Obsession Check-In: COMICS

Tue 10/18/2011

I feel like this blog has gotten kind of "press release-y" lately, so I thought I would write a few short blog posts about the various things I'm obsessed with. Up first... COMICS!

I grew up reading Disney comics and it has been heart breaking for me to see how poorly they have been treated in this country over the last 20 years. In any other country in the world there are weekly kids magazines filled with Disney comics that sell in the millions. Kids in America have had a hard time getting their hands on Disney comics because they have changed publishers half a dozen times, and they are usually horribly produced with very little respect given to the original source material (with a few rare exceptions here and there).

Ask any of my CCS students, and they will tell you that I am completely obsessed with Carl Barks. I have been reading his comics since I was a little kid, but over the last couple of years I have been painstakingly tracking down all ten volumes of The Carl Barks Library, which collects all 6,000+ pages of Barks's Disney comics. I now have nine of the ten volumes, have read thousands of pages of his comics, and can safely say that in my professional opinion he is the greatest American cartoonist that ever lived.

I could easily write a whole post about the brilliance of Barks (and probably WILL, at some point down the road!) but for now I will just say that this December Fantagraphics is releasing the first volume of a NEW Carl Barks Library, which is going to finally, finally, FINALLY put Barks's work back into print in America, in an accessible full-color format.

I'm a little uneasy about the cover image they have chosen for the first book (I would prefer some design element that specifically states that this book will be part of a 30-volume series dedicated to Bark's life work - maybe it's on the spine?) but I will say that I have purchased both volumes of their reprints of Floyd Gottfredson's Mickey Mouse newspaper strips, which are some of the most beautifully designed books I have ever seen. I trust that Fantagraphics knows what they are doing and I am confident the book will be great.

So please, if you have a kid in your life, PLEASE, for ME, buy them this book! And if you have never read any Barks and you don't understand why I'm being so crazy about this, buy one for yourself. I can personally guarantee that you won't regret it!

In other comics news, I am slowly making my way through the piles and piles of awesome comics that I picked up at various shows this year (I'm currently reading stuff I got at MoCCA back in April). I thought I would try something new, so I'm going to be putting up links to really good minis that I read in my twitter account. Check it out for some scattered minicomic recommendations!

Next obsession check-in: WEEZER

5 comments on this entry

I probably have "Lost in the Andes" in at least two forms already, but I'm totally buying this book as soon as it comes out -- and the rest of the series to come.

I haven't picked up the Gottfredson books yet, but some day soon they will be mine.

Hey Alec, thanks for the great plug! Our thinking behind the cover design is that we want casual readers to feel comfortable picking up volumes here and there without feeling like they're committed to a whole 30-volume series. We really want to bring Barks's genius to a general reading audience beyond the hardcore fans (and hopefully turn them into hardcore fans in the process).

That's a smart approach Mike. The more people that pick up these books, the better! I'm sure you guys will come up with some way to make the series hang together, design-wise. Thanks again for publishing this very important work!

Alec Oct18

I haven't read Barks' stories since I was a kid myself, so I'm really looking forward to going through them again with my son.

Cam Oct19

Barks is amazing, all right. He was probably the first comicker whose work I learned to recognize immediately (although I didn't learn his name for decades afterwards). To think that I bought "The Golden Helmet," "The Gilded Man," and "The Golden Fleecing" for one thin dime apiece at Mr. Feeney's store, in the early 1950s, in what was then the little town of Irving, Texas.
Like you, I'm really excited about Fanta's program of reprinting Barks and am preordering the titles as soon as they appear.

Al B. Wesolowsky Oct19

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