Carl Barks – The Duckman

Carl Barks storyteller extraordinaire and creator of Donald Duck’s Uncle Scrooge (among others) had a long, illustrious and influential career. Known affectionately by his legion of fans as The Duckman, Barks is especially known for his comic book tales he wrote and drew from the 1940′s through the 1960′s. These stories were such a fantastic combination of action, adventure, treasure hunting and comedy that they have had a lasting effect on everyone who has read them – even on popular culture itself.

Carl Barks took his ducks and his fans from the mountains from “Lost in the Andes” to “The Land Beneath the Ground”. From the interplanetary “Island in the Sky” to the underwater “Secrets of Atlantis” mixing thrills and humor on the way. As a matter of fact, these stories were a direct inspiration for two Carl Barks fans – Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. They have both praised Carl Barks for his inspiration to them. They both collect Carl Barks art. If you enjoyed their movies, especially Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars, you owe a certain amount of gratitude to Carl Barks and his ideas. When you examine many of his stories you will find almost a set of blueprints for certain portions of these films.

 

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The Land Beneath the Ground by Carl Barks

 

Taking us from ancient civilizations and their treasures to “Micro-Ducks from Outer Space” Carl Barks introduced us to non threatening, friendly (vegetarian!) aliens in a flying saucer. What a concept!

Carl Barks was born in Merrill, Oregon on March 27, 1901. After freelancing for humor magazines in the early 1930′s he began working for Walt Disney Studios designing gags for Donald Duck cartoons. He also worked on one Mickey Mouse cartoon, Magician Mickey.

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Magician Mickey by Carl Barks

 

This all led to the writing and drawing of the Duck stories for Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories comic books. Carl Barks refined existing Disney characters like Donald and his Nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie. He created the inventor Gyro Gearloose, the amazingly lucky Gladstone Gander and villains The Beagle Boys. He founded the happy hamlet of Duckburg, but most importantly Carl Barks created the world’s richest (and toughest and most intrepid) duck, Donald’s Uncle Scrooge McDuck. Uncle Scrooge led the ducks on the aforementioned adventures and more. They traveled to Egyptian tombs for “The Mummy’s Ring”. They looked for and found “The Old Castle’s Secret”. They spent time “In Ancient Persia” and searched for “The Gilded Man”.

In the 1970′s Carl Barks began a series of oil paintings of the ducks, many of which have sold for six figures. But those stories and adventures he took us all on in those comic book stories ensures that the effect and influence he had will always continue.

Mary Blair Concept Art

Mary Blair was born in 1911 in Oklahoma. She began her career as a well received fine art watercolorist, but soon moved to working in the animation industry. Her best work was for Walt Disney Studios. Her concept art was used for cartoons, full length animated features and so much more. Most notably Mary Blair’s work for Alice in Wonderland is considered by many one of her greatest contributions.

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And if you go chasing rabbits, and you know you’re going to fall, tell them a hookah smoking caterpillar, is giving you a call……

The Disney attraction “It’s a Small World”, was first designed and built for the Pepsi-Cola pavilion at the 1964/1965 New York World’s Fair. It presents animated figures frolicking in miniature settings of many lands. It unified a theme of global peace. Today, there is a Small World attraction at Disneyland (in California), Disneyworld (in Florida), Tokyo Disneyworld, Disneyworld Paris, and at Hong Kong Disneyworld. 

     Pepsi-Cola, in conjunction with the United Nations Children Fund, presented the attraction as a salute to children around the world. The original full name was “It’s a Small World – A Salute to UNICEF”. A special adjoining exhibit extolled the theme that every child in the world has the right to security, good health, and education. 
     When it came to designing this international, child themed attraction, Walt Disney immediately thought of the perfect person to do it, Mary Blair. Walt not only loved her sense of color styling, but he really felt close to her unusual childlike style. Animation historian John Canemaker quotes Disney artist Roland Crump, “The way she (Mary Blair) painted – in a lot of ways she was still a little girl. Walt was like that… You could see he could relate to children – she was the same way.” Animator Marc Davis, who put Mary’s exciting use of color on a par with Matisse, recalled, “Mary Blair brought modern art to Walt in a way that no one else did. He was so excited about her work.” Also, in 1941, Mary Blair was part of a Disney expedition that toured South America for three months. She painted watercolor concepts that so perfectly illustrated the flavor of the Latin American countries, that Disney named her art supervisor on “The Three Caballeros”, and “Saludos Amigos”. This experience and her style made Mary Blair uniquely qualified to be the designer of “It’s a Small World”.

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