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March 27

March 27, 1901 – Cartoonist and Disney Legend Carl Barks is Born

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“I want to thank the Disney Studios for this [Disney Legends] award, not only for myself, but for all those comic book fans: the kids who used to buy those comic books for ten cents and now sell them for $2,000.”

On March 27, 1901, Carl Barks was born in Merrill, Oregon. His passion for drawing showed at an early age, and he would try to improve his style by copying the comics from the newspaper. After spending his teenage years and his twenties drifting from job to job, he decided to apply to the Disney Studios in 1935, and was hired as an inbetweener with a salary of $20 a week. He started submitting gag ideas, and was then moved over to the story department. As the Donald Duck short film series began to develop, Barks worked closely with Jack Hannah in creating several story ideas for the character, including such shorts as Donald’s Nephews and The Vanishing Private. However, the legend goes that Barks was having allergy problems from the air conditioning in the studio, and wanted to find work elsewhere within Disney that wouldn’t require him to be at the studio full time. In 1942, Barks and Hannah created a one-shot comic for Donald called “Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold,” which became the first original Disney comic book. This was the start of Barks’ career with the Donald Duck comics.

Barks was able to flesh out not only Donald’s character through the comics, but also the characters of Donald’s nephews; he also created new characters Gladstone Gander, a rival for Daisy’s affections, and his most famous creation, Scrooge McDuck. Scrooge’s first appearance was in “Christmas on Bear Mountain.” Other characters came along, including the Beagle Boys and Morgana, which are seen in the animated series Ducktales, based on Barks’ work. Barks’ stories were epic adventures, and he was known for doing thorough research on the regions in which the stories were set. It was also said that the opening sequence in the film Raiders of the Lost Ark was based on Barks’ work. Barks retired from the comics in 1966, and in 1991, Barks was awarded as a Disney Legend. He passed away in 2000 at the age of 99.

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