
you in the new story, for instance by having Scrooge want to return to
Tra La La because he has been there only once, then your concern about
Barks would certainly be proven.)

> Now, a few weeks after a large article appeared in CBG which told, in
> part, of my popularity in Scandanavia, his agent has contacted Egmont
> and told them that Barks wants to visit Scandanavia for a tour (and
> wants to be paid, etc.).
In the article, you very graciously pointed out that the Scandanavians
have a great fondness for the Barks ducks, as distinct from the Disney
ducks.  Maybe Barks just wants to cash in on his own popularity now
that you have pointed out to him the extent of the market there.  Of
course, he does so by exploiting you to some extent, since certainly
your own stories have helped keep the duck market alive there.  Still,
his motives in scheduling this tour are more likely greed than hostility
towards you.

> This on top of the things he's said about me to foreign magazines.
I don't know what these things are, so I can't comment on whether you
should be paranoid about them.  If he really just doesn't like your
work, then it is certainly understandable that he should say so.  Have
you never dismissed other duck artists' work in interviews?  Or are his
comments more nearly ad hominem attacks rather than artistic differ-
ences?  (It should also be noted that in some interviews you have
**praised** the work of certain other duck artists - has Barks ever
done that?  Does he actually like Van Horn's work, or is he merely
tolerating it for the sake of producing the new story?)  If he does
single you out for criticism, is it because he considers your work to
be too derivative of his own?  Is it because your attention to detail
is an example of "underground" (i.e., "new") comics art to which the
old-timers can't relate?  Or is it because he does in fact perceive
your popularity to be a threat to his reputation as "**the** good
artist" who created all the best duck stories?

> All I've ever tried to do is honor the guy, and here he's becoming
> the "evil genius" of my life.
I doubt that he's dedicating the rest of his life to being your bete
noire.  More likely, he's dedicating it to firming up his own claims
to comics immortality and to raking in all the loot he can get.  If
he does seem to be out to get you, then it's maybe just because your
popularity gets in the way of this grand scheme.

> Why's he got it in for me of all people?
Maybe he doesn't have it in for you in particular, but just for anyone
who might siphon off some of the glory and/or cash which would otherwise
come his way.  For all I know, maybe he has it in for Stan Lee, Jack
Kirby, Todd McFarland, Neil Gaiman,...  Has he said anything about
other comics artists in general in the interviews in which he comes
down on your work?

> I guess it's time to remove the "D.U.C.K." dedication from my stories
> and covers, eh?
Probably not, since the fact that these are duck stories, rather than
stories featuring your original characters, is in fact a dedication to
Barks' work.  Of course, there's always a fine line between homage and
rip-off, and maybe Barks sees your work as being on the wrong side of
that line.  (Again, this would be paranoia on his part rather than
yours.)  The "D.U.C.K." dedication shows what your intentions are, and
I think it's proper to make them clear in that manner.

Wilmer Rivers
rivers at

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