Carl Barks' Lost Disney Comics (1940s-1960s)
|Carl Barks at his desk.|
Carl Barks (March 27, 1901 – August 25, 2000) was an American cartoonist, best known for his work in Walt Disney comic books. Just like all cartoonists who worked under Disney's contract, his name was not known for a long time. His style was, however, widely recognized and he was identified as The Good Duck Artist, a nickname he received once he came out of anonymity. He was the creator of many important characters who are still used today in Disney comics, such as Uncle Scrooge, The Beagle Boys, The Junior Woodchucks, Magica De Spell, and Gladstone Gander. Barks retired in 1966 (but continued working on scripts and writing stories until 1974), but lived long enough to become popular and seeing his art as being recognized. He wrote his final Uncle Scrooge story in 1994.
From 1942 to 1994, Barks produced approximately 693 stories. While most of the stories went on untouched, there were some that were changed by the company, for one reason or another, and four stories were completely shelved. Two of the missing stories, Silent Night (story #42, written in 1946) and The Milkman (story #376, written in 1957), have surfaced and have later been published (for the first time in 1976 and 1974, respectively) and later editors were able to retrieve and re-edit back some of the changes, but some of the material that was originally cut remains lost to this day and most of it was probably destroyed or junked.
- 1 Lifeguard Daze (original art)
- 2 The Firebug (original ending)
- 3 The Golden Christmas Tree (original version)
- 4 Voodoo Hoodoo (original version)
- 5 Golden Apples
- 6 Trick or Treat (still missing material)
- 7 Back to the Klondike (still missing material)
- 8 The Money Stairs (first ending)
- 9 Dogcatcher Duck (original version)
- 10 Land Beneath The Ground! (original uncut version)
- 11 Trapped Lightning (Huey, Dewey and Louie version)
- 12 Inventor of Anything (Donald Duck version)
- 13 Bobsled Race
- 14 The Madcap Mariner (cut page)
- 15 Stranger Than Fiction (cut material)
- 16 Mythtic Mystery (cut material)
- 17 Rug Riders in The Sky (cut material)
- 18 Useful websites
Lifeguard Daze (original art)
Carl Barks' official story #5, originally untitled but identified by fans as Lifeguard Daze was submitted 29 January 1943 and was published in June that same year in Walt Disney Comics and Stories 33. Donald is a lifeguard who is trying to impress a young lady. He convinces Huey, Dewey and Louie to prepare a fake shark, but in the meantime, a real shark attacks.
Western found that the lady that Donald is trying to impress had a chest that was too large, so they had Barks flatten it out. In the last page, this can be clearly seen in the scene in which the lady kisses Donald (there is a large gap between them). As Barks had to do the redrawing on the original papers, the original version is lost forever.
The Firebug (original ending)
Donald Duck - The Firebug is Barks' official story #46. Its submission date was 19 July 1945, and it was first published in One Shots 108 in 1946. Donald becomes a pyromaniac after receiving a shock from a violent shot in the head. Meanwhile, fires start around the city and his nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie try to find out if uncle Donald is really causing them or if it someone else. Eventually, it is discovered that the fires are not caused by Donald, and the real firebug gets arrested and processed.
In Barks' original story, Donald, still under the influence of the shot, set fire on the judge's wastepaper. The fire extends and burns out the court, so Donald gets arrested and goes to jail. Editors objected to this ending (Particularly because on the last panel, Donald was seen looking behind jail bars), so they had artist Carl Buttener redraw the last two panels, so that, in the new version, everything was just a bad dream. The original art has never surfaced and all the information about it came from interviews with Barks himself.
The Golden Christmas Tree (original version)
Donald Duck - The Golden Christmas Tree is Barks' official story #104. Its submission date was 30 June 1948 and it was first published in One Shots 203 that same year. Donald and his nephews are looking for a nice tree for Christmas, but a bad witch casts a spell that makes all Christmas trees disappear. Donald and his nephews engage a fight with the witch in order to save the Christmas spirit.
