Knowing of Carl Barks
bi442 at lafn.org
Wed Jul 19 09:21:34 CEST 2006
I not only knew about Carl Barks by 1969, but I had met him at his house by
then. I grew up reading the US and Dutch Disney comics with Barks stories,
from the late '40s through the end of Barks' 1960s printings. I started buying
them for myself in 1952 (or asking my parents to buy for me), but I had already
inherited all Barks' Disney comics from older cousins who lived in my house (or
next door)(other than a couple of giveaways). When moving to Los Angeles in
1966 for university, I also discovered Malcom Willits' and Leonard
Browns' "Collectors' Book Store". I was already a great fan of "The Good
Artist" and they told me his name was Carl Barks. I showed them that I had
been photocopying ALL of Barks' comic book story pages and magazine cover
pages, to make my own "Carl Barks Library". They also sold me the few Barks
giveaways I didn't have (except "Donald Ducks Atomb Bomb" and "Donald Duck
Tells About Kites", which I only have in original Dutch printings but not US
(only reprints). Malcom and Leonard also helped me out with my library, by
letting me have photostated, all Barks' original drawn inked pages that they
were auctioning off for him. That is how I was able to make my library almost
complete, including The "Milkman Story" and The 1945 Christmas story (later
titled "Silent Night", for which I also re-created the missing half-page from
Carl's description of what he had on it). The latter work also got me started
writing stories and drawing storyboards for Oberon (Dutch Disney comics)in
1986, and also the same for Gutenberghus/Egmont in 1989.
When Malcom and Leonard saw that I was hand-colouring all 6700 pages, they
thought I was quite extreme as a Barks fan, and that Carl, himself, might
appreciate that. First, in 1966, they let me talk to him on the telephone, and
with his permission, gave me his street address. We talked on the phone a few
times, and wrote letters back and forth, until 1969, when I and my sister went
to visit him at his new home in Goleta, California. He wanted to see the
finished, hardbound volumes I had coloured. We spent all day with Carl and
Garé, and she even made us lunch (sandwiches). Garé and Carl took pictures of
3 of the 4 of us in various combinations and Carl and me in front of my books.
(I'm just about 60 years old, and have never owned a camera). Carl and Garé
kept the pictures, and it had been their idea to take them in the first place.
(I've been all over the World and never kept photos of people or places). Now
I regret it. Before Barks' things were auctioned off, I asked a family member
to pull out those photos for me and my sister, as the family was supposed to
see them first. She told me that, unfortunately, the family never got access
to the photos before the auction.
In any case, I ended up visiting Carl and Garé two more times. I NEVER asked
him to draw me a drawing, so he never did. I never asked him for his autograph.
But he he and Garé were very nice people, and I think I had a different
experience meeting him as one person to another, rather than a "drooling fan"
worshipping an idol.
In 1991, when my drawing had gotten to what I thought was a presentable state,
I sent him photocopies of several of my stories. I had not writtten to him or
contacted him since 1973 (When I had moved To The Netherlands and started
working in The Third World). He wrote back saying that he'd wondered what had
happened to me. He said he enjoyed the stories and artwork very much, and got
some good laughs, and was glad that I was able to do work that I enjoy. THAT
is worth more to me than autographs or even personal drawings.
In any case, Malcom and Leonard had turned me on to Duckburg Times, Mike
Barrier, The Barks Collector and other fanzines in the late '60s and
early '70s, so there were at least several hundred people in USA in the
late '60s who knew Carl Barks' name, and probably at least a few thousand in
the early '70s. I believe that there were at least a hard core of fans in The
Netherlands who knew his name in the late #60s. I imagine there were similar
groups in Denmark, Sweden and Norway and Italy. Not sure about Germany (but
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