Treasured Stories: “The Code of Duckburg” (1958)

« We never knew his name; we only knew him as “the good artist”. But his style spoke for him. He was instantly recognizable despite his anonymity — at once different from the other funny animal artists and better. » — Dwight R. Decker

The great Duck Man, Carl Barks, despite having little interest in the holiday, drew over two dozen Christmas-themed stories featuring Donald and his relatives (and wrote the bulk of them). Now, so very much has been written and said about Barks that I won’t bother to add much here. I’ll just let his work speak for itself and breathe. I opted for a lesser-known ten-pager, not coincidentally one of my favourites. “The Code of Duckburg” originally saw print in Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories no. 208 (Jan. 1958, Dell), but I’m using a more contemporary issue boasting better printing and a commendably tasteful colouring job, from Walt Disney’s Uncle Scrooge no. 317 (Jan. 1999, Gladstone). It must be said that the folks at Gladstone did right by the ducks — it was more of a labour of love than a strictly commercial venture.

Here’s a closer peek at a panel from page 3: just look at the joy on Roscoe’s face. Unlike Donald, his nephews are unfailingly kind to (other) animals, great and small. That’s what makes them such sterling exemplars of the Junior Woodchucks.
The issue of WDC&S where our story first appeared didn’t have a Holiday-themed cover, but this one reprinting it did. This is Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories no. 376 (Jan. 1972, Western); pencils by Tony Strobl and inks by Larry Mayer.

And as a bonus (there has to be a bonus!), here’s a look at a Barks model sheet. « The Barks sense of whimsy extended even to the model sheets he drew for other artists to follow. » I made it a larger image so that all the small details remain discernible. Happy Holidays, everyone!

-RG

Tentacle Tuesday: Duck Feathers!

« I read some of my stories recently and thought, ‘How in the hell did I get away with that?’ I had some really raw cynicism in some of them… » – Carl Barks

Like so many kids, I owe a lot of my interest in comics to Carl Barks, even though at the time I had no idea who he was – embarrassingly, up until today I’m not great at spotting his art. So much depends on what is available when one is growing up – and I used to enthusiastically dig through discarded piles of books at garage sales and whatnot, in quest for (among other things) for issues of Super Picsou Géant. Picsou is Uncle Scrooge’s French name, meaning something like “penny pincher”. These (true to their name) giant anthologies, just like pocket-book sized Archie compendiums, offered their readers pêle-mêle reprints of comic book stories both relatively new and also quite old, mixing prime Barks material with shitty European knock-offs with offerings by decent Barks disciples (see co-admin RG’s take on the latter).

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Just like a Picsou Géant, this post has a few Barks covers and stories, and a few submissions by other folk… all viewed through my usual tentacle-specific lens. Dive in!

DonaldDuck109
Donald Duck no. 109 (September 1966), cover by Larry Mayer. Minimal tentacles, but that clock was just too cute not to share.

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Uncle Scrooge no. 68 (March 1967), cover by Carl Barks.

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Hall of the Mermaid Queen is by Carl Barks.

Somewhat off topic, but I was quite amused by the ending of this story. Is this was Barks meant when he talked about raw cynicism? 😉

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Uncle Scrooge no. 70 (July 1967), cover by Carl Barks.

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The Doom Diamond, the cover story, is also by Carl Barks.

No Tentacle Tuesday post would be complete without mechanical tentacles:

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Donald Duck no. 118 (March 1968), cover by Tony Strobl on pencils and Larry Mayer on inks.

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The Mechanical Monster is scripted by Vic Lockman, which is almost an iron-clad guarantee of inventive goofiness. Penciled by Tony Strobl and inked by Steve Steere.

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Donald Duck no. 141 (January 1972), cover by Larry Mayer.

Donald Duck141-LarryMayer- The Tall-Tale Trail
The Tall-Tale Trail is penciled by Tony Strobl and inked by Larry Mayer.

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For this post, I wanted to concentrate on Gold Key publications, but at a later date there will be a follow-up post covering some other material.

~ ds