Monday, July 06, 2009

With My Old Pal Carl Barks - Part 1

I have a sketchbook filled with sketches by famous cartoonists from all over the world, but primarily from the USA. When I visited Carl Barks in 1973 he did this sketch for me.

When I was a little kid my father painted Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Jose Carioca on the walls of our basement in New York. I never knew if he painted them on the walls because I loved the Disney characters, or if I loved the Disney characters because he had painted them on the walls. Either way, they became a part of my life.

My mom and dad bought me my first drawing table when I was about ten years old and right away I started doing comic books on it. I still have them and may post them here at a later date. I read the Sunday funnies ravenously, gobbled up copies of Batman, Superman and Walt Disney's Comics and Stories. Naturally I was a fan of Carl Barks, even though nobody knew his name then. This would have been around 1951 - 1953.

Jump cut to 1966. I'm going to art school in Los Angeles. Fantasy Illustrated and Graphic Story Magazine editor and publisher Bill Spicer and I go visit "the good duck artist" whose name had recently been discovered - Carl Barks. He was living in San Jacinto, California at the time. Can you imagine? I grew up on this guy's work, he was one of the reasons I pursued a career in comics and animation, and now I was visiting him. We were friends for the next 34 years. The last time I saw Carl was at his home in Grant's Pass, Oregon. He was 96, we went to dinner, and he drove. Carl died in August, 2000 at the age of 99.

After Carl retired from comics in 1966 he began doing oil paintings. A Barks fan named Glen Bray commissioned Carl to do an oil painting for him and thus began a second, and very successful career for Barks. One of the paintings that Bray commissioned was of Bombie the Zombie.

Anyway, here are some rare photos of Carl Barks and Glen Bray that you might enjoy.

That's Glen Bray holding his latest acquisition - Carl's painting of Bombie the Zombie, a character from Donald Duck One Shot comic #238, (1949.) I think this photo was taken in 1972.

This is Carl helping Glen hold up his painting of Bombie the Zombie.

That's Carl, me and Carl's wife Gare, standing outside their home in Goleta, CA. I think it's 1970.

Gare and Carl stand in front of one of Gare's recent paintings. She was a very fine artist. More photos and stuff in Part 2.


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