Barks, virtual reality and the Digital Age in general
Daniel van Eijmeren
dve at kabelfoon.nl
Thu Feb 15 21:04:55 CET 2001
RICH MORRISSON, 13 FEBRUARY 2001
> Wasn't there one in the early '60's where Gyro invented a
> machine that could create what we now know as virtual reality...
> and Donald used it to show how fascinating a world just like their
> own, except that everything (except the ducks) was ten, then a
> hundred, then a thousand times larger, could be.
This is the untitled ten-pager "Gyro's Imagination Invention" (WDC 199).
Here are some other stories which make me think of the "Digital Age":
"The Many Faces of Magica de Spell" (US 48)
The scene of the birds contacting each other looks like an early version
of the internet. The Carl Barks Library contains an article by Geoffrey
Blum about this story, where he thinks of a connection between this scene
and mass communication (in general).
"Stranger Than Fiction" (WDC 249)
Gyro's invention makes me think of uploading and downloading. Even though
it's (still?) impossible to send or receive (for example) food and living
creatures, we already (in a way) do have the possibility to send
photographs, movies and music.
A few weeks ago I saw a programme on "Discovery" (it could also have been
"National Geographic") about inventors/scientists who don't rule out the
possibility that it may become possible to make an invention like Gyro's
transmitter in WDC 249. (This is my description, no reference to Barks or
comics was made.)
But then, they also didn't rule out time-traveling. They thought that even
though such inventions sound impossible, they still keep thinking about
discovering possibilities because flying also seemed impossible in the
Maybe it would be interesting to find inventions in Barks' comics which
didn't exist (or were at least rather unknown) at the time, but do exist
"Island in the Sky" (US 29) contains a space station, which is used in a
way that may become possible within 10 years. Companies are already
thinking of space traveling for tourists, so maybe it will be possible
for the modern Uncle Scrooges to easily make a space travel without
all-too-much effort (like in Barks' comics).
About time-traveling: I don't think I would welcome this if it was
possible. If I would ask people what they did yesterday, their answer
could be: "Well, we spent a day in Paris, but at the end of the day we
decided to do the day over again by going to Rome instead."
But maybe time-traveling will become possible? Maybe the giant sales
of comics in the fifties have been caused by future collectors going
back in time to get their comics right from the stands? :-)
"A truck! Ha, ha! That was a COMET!
The highway patrol uses 'em to chase speeders!"
(which story?) :-)
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