Saturday, March 26, 2011

Just Ducky

That's me holding the 2nd book of Volume X of my Carl Barks Library from Another Rainbow, along with the slipcases and books for all ten sets, three hardcovers per volume. I started collecting this when Volume I came out 1984, and just the other day finished it when I was finally able to get my hands on the elusive Volume X.

I was, obviously, a much younger man when these started coming out, and diligently set aside my money to make each purchase as it arrived. If memory serves, each one of the first nine sets was in the vicinity of $200. But then 1990 rolled around and, even though it was published, the final set never came to the store I used. In those pre-internet days, I had no idea what had happened, and searches for the books were always fruitless. But I always carried those other nine with me, no matter where I lived, hopeful that one day I'd be able to fill in the final blank.

In the past few years, I think I'd managed to find the books online three or four times, but I was always too late. And then I found it on eBay last year and promptly bid a nice, safe, high number. Which wasn't enough. So when I found it again this February, I made sure that the bid I put in was higher, beyond safe, and it turned out that even that was only about $15 higher than I needed. I'm not the only one who's been looking for this.

Here's my understanding: Another Rainbow was absolutely meticulous with this, doing a remarkable job of recreating all the covers, many of Barks' original oil paintings, scholarly and historical articles about Barks and his work, and all of his Duck stories (including some that needed re-creating or other work because of original editing or loss). But then, midway through putting the final volume together, Disney yanked the licence, and they had to rush it out. Some of the covers are poorly shot and color-controlled, and I would guess that the print run was probably smaller, although I don't have verification of that. I do find it interesting that Volume V in the link in the paragraph above this one is actually the most expensive set, aside from the one that was signed by Barks.

In my mind, the two greatest funny animal comic people of the 20th century were Walt Kelly, who did the strip Pogo, and Carl Barks, who not only drew the adventures of Donald Duck and his family, but created such iconic characters as Scrooge McDuck, the Beagle Boys, and Gyro Gearloose. Pogo was the strip (and yes, I know also a comic book, but the strip was better) and the Ducks were comic books. They were above everything else, and not just in funny animals. And now, finally, I've completed at least one small portion of what Barks did, and who thought it would have been almost as hard as trying to collect all of his originals?

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