Disney-comics digest #352.
72260.2635 at CompuServe.COM
Fri Jun 10 21:36:08 CEST 1994
Okay, right, I know I said I was going to tell you about
something involving Barks' "manager" Bill Grandey. While in Germany I
saw the many press releases that Grandey is sending out about Barks, and
(as I expected) about ME. The reporters were showing them to me in part
because of how poorly written they were in vocabulary, grammar,
spelling, and, in particular, sentence structure; they were like
something a 4th grader would write, but if you've seen Grandey's tacky
looking CBG ads, you already know this. The other reason the reporters
were puzzled is that the references to me were inserted unsolicited
into the interview, usually in the midst of another completely
unrelated answer, as if a key was being punched on a computer and a
prepared (but poorly written) text was spewing out. Grandey, for those
who don't know, is a former soap-salesman or something who, after the
death of Gare Barks, apparently managed to convince Barks to let
Grandey create this "Carl Barks Studio" by which Grandey would get an
agent's percentage of every NEW deal he arranged for Barks. The first
thing this meant was that Bruce Hamilton/Another Rainbow had to be
dumped, but you know that also.
But let's see this paragraph inserted into the middle of this
interview I have here:
"There has been a great deal of confusion lately about a recent
misinterpreted history of Scrooge. I (Barks) get calls all the time from
child psychologist calling to complain about the first chapter. In it a
young Scrooge is manipulated and tricked into working hard for his
money. I remind them that this is a non-Barks Uncle Scrooge. The author
just doesn't know Scrooge."
Also, later in the interview there is high praise for William
Van Horn, with constant references to the poor artist who does the
Scrooge history who draws the duck's eyes with a template, has over
detailed art and draws the ducks quite off-model.
These were the references I was thinking about mentioning on
here. There's nothing I wish to DO about this stuff. It breaks my heart,
but Barks is free to think whatever he wishes about my work. And it's
just my tough luck if Grandey uses his position to promote the work of
his OTHER client, Bill Van Horn. None of the reporters know that fact,
but I always say Van Horn's cartooning is better than mine anyway, so
what can I do.
Anyway, I FAXed this article to my editor Byron Erickson to see
what he might wish to do. Byron had been getting mad about how Grandey
was running the show already, and he wanted to stop the crap. I thought
it was time I asked Byron to please ask Mr. Barks to just talk about his
OWN work and leave me alone; I just don't think I deserve this. I mean,
I've gotten used to the fact that my life's idol hates my guts... what
point is there in constantly rubbing my face in it, and now on an
international basis? Am I really the WORST writer/artist to have ever
touched the Ducks? I don't think I'm all THAT bad.
Anyway, Byron called and said, "Yeah, but wait till YOU see
THIS!"... and Byron FAXed me the most astounding document I've ever laid
my eyes on, which had finally come into his hands after passing through
a half-dozen fans and freelancers. I truly wish I could post it here for
everyone to see how dispicable and greedy and underhanded a human being
could be... or maybe just how PLAIN STUPID someone can act when he
thinks he's protected by a living legend. But I can't print it out here
as my lawyer says that could influence the actionability of the
impending lawsuit that I am preparing against Bill Grandey. Also, the
letter is 2 1/2 pages long, single-spaced, and that would be a lotta
typing. But since the letter spoke only about ME, I can freely discuss
it as the only one I might harm is myself.
How many of you recall what I said about Atlanta? Recall how I
went there to finally meet Barks? Recall how I didn't mention the event
later until people started asking me about it? Shall I recap? BRIEFLY!
A dealer friend of mine told me of Barks' appearance in Atlanta
at a distributor's show. I called Bruce Hamilton to ask them if they had
any idea whether I would be allowed to briefly meet my hero if I went to
Atlanta (I already suspected Barks didn't want me around). Bruce
Hamilton told me that he would introduce us, sure. So I decided to go at
my own expense and as a private individual, with no announcement, just
to make CERTAIN Barks would not feel I was trying to get into his
The next thing that happened was that Hamilton, being Hamilton,
placed a full-page CBG ad stating that "history would be made when the
two Duck men meet in Atlanta" or crap like that. After calling Hamilton
to tell him that was EXACTLY what I hadn't wanted, I then wrote to Barks
to aplogize and say that I was coming completely on my own, but if he
wanted me to stay away I would. I received a letter back from Barks
saying that he would do anything but appear in something like a panel
discussion with me. That was swell -- all I wanted to do was meet him
briefly and then disappear into the crowd.
