Wednesday, 18 February 2009
What? No one guessed Carl Barks?
Well, neither did I when I first saw this image as a low resolution page intended for The Carl Barks Collection. (CBC is the European version of Carl Barks Library. In color with loads of extra material not seen in te US version.) The copy below the image said it came from Barks scrap piles and might be a sheet for testing new nibs or something like that.
Since the image I saw was in such low resolution I coluldn't be 100% sure.
When the page finally appeared in print I checked it out to see what it looked like in nice sharp quality. And it confirmed what I had thought in the first place: this was not by Barks.
Now, why do I say that it's not by Barks when it's included in CBC?
Follow me and I'll give you my theory:
The image of Gladstone Gander and the pig are traced from WDC 131 and WDC 136. That would date it to ca 1951 or later.The inking on these lacks any trace of Barks elegant inking. He was at his peak in the early 50's and these are clearly inked by some one not used to ink in this style. You can see how the inker hesitates and the lines becomes unsure.
The sketch of a man between the Beagle Boy reminds me of Barks designs from ca 1945. The Donald in the upper right corner looks like a copied Taliaferro drawing. Then there are three Donald heads that looks like they are copied from various stories. The Scrooge and the man next to him and the Donald in the upper left corner are drawings done by someone not familar with Barks designs and construction of characters at all. (The shape of Scrooges hat is all wrong.)
Conclusion: This was made by someone else than Barks.
So, if Barks didn't do it, why did it survive in his scap pile?
One guess is that this is a try-out. Maybe someone asked Barks if he needed an assistant in the early 50's. These might even be done at Barks house with him "looking over the shoulder". However, Barks didn't have use of an assistant at that time. Maybe he saved the sheet of drawings all these years. Like a memory of that first meeting. Who knows. I don't and the answer is probably impossible to find with both of the Barkses gone.