Cry Hafoc -- How Barks Came to Britain

Mon Oct 24 11:46:33 CET 1994

      Dear Folks,

      Being in Great Britain lately gave me the chance to see how 
Barks' work was first used here.  And the method in which it was done 
was a tremendous shock to me.

      You see, the Mickey Mouse weekly comic in the 1940s wasn't big 
enough to hold Barks material (it was eight pages per week!), and 
wouldn't feature any of his stories until the 1950s (and even then, 
serialized, I believe).  So what was done?  Dean and Son, publishers 
of the 250-page MICKEY MOUSE ANNUAL, had a solution.

       You'd think that would be to print Barks stories there, right? 
 Nope.  Instead, Barks' comics were rewritten entirely as text 
stories and illustrated with crude copies of Barks' drawings.  But 
the ratio of text to art was heavy on the text-side.  So these really 
were *stories*, not Big Little Book style 50-50 mixtures of drawings 
and print.

      The 1946 annual I saw (but could not afford) at a bookdealer's 
shop the other day contained stories based on "Frozen Gold" and WDC&S 
47's "Farragut the Falcon."  But tremendous liberties have been taken 
with the stories.  Characters' names have been changed, and so forth. 
 And the writing is SO long-winded that you wouldn't believe it!  In 
the Farragut story, the falcon's name is changed to Hafoc for some 
unknown reason.  You probably remember the panel on the last page of 
the original tale in which the judge hands Farragut back to Donald.  
"Take this empty-headed eagle and begone!  You're expelled from this 
meeting!"  (Or some such)  Well, here we have:  "'Take this horrible 
hawk, this empty-headed eagle, this -- this BRAZEN BUZZARD, OUT 
of here -- and when I say out, I mean out!  If you ever come back here, 
I'm not letting you in!  You're expelled -- nay, KICKED OUT of this 
meeting!  So be off with you!"  Everything is expanded to an idiotic 

      Can you believe this?  What a miserable situation.  On the 
other hand, Wilfred Haughton drew some very good one-page Mickey gags 
for these Annuals, too (these were comics, I mean);  if I can get a 
copy of one Annual, maybe I can have Gladstone reprint a few of those 
gags.  Drawn with pie-eyed MM, even as late as 1946 (Haughton would, 
reportedly, draw no other version of the character).

      Well, I must be off, folks.  But I'll be back tomorrow.

      David Gerstein

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