A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ESTERBROOK- Donald Duck Illustrator Carl Barks
aka “The Duck Man”
Carl Barks, is the once anonymous ”duck man” for Walt Disney whose draftsmanship and writing gained him a cult like following among artists and fans of Donald Duck comic books and of his very own creation, Scrooge McDuck. His exclusive use of an Esterbrook nib to draw his iconic illustrations is well known.
Mr. Barks detailed and witty adventure stories attracted a large following from 1942 to 1966, the years he drew comic books under license to Disney. Because Disney artists did not sign their work, most readers, who could spot his distinctive style at a glance, learned his name only after he retired and received attention from comic-book collectors. His fondness for Esterbrook fountain pens developed early in his career and he, like other illustrators during this era, used the Esterbrook brand exclusively.
Mr. Barks most famous creation, the fabulously wealthy Scrooge McDuck, is a native Scot who lives in a three-cubic-acre money bin and wears a red broadcloth coat that he bought in a rummage sale in 1924. Scrooge, a forerunner, however unintended, of today’s mergers-and-aquisitions executives, first appeared in 1947, in a story called ”Christmas on Bear Mountain.”
Other characters created by Mr. Barks are the Beagle Boys, masked burglars scheming after Scrooge’s loot; Gladstone Gander, Donald’s lucky cousin; the inventor Gyro Gearloose; and Gyro’s helper, a walking light bulb. Mr. Barks depicted Himalayan panoramas, downtown Atlantis or a Klondike saloon brawl in the confines of single cartoon panels.