Carl Barks was one of the great childrenīs storytellers. And I think that
probably more than any other storyteller of his generation. I think it is in
some ways almost unfortunate, that what he did was Donald Duck and uncle
Scrooge. Not because it wasnīt great work, but because in America it gets
forgotten that Barks created great storytales, because itīs Disney Comics,
uncle Scrooge Comics, and nobody cres about them there.
In this part of the world he gets worshipped as a god for having done the greatest Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics, because Uncle Scrooge comics in Scandinavia had this sort of strange cultural placing, sort of a magical thing. He did the best of those.. youīll get grown man crying when they meet him anīstuff..
I think both of those things actually do Carl Barks a disservice, because neither of tehm accnowledges what he really was, a competent artist. I donīt think he was ever a great artist. Anybody who has ever seen his oil paintings knows that.
But he was a competent artist, he was up there with Tove Jansson, with Kenneth Graham, with those handful of people who have created great, lasting childrenīs literature. Thatīs what I think of Carl Barks.
- Neil Gaiman, interviewed by Vesa Kataisto in Helsinki, 17.8.2000,
Itīs hard to think of what to say, as everything I have done for the last thirteen years is a tribute to Carl Barks. At this point and time it feels like I should not try to sum all of that in a couple of paragraphs. Iīm just not capable of doing that. Anything I would say would be so pathetically inadeqvate - I'm not up to the task.
The people of Comics Journal were already planning to do a tribute issue to him, they hoped to have it out while he could still enjoy it. Barks does not get that much appreciation in America, and of course he did not visit Europe exept for that one time.
Journal asked me for something to be sort of the lead feature of that issue, which was even more intimidating - whatever I did would simply not have to be an incapsulation of everything I have done for the last thirteen years. I felt like an obligation that it HAD to be the BEST thing in that issue - I declined to do that.
What I did, I thought it was a good idea to use that possibility to tell the americans something they do not know. I mean, in America, Barks is known only to people like me, the ageing comic book collectors.
We could not admire him more, but I am one of the few americans who knows how important he really is. Since we donīt have Disney comics in America, and Barks is pretty much forgotten by the general public, they really have no idea.
Myself, after ten years of visiting Europe, I still canīt get used to how incredibly influential and popular, famous Barks is here, he and his comics, how well-known they are.
So I wrote a piece as well as I could. I could not write a good memorial, I leave that to better wordsmiths. But I tried to write something that I thought was even more useful for America, trying to tell the americans how important this guy was.
I said Carl Barks was not the best comic artist of all times, he wasnīt the best comic writer. Certainly there are better artists, those who worked for the EC comics and Walt Kelly, who could write better verse and poetry, so forth..
But if you take the count of how many millions and millions of kids have grown up on his stories all over the world. He did the most popular comic books in the world, best-selling stories in all across Europe, as they used to be in America, compleatly based on HIS work and nobody elseīs as a foundation.
When Barks retired in 1966, the Duck universe stopped developing. It is compleatly on his foundation even today.
Just to think of all the people who have listed Barks as their inspiration for their life and career, cartoonists, writers, moviemakers et cetera... THIS man was the greatest storyteller of his generation - Iīm not the first to say that, Iīve been hearing that for the last ten to twenty years, Iīm just repeating what I have heard for many years.
Barks is absolytely the best, the GREATEST storyteller of the twentieth century.
- Keno Don Rosa, Helsinki, 8.9.2000, interviewed by Vesa Kataisto
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