MichaelBarrier.com  - Exploring the World of Animated Films and Comic Art - banner by Michael Sporn


Carl Barks

From Robert Latona: I only just recently stumbled across your Web site and in it, the valedictory piece you did on Carl Barks, and find myself stirred not shaken into digitally crying out “hear, hear, someone finally got it right.” Of course Barks is immune to debunking, but I think the world was due for a measured rejoinder to the duckolatry fundamentalists and merchandisers who have been extracting cash money and/or cheap academic brownie points from all the man accomplished. He has been well served by neither, I gather, though I don’t know about the litigation and other less happy circumstances you allude to.

The paintings are kitsch. Of course they are, what’s wrong, can’t people see? The originals must be even more wincingly awful than the reproductions I’ve seen. Those duckless landscapes he was so tickled-to-death pleased with and thought would keep him harmlessly occupied through his senior years bring on shudders, and to see what the Disney-derived paintings and prints change hands for makes me weep for my species.

You sure got it right. Barks’s genius found its outlet in a line that could render just about anything a kid could feel and relate to in his own world or intuit about the adult world and all it needed for its full expression was to be highlighted with the mechanical and limited palette of the Western Publishing printing presses.

“The artist’s work is itself a sardonic commentary on the sort of mind that can embrace something uncritically.” Thank you very much for saying that. Wish I had.

What’s this leading up to? Well nothing much, really. But I intend to make a major point of hunting up your animation book (it involves a bit of bother but can be done from Spain) Though I have to confess I’m less compelled by the subject matter than a real desire to see what you have to say about it. Which is the best compliment I know how to pay to any historian or critic or sixties fanzine editor.You do talk shows?

[Posted October 6, 2004]