Cry Hafoc -- How Barks Came to Britain
9475609 at arran.sms.edinburgh.ac.uk
Mon Oct 24 11:46:33 CET 1994
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
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.
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