The story was originally conceived by Barks as a satire of Christmas commercialism, but as soon as the editors read the finished product they asked him to change parts of it. In the original ending, Donald killed the witch permanently, but the editors feared that this was too extreme for a comic book, so Barks had the witch transforming into a can of gasoline and Donald kicking her over the cliff of a mountain. Once Barks made the changes, the editors objected on other things as well and changed the dialogue of the last page. In later interviews, Barks said that while he thought the story idea was strong enough, the changes he had to make weakened it and that he still "gagged when he read the last page". Barks' original script is missing and additionally, the dialogue was probably changed on the original papers as well. Barks was later asked if he remembered what was the original dialogue, but sadly, he did not.
Voodoo Hoodoo (original version)
Donald Duck - Voodoo Hoodoo is Barks' official story #122. Its submission date was 3 March 1949, and it first appeared in One Shots 238 later that same year. Donald is pursued by a Zombie who gives him a voodoo curse, which was actually intended for Uncle Scrooge.
Regarded as one of Barks' creepiest stories, it did have some problems before its release. The editors decided to tone down the dialogue a bit (the word "dead" is replaced by "done for"), to remove some native dialect and, most importantly, the Zombie originally had blank eyeballs, which were changed because the Disney staff feared that this would have been too scary for children. Not only is the original version long lost, but some later reprints added other changes as well in the design of the natives, in order to make the story less politically incorrect. But this original version is only "not any more published", and not lost forever, as the original comic books and early translations in other countries still exist.
Donald Duck - Golden Apples is Barks' official story #189. Its submission date was 10 January 1952, and it was planned to be published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 144, in September 1952. The story was a parody of the myth of Atalanta and the golden apples.
The editors complained about this story because they felt that Daisy Duck's attitude towards Donald wasn't feminine enough. There was a running gag of her throwing apples at Donald whenever he tried to impress another woman. The story was thus shelved and put into the archives and Barks' untitled story identified by the fans as Spending Money which was planned for issue 145 was published instead. Unfortunately, today this story is lost and nobody seems to know what happened to it. When asked about it, Barks said that the only thing that he remembered was Daisy throwing apples at Donald and that it was set on a "queen of apple festival". Many attempts have been made to find this missing story, but, as of 2014, it sadly remains lost. Danish cartoonist Daan Jippes attempted a recreation in 2007, which was first published in the US in 2008 in Uncle Scrooge 377.
Trick or Treat (still missing material)
Donald Duck - Trick or Treat is Barks' official story #198. Its submission date was 31 March 1952, and it was first published in Donald Duck 26, in November 1952. It is Halloween and Huey, Dewey, and Louie are collecting candy. Donald decides to tease them and tells them that spirits and witches do not exist. Hazel the Witch helps his poor nephews to prove him wrong.
Based on a storyboard by cartoonist Jack Hannah, this story was originally commissioned by Disney Staff to Barks, but instead of following the storyboard closely, he added some gags on his own, because, according to him, the storyboard didn't have enough material to create a full length story. The final result was 32 pages. However, most of the changes were deemed as too creepy and were discarded by the editors. Trick or Treat premiered in November 1952, as a 23-page story. Having learned of the existence of the discarded materials, late editors tried to research the cut pages. In 1978 a short sequence was unearthed, and a partial reconstruction was published in Holland in Donald Duck numbers 8, 9, and 10. After more research, most of the missing material turned up, and was first released in 1980, in Italy in Complete Carl Barks 33. The reconstruction premiered in the US on The Carl Barks Library of Donald Duck Adventures in Color # 21 in September 1995. However, while most of the story was recovered, some of the missing sequences have not been found yet.
Back to the Klondike (still missing material)
Uncle Scrooge - Back to the Klondike is Barks' official story #205. Its submission date was 15 September 1952, and it was first published in One Shots 456/Uncle Scrooge 2 in March 1953. Uncle Scrooge's memory keeps failing, so he starts taking pills for this. As he takes the pills, he suddenly remembers something that happened a while ago in the Klondike, so he goes there in order to recover a debt with with his old flame Glittering Goldie. However, it seems that Scrooge still has a soft spot for her...