What did happen was that Grandey refused all requests made by
Hamilton (and others I was later to learn) to have anything to do with
me. When Barks first arrived and was taking a surprise stroll through an
exhibition, my friends saw him and started pushing me forward... but I
said I didn't want to surprise Barks and I hoped to meet him by
invitation later. However Steve Geppi, the sponsor of the exhibition,
spotted me and brought Barks to me and introduced us. All Barks did upon
finding who he was shaking hands with was emit an odd lil' squeal of
pleasure(?) or something, then he wouldn't my inquiry of whether this
was okay... then he moved on. 7 seconds, tops. I hoped that I'd be
invited to a brief private meeting later, but after waiting 3 days in
the hotel I was ignored. All I did was watch Barks from a great
distance, further than most anyone else at the seminar. Other than the
friend I was there with and Byron Erickson (Egmont's editor-in-chief of
the Disney branch who was also there), I hoped no one noticed how deeply
humiliated I was. My reaction, as I recall, was to sulk quietly. Only
ONE person found out -- my friend Harlan Ellison stopped me and asked
how my meeting with Barks was -- he'd had dinner with him the night
before. And I said I wasn't allowed to see Barks. Ellison grabbed me and
started dragging me to meet Barks right away, getting pretty riled that
I was being deprived of any meeting. But I refused and told him I would
never go where I was not happily invited. So that was that. I came home.
Later I think I told some of the story here, after being asked a number
of times... though never this completely.
Where were we? What did Byron Erickson FAX me three days ago? It
was a copy of a letter FAXed out by Grandey to the various Egmont
big-shots, editors, press-relations, info dispensers, and I can't
imagine who else (since the copy I saw went from Grandey to a mere art
dealer who had no connection to Egmont).
In it Grandey reveals that Barks main condition for agreeing to
do this Euro tour was... NO DON ROSA. I was not to be invited to
participate in any Egmont (or other Disney publisher?) function,
business or social, anywhere in Europe from the time of agreement (Oct.
93) through the summer of 94. However, Grandey had learned that I was to
go to Germany. So...
Grandey then procedes to tell of the reason I could not be in
Europe. I had sneaked into a trade seminar in Atlanta with the intention
of riding on the coattails of Barks' fame. I participated willingly in
an ad campaign to promote myself at Barks' expense. Barks wouldn't see
me since I had not made prior arrangements. And when I was refused a
meeting I exploded into a rage in the middle of the seminar, creating a
spectacle. I had been drinking. I raged at everyone that I was being
refused a chance to see Barks. Barks was terrified of me. He was afraid
this angry drunken man would confront him at any moment and the
shameless spectacle ruined the entire seminar. I was stalking Barks and
there are laws against that in America -- Grandey claims that they
foolishly failed to file a police report.
The letter goes on to say that I have been telling everyone that
I am sponsored to be part of the Barks Euro tour and that they can be
sure that I will sneak into any line where Barks is signing brochures in
an attempt to get at him and threaten his personal security. A repeat of
the Atlanta spectacle must be avoided, therefore Egmont must not have
anything to do with me because I am a raging, stalking, drunkard.
There you have it. Of course the letter goes into much more
detail in its 2 1/2 pages, but that's the gist of it with NO
exaggeration. Anyone with a FAX machine can leave me their number for a
The most bizarre aspects of this are 1) Grandey KNEW that the
Egmont Disney editor-in-chief was at my elbow the ENTIRE time, as were
several others, who KNEW this letter to be completely false. 2) Aside
from that, there were a mere 3500 other people who could attest that
nothing like this occured and they probably never even knew I was there
since I was not part of any function. Grandey seems to think he is
invulnerable when he has Barks as his shield.
But this is libel of the absolute WORST type. Falsely accusing
someone, not simply of mischief, but of CRIMES (stalking), to one's
employer with the clear intention of harming (!) his reputation and
affecting his future employment. And with 3500 witnesses against him.
How stupid can the man be?
I'll be happy to assume Barks had nothing to do with this. My
lawyers will go after GRANDEY.
Now, having answered your question... I must disappear for yet
another week and not see your responses. Even before I decided to stalk
Barks through Erlangen last week, my wife and I already had planned for
several years to go on a camping trip starting tomorrow morning. You
see, I have a suspicion that Carl Barks will be in Arizona hiding from
me somewhere in the Grand Canyon, and I'm going to stalk him along the
Bright Angel Trail. (hic).
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