Carl Barks

Carl Barks bigraphy, stories - Illustrator, comic book creator

Carl Barks : biography

March 27, 1901 – August 25, 2000

Carl Barks (March 27, 1901 – August 25, 2000) was an American cartoonist, best known for his comics about Donald Duck and as the creator of Scrooge McDuck. He worked anonymously until late in his career; fans dubbed him The Duck Man and The Good Duck Artist. In 1987, Barks was one of the three inaugural inductees of the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.

Barks worked for the Disney Studio and Western Publishing where he created Duckburg and many of its inhabitants, such as Scrooge McDuck (1947), Gladstone Gander (1948), the Beagle Boys (1951), The Junior Woodchucks (1951), Gyro Gearloose (1952), Cornelius Coot (1952), Flintheart Glomgold (1956), John D. Rockerduck (1961) and Magica De Spell (1961). Cartoonist Will Eisner called him "the Hans Christian Andersen of comic books."

Art materials

Barks was an enthusiastic user of Esterbrook pens. He particularly used a Nº 356 model to ink and letter his Donald Duck comic-book pages.

Notable stories

  • "Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold", Four Color #9, October 1942
  • "The Mummy’s Ring", Four Color #29, September 1943, presciently dealt with the repatriation of antiquities to their country of origin. This has become a major issue in the contemporary art world and among museums (an example is the dispute between Yale and Peru over artifacts from Machu Picchu)
  • "Christmas on Bear Mountain", Four Color #178, December 1947, first appearance of Scrooge McDuck.
  • "The Old Castle’s Secret", Four Color #189 June 1948
  • "Sheriff of Bullet Valley", Four Color #199, October 1948
  • "Lost in the Andes!", Four Color #223, April 1949
  • "Vacation Time", Vacation Parade #1, July 1950
  • "A Financial Fable", Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #126, March 1951
  • "Donald Duck in Old California!", Four Color #328, May 1951
  • "A Christmas for Shacktown", Four Color #367, January 1952
  • "Only a Poor Old Man", Four Color #386 (Uncle Scrooge #1), March 1952
  • "Flip Decision", Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories #149, June 1952
  • "The Golden Helmet", Four Color #408, July 1952
  • "Back to the Klondike", Four Color #456 (Uncle Scrooge #2), March 1953
  • "Tralla La", Uncle Scrooge #6, June 1954
  • "The Fabulous Philosopher’s Stone", Uncle Scrooge #10, June 1955
  • "The Golden Fleecing", Uncle Scrooge #12, December 1955
  • "Land Beneath the Ground!", Uncle Scrooge #13, March 1956
  • "The Money Well", Uncle Scrooge #21, March 1958
  • "The Golden River", Uncle Scrooge #22, 1958
  • "Island in the Sky", Uncle Scrooge #29, March 1960
  • "North of the Yukon", Uncle Scrooge #59, September 1965


Barks was born in Merrill, Oregon to William Barks and his wife Arminta Johnson. He had an older brother named Clyde. Barks once stated that his paternal ancestors were Dutch and his maternal ancestors were Scottish. His paternal grandparents were David Barks and his wife Ruth Shrum. His maternal grandparents were Carl Johnson and his wife Suzanna Massey, but little else is known about his ancestors. Barks was the descendant of Jacob Barks who came to Missouri from North Carolina around 1800. They lived in Marble Hill in Bollinger County. Jacob Barks’ son Isaac was the father of the David Barks noted above. Source 1850 census, Goodspeed’s History of Southeast Missouri, 1888.


According to Barks’ description of his childhood, he was a rather lonely child. His parents owned one square mile (2.6 km²) of land that served as their farm. The nearest neighbor lived half a mile (800 m) away, but he was more an acquaintance to Barks’ parents than a friend. The closest school was about two miles (3 km) away and Barks had to walk that distance every day. The rural area had few children, though, and Barks later remembered that his school had only about eight or ten students including him. He had high praise for the quality of the education he received in that small school. "Schools were good in those days," he used to say. The lessons lasted from nine o’clock in the morning to four o’clock in the afternoon and then he had to return to the farm. There he remembered not having anybody to talk to, as his parents were busy and he had little in common with his brother.