Often regarded by fans as one of Barks' best stories, this was another one that was severely cut by the editors before allowing it to be published. Barks originally submitted 32 pages, but, after surgery, they were reduced to 27. The sequences that Disney objected to are flashbacks in which Goldie drugs Scrooge's coffee in order to steal his "goose egg gold nugget". As Scrooge realizes that his gold has been stolen, he goes back to the ballroom and starts a brawl. Scrooge demands his nugget back, so Goldie throws it to his head. Since he finds out that more gold has been stolen, he makes her write an I.O.U. and takes her with him to make her work for a month, in order to pay her debt. Goldie eventually throws the money she earned in Scrooge's face. In a later cut sequence (non-flash back) Scrooge admits that he never kept out taxes on his propriety, so he can't report Goldie to the authorities. The story was later restored, for the first time in 29 years, in 1981 in order to be printed on Uncle $crooge McDuck: His Life and Times by Carl Barks # 1. While most of the material was indeed found, a half a page remained missing. In order to cover the hole, Barks redraw that section from memory, To this day, the original missing half a page has not been found yet.
The Money Stairs (first ending)
Carl Barks' official story #221, originally untitled but identified by fans as The Money Stairs was submitted 15 January 1953, and was published in October, in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 157. Scrooge insists with Donald that money can do everything, so Donald challenges him into climbing a mountain. Scrooge ends up winning the bet by building a giant pile of stairs using all of his money.
In the original ending, Scrooge made fun of Donald while they went back to town, remarking his victory to him. However, Barks wasn't quite satisfied with it; "I recall looking at the panel of Uncle Scrooge's money ramp and deciding it looked too IMPOSSIBLE to be real" he wrote to a fan in 1973. So he cut the last three panels and made a new ending in which Donald wakes up, realizing that everything was just a dream when Scrooge wanted to offer him a drink with a dime that was left from the stairs. All that survives from the first ending is one panel: the other two have been lost.
Dogcatcher Duck (original version)
Carl Barks' official story #291, originally untitled but identified by fans as Dogcatcher Duck was submitted 7 October 1954 and was published in January 1956 in Donald Duck 45. Donald is a dogcatcher, but does his job very unsuccessfully, often causing trouble. Interrupting a fox hunt, is the straw that breaks the camel, so he ends up escaping from Duckburg.
Barks originally submitted this short story as 8 pages. When it was finally published, the editors cut parts of the story in order to fit an announcement. They also reversed some panels in page #5. The removal of parts of the story created a plot hole: in page #4, Donald says that the police department is mad at him, but we don't see why in the final story. Barks was none too pleased with this and referred to the end result as a "bad jumbled mess". Unfortunately, the original version as written by Barks has never surfaced although reconstruction efforts have been able to put the panels in page #5 in the right order.
Land Beneath The Ground! (original uncut version)
Uncle Scrooge - Land Beneath The Ground! is Barks' official story #298. It was submitted 15 August 1956 and was published in Uncle Scrooge 13 in March 1957. Duckburg is constantly stricken by earthquakes so, Scrooge, along with his nephews investigates. They discover an underground cave in which there live strange creatures named Terries and Fermies who are responsible for the earth quakes.
Western Publishing had applied to the Post office for second-class mailing privileges for the Uncle Scrooge series and postal rules required the magazine featuring at least two stories with different characters as stars. Because of this, Barks started producing Gyro Gearloose stories but this also meant that he had to cut this story in order to fit space in the magazine. The cuts were made by Barks himself, who also tightened the story a little bit. After all the cleaning had been made, the story was reduced from 32 pages to 27. To replace some panels in order to bring consistency to this now 27 pages story, Barks drew new panels, notably featuring a one-mile-length lake in which Donald and Scrooge fall. Most of the original cut pages has bean found, with only one page and a half being missing. Actually, the redrew panels are on the contrary very difficult to find today, because new copybooks always feature the fixed, 30 pages and a half version.
Trapped Lightning (Huey, Dewey and Louie version)
Carl Barks' official story #299, originally untitled but identified by fans as Trapped Lightning and featuring Gyro Gearloose was submitted 1 September 1955, and was published in Uncle Scrooge 13 in March 1956. During a storm, Gyro catches lightning in order to use its electricity. Things do not go as well as planned.
Originally, Donald's nephews were helping Gyro in the experiment, but because of the aforementioned postal rules, he had to remove them (as they were already featured in the previous story), so he replaced them with Morty and Ferdie, Mickey Mouse's nephews. This was the only time he used the characters and Barks actually only did one Mickey Mouse story during his career. The original Huey, Dewey, and Louie version has never surfaced, because Barks glued the new drawings of Morty and Ferdie on the original panels with the ducks !
