Barks has recalled that the script for that first Donald story - in which
Donald defends his Victory Garden from Crows - was sent to him by Western,
which was then dealing with its artists under the name of one of its
subsidiaries, Whitman, while publishing Walt Disney's Comics through another
affiliate, K.K. Publications. However, the script may have been sent to him
directly from the Disney studio. Western's Los Angeles office was a fledgling in
1942 (its first comic book had been published only the year before), and its
ties with the Hollywood cartoon studios were close.
There is in the Disney Archives an undated note to Barks from the Disney studio,
signed "Dorothy" (probably Dorothy Strebe, who worked in the Disney publications
department for more than twenty years), that reads in part as follows: "Here is
a 10-page story for Donald Duck. Hope that you like it ... you are to stage
it, of course ... and if you see that it can be strengthened, or that it
deviates from Donald either in narration or action, please make the
improvements." Barks's pay was specified as twelve dollars and fifty cents per page.
Since Barks began writing his own stories starting with the May 1943 Walt
Disney's Comics (us/WDC 32), it seems likely that
this note accompanied the script for the story in the April 1943 issue
(us/WDC 31). In any event,
Barks did make changes in the story, and the results were satisfactory to
Western. Throughout his nearly twenty-four years with Western, his singularity
as a comics writer was recognized by his editors: he rarely submitted story ideas in advance.
Note: There are at least two stories for which Barks sent story ideas in
advance: W OS 29-01 and the Mummy's Ring and
W US 63-02 House of Haunts.