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    Dave Koch
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    Renegades of Animation: Pat Sullivan

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Duck Tales and Carl Barks

Discussion in 'Disney / Pixar' started by Dave Koch, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    For reference, some of the differences between Duck Tales and the Uncle Srooge comics by Carl barks that inspired the series:

    The art style of DuckTales is considerably different, but quite good for 80's TV animation. Barks used several different styles during his 25 year comic book career, but is most-remembered for a rubbery character look with fluid brush strokes and detailed, realistic backgrounds.

    In the show Scrooge lives in an enormous mansion, whereas in the comics he's such a tightwad he often tries to sponge off his kin. In the comics, Scrooge's money bin was usually depicted atop a high knoll surrounded with land mines, barbed wire, and signs saying 'Scram!', 'Go Away!', 'Beat it!', etc.

    In the show Donald is shipped out in the navy and replaced with Launchpad McQuack, who I think's great in Darkwing Duck but even as a kid felt made a poor replacement for Donald, considering the original dynamic in the duck family, with Barks' terrific oft-cynical brand of humor (Scrooge trying to get his nephews to practically work for free, Donald trying to pull one over on his wily uncle, and the boys getting their headstrong uncles out of rediculous scrapes using their Junior Woodchucks Guidebook).

    In the comics Scrooge would often fly into fits of panic or rage with hilarious expressions on his face (most notably in some of the earlier stories).

    New characters in Duck Tales included Launchpad, Webby & Mrs. Beakley, Duckworth, Doofus, Bubba, and Gizmo Duck (who later became a natural ploy for Darkwing Duck, when in St. Canard). Daisy Duck never appears in Duck Tales that I'm aware, nor her triplet nieces April, May and June (the latter were only in several stories). Gyro and his mechanical helper were both from the comics where they worked numerous times for Mr. McDuck, but Gyro (and helper) most often soloed in short stories in the back of Uncle Scrooge comics. Cousin Gladstone Gander was sometimes partly a villain in the comics, usually competing with Donald over Daisy or personal dares. The Beagle Boys were more numerous, comically identical in appearance and behavior and belongled to a fraternity and union for criminals. Magica DeSpell was Italian (in the show she sounds Russian) and kept a shop of spells on Mt. Vesuvius. Scrooge had two full-time detectives keeping tabs on her latest shenanigans. Flintheart Glomgold was a resident of South Africa and not necessarily Scottish like Scrooge (Don Rosa had him of Boer/Afrikaner descent). He only featured in three Scrooge adventures by Barks, two were competitions for World's Richest Duck and in the other Glomgold was trying to beat Scrooge to an auction for a remote African mine (Don Rosa used the character extensively). The Beagle Boys wanted all Scrooge's money, Magica wanted Scrooge's keepsake first dime because she believed it'd give her special powers (she thought it the source of Scrooge's power and wealth, as a good luck charm) and Glomgold competed with Scrooge for status.

    Many episodes of Duck Tales are altered versions of Barks' Scrooge adventures. Before selling the printing rights to Disney comics recently, Gemstone Publishing began printing a Duck Tales graphic album series that would have included all the Barks stories adapted for the show (however, the company had been charging exorbitant prices for comics on high-quality paper more tailored to collectors). Uncle Scrooge comics were some of the best-selling in their heyday and also saw a bit of a comeback in the 80's/90's with Barks reprints and Don Rosa sequels to numerous classic Barks stories (Gemstone also started a Donald and Scrooge series that would have paired all the Barks' adventures that Rosa did sequels to with their follow-ups). Barks' work is more widely recognized and well-known in Italy, France, Scandanavia, and Germany.

    Duck Tales had quite a catchy soundtrack and some of the scenes where Huey, Dewey and Louie missed Donald are also rather touching.
  2. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    Other notable Barks protagonists include:

