THE BOY AND BARKS 2
Reference to the autobiographical novel 'The Boy who Loved Carl Barks' chapter 6
I was only six years old and had not learned to read in December 1954, when 'Solohaefte No. 19' was released. About the same time as I started getting the monthly magazine publishing of these specials was introduced, which meant that there was a booklet of Disney series fortnightly. Those I did not all get but a part of them. Here were sometimes longer stories, also made by my favorite artist.
There was admittedly only Walt Disney's name mentioned on the cover, but he could hardly manage to draw all the series himself, especially if there were to be made two magazines each month? The style was not quite the same all over. I paid so much attention to drawing style that I quickly understood that there were different artists, where my favorite was by far the best.
'Christmas in Shacktown' was not the first in the long series of good accounts. There had also been memorable adventures as the horse radish story and 'Donald Duck and the Golden Helmet'. Two months later 'No such Varmint was being released'. It, too, came to belong to my favorite stories.
What I intuitively felt in the Christmas story was the social awareness. It was not something the artist could afford to go in depth with, since the demand for entertainment was too dominant. The stories should above all be fun.
In a later reprint the local publishers got cold feet and omitted the introduction, which tells about the poor children who live on life's dark side. It was soon clear to me that the artist was a deeply moral storyteller, although I did not know the words. There should be some justice in things, even though the stories were exaggerated.
These stories linked to an ancient tradition, namely the animal fables. Dressed in animal shape the narrator can present attitudes, you may not be able to get away with if you let human figures do the same. But with animals, it is okay.
The first part of the story is dealing with the ducks trying to collect money for a Christmas party for the children in Shacktown. Donald is trying to lure money from Uncle Scrooge, but the paper banknote is eaten by the rat, he used to raise the money with, because he has put banknote in the same pocket as the rat.
Gladstone Gander also appear. All Duckburg's supporting characters are inventions of the guy, I later found out was called Carl Barks. Only Donald, Daisy, the nephews and cousin Gus were characters he took over. In the short cartoons, they appear in snappy comical routines without any further depth. There is no place for that in the seven minutes of playing time, but in a comic book there is. In addition, you determine your own reading pace, a good thing comics share with literature. You can stop and think about things and check if the logic holds. An important advantage.
The Boy and Barks 1 The Boy and Barks 2 The Boy and Barks 3