Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: "Only a Poor Old Man"

Scrooge 4

Scrooge 5I've written about the great cartoonist Carl Barks before. If I were forced to get rid of all comic books and comic book anthologies except for the works of one artist, I would save Carl Barks and (tearfully) toss everything else.

Ruben Bolling and I spend an inordinate amount of time on Gweek singing the praises of the late Carl Barks. A Carl Barks duck story (he wrote and drew them in the 1940s-1960s) is funny and unpredictable and strong on both character and plot. His art is expressive and perfectly rendered. My children love to have me read Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge comics to them, especially the ones with the "kids" (Huey, Dewey, and Louie). Barks created the miserly tycoon Uncle Scrooge, who in my opinion is the greatest comic book character ever invented.

Scrooge 2I own Carl Barks' work in several different formats. I think the best way to read Barks is via The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library, published by Fantagraphics. Fantagraphics has published two hardcover volumes so far. The first is Walt Disney's Donald Duck: "Lost in the Andes", and the second is Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: "Only a Poor Old Man". Both are full-color, 240 page hardbacks that sell for about $16 each on Amazon. It's a steal, considering the value I've gotten out of them.

If you have never read Carl Barks before, do yourself a favor and get your hands on his work (everyone from Steve Martin to Robert Crumb cite Barks as a treasure of American literature). If you already own a few Barks comics, you will no doubt appreciate the gorgeous production that went into the making go these volumes.

Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge: "Only a Poor Old Man", by Carl Barks



  1. Thanks for the recommendation Mark. Btw you have a typo… unless you have dyslexia. “1940s-1096s” => “1940s-1960s”

    1. 1940s-1096s = 844s
      1940s-1960s = -20s

      Yup, “1940s-1096s” is definitely greater than “1940s-1960s”.

  2. I was obsessed with Disney comic when I was a kid and had a huge-ish collection I amassed over years. Carl Barks (and Don Rosa) was a hero to me. I may have to order these books and dust off the old collection…

  3. Growing up, Carl Barks was known to me as “Unca Carl” (what my mom called him) and Unca Don (Don Rosa, the other duck great) I still have all the full sized versions of the big stories (Lost in the Andes, etc) that I had when I was a kid- they’ve held up surprisingly well given how much I read and reread them. I also have many, MANY of the traditional comic book versions of the shorter carl barks and don rosa duck-world- they occupy almost a whole shelf on my bookcase.
    I thought for years the Marianas trench was actually called the Marinara trench, because 90% of my history and geography came from comics. I still kind of think of it as that.  
    Also, have you seen this amazing handmade minature money bin? Someone certainly earned their Junior Woodchucks patch for crafts:

  4. I enjoyed your discussion about these on Gweek. Haven’t had a chance to check them out yet, but the cover art (especially for Lost in the Andes) is great.

  5. Carl Barks was my childhood comics hero long before I knew his name. Still is, with the addition of George Herriman and Winsor McCay to the pantheon.

    My mom has sworn for years that she did NOT donate my Scrooge and Donald trove to the hospital… But many searches through their attic have never turned it up. I’m visiting this week, probably will look again…

    In recent years, it’s occurred to me that the iPhone/Pad + Google is the closest I’ll ever get to my dream of owning a copy of the Junior Woodchucks’ Manual, the book that knows everything about everything.

    I also own a bunch of Barks collections, including huge, expensive hardbacks from Abbeville Press and Celestial Arts. The Fantagraphics volumes are by far the best yet.

  6. German “donaldists” are fun, probably because Dr. Erika Fuchs’s translations of the Barks comics were particularly charming. “Überall ist Entenhausen.”

  7. “I think there’s something really sexy about Scrooge McDuck…” 

    (My favourite line from my favourite movie, Last Days of Disco.)

  8. Mark do you know the Donaldist movement?


    In Germany members of the group who are well known journalists managed to produce headlines in the culture section of one of the most prestigious German newpapers (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), that contained direct references to Carl Barks comics.

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