Uncle Carl - His Life and Times


Born in 1901 in Merrill, Oregon, Carl Barks has spent most of his life drawing, illustrating, painting and telling stories about ducks. Disney Ducks have always been his favorites.

It all began in late 1918, when Barks left home to find a job for himself. After several heavy jobs varying from logger to working in a riveting gang, he finally got a job as cartoonist for a magazine called Calgary Eye-Opener. A few years later, in 1935, he heard the Disney Studio were looking for cartoonists, and that's when he decided to apply.
Shortly after he was contracted, Barks submitted a gag about a mechanized barber chair. This gag meant a promotion to the story department where Barks finished the script for "Modern Inventions" (1937), in which the gag was used. During his years at the Disney studio, Barks worked as a storyboard artist, gag man and writer, and he helped 35 Donald Duck cartoons as well as the animated features "Fantasia" and "Bambi" to the theatres. Among the more famous cartoons of his you'll find "Donald's Nephews" (1938), "Hockey Champ" (1939), "Donald's Cousin Gus" (1939) and "The Plastics Inventor" (1944).
In the early 1940s, Barks was tired of working in collaboration. In addition, the Studio was rapidly being converted into a war plant which produced lots of propaganda films for the military. Getting sick of the air conditioning each day was the final straw and on November 6, 1942, he decided to leave the Studio to set up a chicken farm.
To earn a living, Barks wrote to Western Publishing saying that he was able to draw Disney comic books for them. Although he hoped to develop his own set of characters to create his own independent comic-strip later on, he never got the chance to do so. Western hired him immediately to the art form which was to make him world famous later in his life: doing Donald Duck comic book stories and illustrations. Not only this, but they also managed to keep him at it for the next 25 years - and even far into his retirement.

For many years Barks was the preeminent Disney comic book artist. His numbers had great popularity, and his contributions to the Duck family are everything from several of our favorite characters to their ingenious personalities which keeps the Duck Universe moving. He is the "father" of the miserly Uncle Scrooge and is generally credited for giving Donald as well as his nephews their distinctive personalities. Duckburg and most of the Duck clan owe their existence to his pen and paintbrush.


"Uncle Scrooge's fortune stands at precisely ... Five billion quintiplitilion unptuplatillion multuplatillion impossibidillion fantasticatrillion dollars. This translates into three cubic acres of money housed in the McDuck Money Bin." - Carl Barks 1994


In 1968, three years after his retirement, Barks began something new: capturing the Disney Ducks in dimension and brilliant hues in oil paintings. Over the years, he has painted memorable scenes from the lives of his Ducks, capturing them in everything from their greatest adventures to their moments of relaxation and repose.
Known as the 'Good Duck Artist' for his work on Donald Duck in the days before artists were credited, Barks is now recognised as one of the greatest comic book artists ever. Now in his nineties he still produces paintings on commission and his lithographs sell out almost immediately upon publication and are, of course, incredibly attractive to the secondary market. From 1972 and onwards he has made about 150 paintings. His originals occasionally surface at major auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's and fetch thousands and thousands of dollars.
In 1994, Barks made a tour through Europe, which amounted in a media-sensation all over the world. Lately he has written and co-worked on two new stories: "Horsing Around with History" (1994) and the yet-to-be-published "Somewhere in Nowhere" (1997).


"No man is poor who can do what he likes once in a while. I like to dive through my money like a porpoise and throw it up and let it hit me over the head." - Scrooge McDuck

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