    Bombie the Zombie
    Captain Micron and Princess Teensy Teen
    Cornelius Coot (founder of Duckburg)
    Cura De Coco Indians
    Curator of the Duckburg Museum (a main character in 'The Golden Helmet')
    Doctor Thinknoble
    Donald as Super Snooper (superhero powers)
    Don Gaspar, Tina and the Senora, Panchita and Rolando
    Elephant Girls of Jumbostan
    Fanny Featherbrain
    Georgia Cornpone, aka 'Madame Triple-X'
    Glittering Goldie (Scrooge's old flame) and Blackjack (pet bear)
    Herbert (friend of the boys in early stories)
    Katie 'Hashknife Kate' Mallard and cowgirl granddaughter, Cyanide Charlie and Hardrock Joe
    King of Angkor Wat
    King Fulla Cola
    Longhorn Tallgrass
    Miss Quackfaster (Scrooge's secretary)
    Monsieur Mattressface of the Int'l Money Council
    Muchkale of Venus
    Opu Nui ('Big Tummy')
    Pablo Manyana
    Philo T. Ellic
    Prince Char Ming, aka 'Soy Bheen'
    Prof. Dustdiver, Royal Archaeological Society
    Prof. Molecule
    Ratchet Gearloose (Gyro's grandfather)
    Scotty McTerrier
    Samuel Goldfinch
    Scout Leader of the Junior Woodchucks (uses various titles with humerous acronyms)
    Seafoam McDuck, Bo'sn Pintail and Matey McDuck
    Sheik Arrabi
    Sheik Hassan Ben Happi
    Susy Swan and Deltoid Biceppa
    Cook Scrooge frequently heckles with over price of coffee
    Eccentric, cabbage-loving professor on stone ray island
    Thor, Odin, Vulcan, Hercules, and Harem of Duck Godesses (Aphrodites, Diana, etc.)
    A Guy Named Joe From Singapore (parrot)
    Barko (retired champion sled dog)
    Red Herring (a fox)
    Siwash and Tagalong (dogs)
    Yellowbeak (parrot pirate)
    Fireball the Mechanical Horse
    Manny & Co. (giant robots)
    Roscoe (a robot)
  3. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    Adapted by Barks to the Duckburg cast from Disney animation and newspaper strips:

    *Grandma Duck (Donald's paternal grandmother)- from the Donald Duck strip by Al Taliaferro
    *Gus Goose- from the animated short, 'Donald's Cousin Gus'- became Grandma Duck's lazy farm hand in the comics
    *Ludwig Von Drake- from 50's TV animation, made brief cameo in a one page gag by Barks (Taliaferro used Ludwig and Scrooge extensively in the strip)
    *Pete- from Disney theatrical shorts, used by Barks as a villain several times in early Donald adventures
    *Witch Hazel- from Donald Duck short, 'Trick-or-Treat', Barks' only direct adaptation of an animated short for the comics (used different gags/added characters)
    *Bolivar (Donald's dog)- from Disney theatrical shorts, adapted previously for the Donald strip
    *Donald's iconic 1934 Belchfire Runabout- first adapted for the strip from the Donald short, 'Don Donald'

    Grandma Duck had her own comic book series for awhile, 'Grandma Duck's Farm Friends', that included several covers contributed by Barks and a batch of stories he did the art and improved/rewritten scripts to. This was rare, though, as Barks usually drew his own scripted material, which was surprisingly an uncommon practice for comic books at the time. Grandma was used by Barks in the other comics as well, including a number of Christmas stories. Grandma Duck was resourceful and practical but not miserly like Scrooge, while Goldie had Scrooge's gold lust and edge but was extravagant (it's no wonder Scrooge never settled down!). For some reason Grandma Duck, like Daisy, didn't appear in any episodes of Duck Tales (that I'm aware). Grandma's kinfolk enjoyed recuperating at her farm from the busy pace of life in Duckburg, but usually ended up causing chaos for her routine, predictable life. Barks often contrasted her old-fashioned common sense with her comically more reckless kin.
  4. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    Barks' lost civilizations, some adapted for Duck Tales:

    The Asteroid Natives
    The Atlanteans
    The Gneezles
    The Menehunes
    The Peeweegahs
    The Plain Awfulians
    The Terries and the Fermies
    The Lost Valley of Tralla La
    Lost tribe of Incan mine guards
    Lost Oasis of the Queen of Sheba

    Barks villians:

    Angus McFiendy
    Azure Blue and Sharky the Lawyer
    Benzine Bazoony (crazed arsonist)
    The Bey of El Dagga
    Blackheart Beagle
    The Brutopian Consulate
    Chisel McSue and ancestor Swindle McSue (flashback)
    Copperhead McViper (last of the McViper Gang)
    El Jackel the Bedouin
    Foola Zoola
    Foulcrook and Slyviper
    Ghost of the Grotto
    The Gilded Man
    Grandpa Beagle
    Gu, the Abominable Snowman
    Hassan Ben Jaild
    The Hermit
    'Horseshoes' Hogg
    John D. Rockerduck
    JP McBrine
    J. Slick, realtor
    King Nevvawaza and the mad scientist
    The Larkies and the Sleeping Dragon
    The Lemming With the Locket
    The Maharajah of Hoopa Doola
    The Maharajah of Howdyustan
    The Maharajah of Swingingdore
    Mayor of Coca-Bola
    The Moonmen
    Neighbor Jones
    Phantom of Notre Duck
    Porkman DeLardo
    Prof. Batty, the 'flipism' theorist
    Prof. Sleezy
    Queen Cleopickerel (merduck)
    Queen of the Wild Dog Pack
    Raiders of No Issa
    Scrooge McDuck (early uses)
    Smorgasbord the Ogre and Beelzebub
    Soapy Slick
    Terror-of-the-River maniac
    Villianous wolf affected by Gyro's think box (tries to roast Donald)
    The Whiskervilles/Hound of the Whiskervilles
    Zippo the Quick-Change Artist