Inventor of Anything (Donald Duck version)
Carl Barks' official story #307, originally untitled but identified by fans as Inventor of Anything and featuring Gyro Gearloose was submitted 1 October 1955 and was published in Uncle Scrooge 14 in June 1956. Gyro is tired of the misbehaviour of his neighbors, so he builds an instant wall who separates him from them. Unfortunately, the wall is slightly on the neighbor's propriety, so he has to find a solution.
Originally, Donald Duck appeared as a co-protagonist, but because of the aforementioned postal rules, he was replaced with a character named Speedy who drove Donald's car and had the same clothes. The character never appeared again and the original version has never surfaced.
Donald Duck - Bobsled Race is Barks' official story #328. Its submission date was 15 December 1955, and it was planned to be published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 196, in January 1957. The story depicted a bobsled race between Donald and his nephews.
In a letter from June 4, 1956, editor Alice Cobb asked Barks to tone down a bit the conflicts between the ducks because a mother had complained about Donald Duck telling his nephews to shut up in the final panel of the untitled story identified as The Ice Taxi, published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 186, March 1956. This is likely the reason for which this story was shelved. Barks never gave more information about what happened in the story and while there have been many attempts to track it down, it remains unfound to this day. There is a theory that Barks reworked parts of this story in what is identified by the fans as Statues of Limitations, the story that got published in place of Bobsled Race, but this has never been confirmed.
The Madcap Mariner (cut page)
Donald Duck - The Madcap Mariner is Barks' official story #521. It was submitted 11 July 1960 and was published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 247 in April 1961. Scrooge wants to win a cod fishing competition, so he gives Donald, his nephews and Gyro a ship in order to take the fill the hold.
The original story had 10 pages, but one was cut by the editors in order to make room for an advertisement. Barks was reportedly enraged by the cut because he felt they took away the best gag. Unfortunately, the missing page has never surfaced and Barks has never described what the best gag consisted of.
Stranger Than Fiction (cut material)
Donald Duck - Stranger Than Fiction is Barks' official story #530. It was submitted 31 October 1960 and was published in Walt Disney's Comics and Stories 249 in June 1961. Donald doesn't like his nephews enthusiasm for science fiction, but then discovers that Gyro has built a machine for teleportation, which is based on one described in the science fiction magazine Huey, Dewey, and Louie were reading. Donald tries to teleport from Gyro's laboratory to his house, but the electricity fails and he gets stuck in the machine.
The original story had 10 pages, but once again, material was cut by the editors in order to make room for an advertisement. Barks never commented on what material was cut from the story.
Mythtic Mystery (cut material)
Uncle Scrooge - Mythic Mystery is Barks' official story #531. It was submitted 12 October 1960 and was published in Uncle Scrooge 34 in June 1961. A storm drags Uncle Scrooge and his nephews into a small planet which is getting closer to the earth. People living on that planets look like ancient Gods, but are actually earthlings who got dragged on the planet centuries ago.
Barks' original story had 16 pages, but Western cut some material in order to make room for different advertisements. They removed a number of panels that shortened the story into 14 pages. Barks' reaction was very bitter; in a 1961 letter to a fan he wrote that his "chin hit my knees when I saw that big half-page stupender I did of Thor and Vulcan and a nephew riding above the busiest street corner in Duckburg in the golden chariot missing. Thor's horses terrified, thousands (at least) of people gaping upward in disbelief. Autos bumper-to-bumper, smoking, clanking. In short, I gave Vulcan something to be scared about. All wasted effort". Unfortunately, the missing art was never found.
Rug Riders in The Sky (cut material)
Uncle Scrooge - Rug Riders in the Sky is Barks' official story #620. It was submitted 26 December 1963 and was published in Uncle Scrooge 50 in July 1964. Magica de Spell discovers a flying rug in Baghdad, but since she can't afford it, she makes Scrooge buy it with the intention of stealing it afterwards.
Originally, the story was 17 pages, but the editors removed one to make room for advertisements. In March 25, 1989 notes for "The Carl Barks Library", Barks gave a description of the missing material as "a gag sequence of the ducks chasing east after Magica, who runs out of 'fuel' and has to land the carpet in the desert. That would have been about page 13. No doubt readers got more pleasure from the Bullwinkle Cheerios ad that was made possible by the scrapping of that page". Once again, the missing material has never been recovered.