Wednesday 2 December 2009

Barks cartoons

It's Wednesday evening and time for some more Carl Barks stuff. Even though he will always be remembered for his Duck comics there was a time when he tried to break into the cartoon market.
Here we find a few samples done at the time that he was working in Disney's Burbank studio during the war.

Eh, you want some ducks too? Quack to you!


Anonymous said...

Interesting to see, thanks!
Good thing for Barks that he started doing duck comics though (wasn't he supposed to be a gag man, these weren't very funny). I suppose you have to compare them to other cartoons of that day to make a fair judgement.

Anonymous said...

Remember, in the early 1940s Carl was working an unknown market on spec as a freelancer trying to survive. He must have realized he would never be a top-notch gag cartoonist, so the type of work he could expect to sell would have to be safe, middle of the road stuff, with enough general appeal so that gags could be recycled to many magazines. Note that he had to redraw every single submission, as there was no affordable photocpying then. Not the type of situation that invites a lot of experimentation. I have always thought that Barks professionalism as a working cartoonist has been under-estimated. He might have settled into all kinds of situations other than ducks and delivered good, solid work.

Barks forte was character driven storytelling. Gag panels aren't the medium for that. The comic work gave him job security, which in turn allowed him to experiment. But Carl was a working professional with more talent than drawing ducks. He might even have done great work with a human comic-strip in the Roy Crane genre, given time to develop his concepts. He found the ducks by accident, but he could just as easily have found something else.

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add: His layouts and staging are great as always. What clarity.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous no 1 here: thanks for the insightful comments regarding Barks work. It would have been interesting to see what he would have accomplished with a human interest strip. I agree that the staging in these drawings is excellent. Also, it took quite a few years for Barks to mature into the master we admire, so these drawings should be compared with his first efforts with the ducks rather than with square eggs. But wouldn't he have waited for the gags to be returned rather than redrawing the cartoons for each submission?