    Daisy's social club could cause problems for Donald and even Scrooge ('Clothes Make the Duck'), but were also charitable, such as in 'A Christmas for Shacktown'. April, May and June belonged to The Little Chickadees, competing against The Junior Woodchucks (battle of the sexes), though at the end of one story Donald and the boys quadruple-date Daisy and her nieces.
  5. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    For the shorter 2nd through 4th seasons of DuckTales (together 1/3 of the episodes), they got closer to the original flavor of Barks’ stories (continued in the show's spin-off, Darkwing Duck). Fenton Crackshell brought back aspects of Barks’ Donald, the animation became livelier and more Barks-like, and the writing had more Barksian pizzazz. The Beagle Boys’ varied personalities for the series also played out better in these later episodes, and Launchpad and other characters not in the comics are handled well (I was too hard on Launchpad’s earlier appearances- with Scrooge tamed down they often had him stealing the show, but there’s still enjoyable examples of this).

    The first season had some good episodes and, occasionally, aesthetics unique to that season (at its best), but the overall quality flux of that first run makes me want to see a ‘best of DuckTales’ edition, with creative editing specifically for the first season- especially where the earlier adaptations drastically understate the humor and storylines of their comic book prototypes. The capacity of animation is greater than comic books, and though Barks is one of the all-time masters in that medium, cartoon adaptations should actually be better (or why make them?). At the time, however, DuckTales did help raise the bar for quality of TV animation, starting the TV Cartoon Renaissance.

    Disney usually ended a series after 100 episodes, but eventually moved on to (what seems to me) a bit less-inspired material. In my opinion, DuckTales, Darkwing Duck and TaleSpin ought to have remained in production all these years. But they needed to refine down to their best output, as they did with DuckTales by its final seasons. The Disney Princess franchises go on for ever (sedated from their screen appearances, no less), so why not extremely charismatic characters like Scrooge and Darkwing?

    I think it’s interesting how Barks’ ducks looked and felt like animated characters. Barks was influenced by Floyd Gottfredson’s 1930’s Mickey Mouse newspaper serials, where Gottfredson intentionally brought the feel of animation to comics using fluid, accented pen strokes. Another factor was Barks’ role at Walt Disney Animation Studios during the late 30’s/early 40’s, co-creating classic Donald cartoons as a gag sketch artist, storyboard artist/writer and concept thinker-upper for new cartoons. Thus in addition to creating Scrooge and the cast of Duckburg for the comics, Barks was also a co-creator of the nephews and an early developer of Donald Duck.

    In Barks’ experience, the editors made him tone Scrooge down more and more over the years, rather than getting greater artistic freedom later, as with DuckTales. Likewise, Barks admitted this had a detrimental effect on his inspiration, as with the first season’s forced sentiment through their ‘every episode must have heart’ rule, to keep Scrooge tame. There’s actually some profound heart in the edgier, later batch when Scrooge has to wrestle more with his conscience, like the early Barks Scrooge stories. In my opinion, there ought to have been a better balance than the extremes of excessive censorship for certain all-ages entertainment of the past, and now complete lack of censorship for some ‘adult’ cartoon programs today.

    By the way, the only reason Barks didn’t use Gyro in Scrooge adventures for the Uncle Scrooge title, was because he wasn’t allowed to. The publishing company had a strange policy that there had to be at least one secondary story in every issue featuring a character not in the primary story, perhaps to imitate the success of Walt Disney’s Comics & Stories, which was actually due to Barks’ wild Donald ten-pagers (Uncle Scrooge likewise became one of the top-selling comics of its time). Thus this policy was the impetus for Barks’ creation of Gyro, but also forbid him from using the character with Scrooge in that title. Gyro at least got to work for Scrooge in Barks stories made for other titles, usually re-enforcing the money bin with disastrous results.
  6. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    More DuckTales trivia:

    Grandma Duck had a brief cameo in a crowd scene in a Kentucky Derby episode and Ludwig Von Drake is Launchpad’s post-traumatic psychiatrist in another.

    An episode with an Asian city that had roofs of gold reminded me of another Barks’ lost civilization, the Indonesian ‘City of Golden Roofs’, Tangkor Wat, a part-spoof of ‘The King and I’ (its king's listed under protagonists). The DuckTales episode’s prophecy-addict Sin-Sin seems like a duckette forerunner of Mulan. For ‘lost civilizations’ by Barks, I also didn’t mention treasure quests involving depopulated ruins, because I was listing characters, and I left out lost people groups from rescue/escape examples involving less cultural engagement.

