Carl Barks (March 27, 1901 – August 25, 2000) was one of the most prominent Disney comics authors of all times.
Carl Barks, initially a professional artist (though he had had various odd jobs, including launching a chicken plant), was hired by the Walt Disney Studios in 1935. He worked as an inbetweener (an animator who helps the 'chief' animator of a scene by drawing the intermediary frames), but by 1937 began to submit gag ideas to the Donald Duck cartoon series, and soon became one of the head storymen along with Jack Hannah. During this period, Barks contributed to the creation of Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck and also outright created Gus Goose and Daisy Duck. In 1942, Barks and Hannah co-penned the art of some of the first Disney comic books, Pluto saves the ship and his first Donald Duck comic, Donald Duck Finds Pirate Gold. When he quit the animation business later that year, this inspired him to get hired by Western Publishing as a comic artist.
Among the series he was asked to draw for was, again, Donald Duck, and, despite attempting to use other characters (such as MGM's Barney Bear and Benny Burro and Warner Brothers' Porky Pig), he soon focused on the Ducks. He was initially given scripts and only asked to illustrate them, but after he suggested improvements of his own to the first script he was assigned (The Victory Garden), Western encouraged him to write his own scripts. Over the years, Barks created several new prominent characters, including Scrooge, the Beagle Boys, Flintheart Glomgold and Gladstone Gander.
In 1967, he retired from cartooning, but kept sending sketched story plots to the publishing company, who assigned other artists (such as Tony Strobl) to draw them. His last single-handed script was Horsing around with History, which was drawn by William Van Horn in 1994. However, Barks kicked around an ultimate project, meant to be a Donald Duck ten-pager entitled Somewhere in Nowhere. With help from fellow writer John Lustig, Barks worked his basic plot into a 28-pages-long tale which was published on November the 1st, 2000, two months after Barks's passing (on the 25th August). The initial Barks-only script was eventually drawn too, in 2010, with once again help by John Lustig, as Somewhere Beyond Nowhere.
Influence on other artists
Along with the likes of Floyd Gottfredson, Carl Barks was one of the most influential Disney comics artists. In addition to his expansion of the world of Donald Duck through his creation of multiple major recurring characters and major locations, he influenced many other Disney comics artists such as Don Rosa and Daan Jippes, among many others. Outside of official Disney work, he inspired Underground comics, although he himself despised them. He praised the artist Vicar highly for his perfectionism. He also liked the character of Brigitta MacBridge, created by Romano Scarpa.