“I have spent 17 years in the dark, wondering what the readers of my stuff really wanted,” wrote Barks to Willits. “It would be an enlightening experience to talk to one. In the event you phone, my wife will answer the call, my hearing aids which are okay for ordinary conversation are shuttery for telephonic jazz.”

— The great Disney artist Carl Bark, on how he was discovered by fandom, revealing a world long before today’s creator/fan echo chamber feedback loop existed. Barks was perhaps the greatest beneficiary of the fannish impulse, and its greatest discovery.


  1. “Your information about other artists and writers in the comic book field is gratefully received. I can understand why the information is limited. The homeside working habits of the ilk compels them to be secretive about their business. That starts with a defensive wall against the neighborhood kids and extends without conscious effort to the outside world. Recognition is fine if the rewards are high enough to repay a man for loss of privacy and freedom of expression. That last is important. The guy who is completely incognito can let a lousy piece of work go off his drawing board without worrying about what the reading public will think of him.”

  2. I met Barks once. I can’t remember what the event was, but I do know it wasn’t focused on comics.

    Anyway, he and his wife were sitting at the table and I got something autographed. Both of them were genuinely curious as to what my favorite Duck story was (“Pirate Gold”), and were as charming, down-to-earth, and just plain nice as one would hope.

  3. I can’t imagine an artist today signing up to illustrate comic books and tolerating complete anonymity. Those days are gone.