    Earlier typo: ‘Sleeping Dragon’ is ‘Sleepless Dragon’, and ‘Larkies’ was intended by Barks to be ‘Harpies’, but was changed by the editors (even though from historical mythology), because they thought it sounded too much like ‘herpes’.

    I don't have access to a large number of Barks' final Comics & Stories 10-pagers, and I believe this batch included some shorter adventures abroad. I know John D. Rockerduck was from this batch, a re-incarnation (not literally) of Flintheart Glomgold.
  7. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    Re: Duck Tales and Carl Barks [In reply to] [​IMG]
    From the longest-existing and most complete site, here's a terrific art reference for every Barks duck tale: http://disneycomics.free.fr/index_barks_date.php

    Art reference for Don Rosa's duck tales, many sequels to some of the above: http://disneycomics.free.fr/index_rosa_date.php

    And some of Al Taliaferro's Donald newspaper strips (also offered on the D23 website): http://disneycomics.free.fr/index_taliaferro.php

    Translated examples of the closest artistic and storytelling successor of Barks, Danish comic creator Freddy Milton, from his homepage: http://www.freddymilton.dk/...ie_bliver_til_03.htm
    Examples of Milton handling other characters with the 'Barks touch', Milton's own characters, the dragon family Gnuff:http://www.freddymilton.dk/gnuffmovein/01.htm
    Woody Woodpecker:http://www.freddymilton.dk/comingblot/01.htmhttp://www.freddymilton.dk/happy_water/01.htm
    Daffy Duck:http://www.freddymilton.dk/daffy/01.htm

    Other European artists who used a Barks-influenced style were Dutch artist Ben Verhagen: http://coa.inducks.org/...hp?c=BVe&c1=date
    German artist Volker Reiche: http://coa.inducks.org/...hp?c=VRe&c1=date
    Dutch artist Daan Jippes (came to the US and worked as an animator and character designer for Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin): http://coa.inducks.org/...=DJi&c1=indirect
    Jippes actually directly and remarkably replicated the duckman's style for many duck-related comic covers, but often used other (in my opinion less-inspired) styles for covers and stories as well.

    Additionally, here's art references for many of the old Mickey Mouse adventure strips from the 30's, usually conceptualized, plotted, penciled, produced and rewritten by Floyd Gottfredson, sometimes inked and partly-scripted by others: http://disneycomics.free.fr/index_dailies.phphttp://disneycomics.free.fr/index_sunday.php
    Included in the dailies are examples from the 40's and later, drawn by Gottfredson in a freestyle/stretchy style, rather than the rounded, bubbly look of the 30's, with Mickey and Minnie's actual appearance and attire also changing drastically as in the cartoons at the time. From the 40's on, the strip was still drawn by Gottfredson but usually written entirely by screenplay and pulp fiction talent, Bill Wright.

    Italian comics creator Romano Scarpa, successor of this later, ‘stretchy’ style of Gottfredson: http://coa.inducks.org/...hp?c=RSc&c1=date
    Scarpa’s mouse stories often had a detective theme like the strip during the 40's (with Chief O' Hara, the extraterrestrial 'man of tomorrow' Eega Beeva, etc.). He also did Donald and Scrooge stories in this style, with some Barks influence on his art for the ducks. Scarpa added many new regularly-appearing characters to both casts.

    ..This is the artistic core of Disney-related comics that are largely overshadowed by the larger bulk of mediocre or less all-ages Disney printed material.

    William Van Horn is another with Barks influence, specifically Barks' earliest work, but his style is a little too loose for my taste, but still interesting. I remember being intrigued by his slightly adult-oriented Nervous Rex series, but haven't seen that for a long time.

    (This post was edited by Gareth708 on Apr 22, 2010, 5:59 PM)
  8. Dave Koch

    Dave Koch Cartoon Admin

    Oct 27, 2013
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    I remembered another Italian artist that I’ve only seen one story from, but used a great Barks style, Marco Rota: http://lambiek.net/...sts/r/rota_marco.htm He's done a series starring a Caledonian version of Donald and Daisy: http://coa.inducks.org/character.php?c=mcp Like Jippes, Rota used various styles, including those of Gottfredson and sometimes other, less interesting styles.

    See attachments below for antebellum cover with Donald and Daisy and potrait of Magica in Victorian attire, both very Barksian in style. Have to be logged in to view.

    Here's that Romano Scarpa link again, should work this time: http://coa.inducks.org/...hp?c=RSc&c1=date

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