Traces of graphite – Carl Barks 4


My most valuable graphite-related possession, by many measures, must be a signature of Carl Barks. I don’t think I own any other graphite-related article that has such an extreme graphite-to-impressiveness ratio as his signature. A few micrograms1 of graphite can be so fantastic!

Signed by Carl Barks in spring 1997 in his home in Grants Pass (Oregon)

Carl Barks, born in 1901 in Oregon, invented Duckburg, Scrooge McDuck and many other characters from the Duck-universe. Disney comics don’t seem to be very popular in North America any more, where they have been replaced by superhero comics long ago. Unfortunately, Disney comics are not popular in the UK either, but in Continental Europe it’s an entirely different story. More or less every adult is familiar with the characters invented by Carl Barks. In Finland the Mickey Mouse Magazine is2 the best selling weekly publication – and in the Scandinavian countries and in Germany Donaldists research all things Barks-related. His stories are timeless and fantastic treasures.

  1. This is a pure guess. If you know how many milli-, micro- or nanograms of graphite are in a line of graphite of a certain width and length on paper, please let me know. []
  2. …or at least was, this might have changed since I read this a few years ago… []

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4 thoughts on “Traces of graphite – Carl Barks

  • Claire

    Impressive indeed!
    By the way, how do you store the actual piece of graphite work? Is the wear noticeable after 14 years?

    About the weight, I’d say the signature contains on the order of magnitude micrograms of graphite, assuming one stroke in the capital C measures 1cm, the pencil point being 0.5mm thick, a layer of writing being 10^(-6) cm (the largest source of error!), and given the density of graphite being about 2g/cm^3.

  • Kevin

    I new Claire would give you a scientific answer. Never heard of Carl Barks (ignoramus that I am).. I was thinking this might be a humorous Karl Marx. Looks like a Blackwing??

  • Marco Venturini-Autieri

    I’m Italian, I live in England since 2003. I can clearly remember the first of a long line of disappointments I had with this Country: not finding Donald Duck’s comics in the newsstands. I thought (I was sure) that being the original comics American, the absence of language barrier would have made the spread of my favourite comics even more capillary than it was (it is) in Italy. Instead… nothing, zero.

  • Matthias Post author

    Thank you for your kind comments.

    Claire, it’s framed an on the wall. The signature is under a print of his Scrooge McDuck pencil drawing. It was part of a calendar with his oil painting, but I took the signed sheet out and got it framed.

    Kevin, I’m not sure what pencil it was, but it looks as if the point wasn’t round, so I wonder whether the pencil was sharpened with a pen knife.

    Marco, I share your disappointment. I had a subscription to the German “LTB” for a while, delivered to the UK, to compensate for my disappointment. The LTB is basically full of stories taken form the Italian Topolino magazine, with maybe one story each issue from Denmark, e.g. by Massimo Fecchi. Last year Lexikaliker mentioned the LTB (Lustiges Taschenbuch) and a story by Guido Martina/Massimo De Vita in a blog post.
    In the UK there were Disney comics until the late 1980s / early 1990s. There were some comics after 2000, but they were non Donald/Mickey, e.g. Witch. About two years ago there was the Literature Classics series in the UK with Donald/Mickey comics, but you only got around 60 pages for £5, which is very expensive compared to the continent, so I didn’t buy any.