The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library
Fantagraphics launched the Complete Carl Barks Disney Library with Lost in the Andes in December 2011. Since then, they have released two volumes each year. The volumes in this library are numbered chronologically, but they are being released in a different order. For example, the first volume released, Lost in the Andes, is volume 7. Carl Barks Disney comics were published between 1942 and 1966. When the Complete Carl Barks Disney Library is completed, it will have around 30 volumes. Carl Barks is in the Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame, and he is a Disney Legend which makes this library essential reading for Disney Duck Fans as well as all Disney and comic book fans.
The Old Castle’s Secret
The Complete Carl Barks Disney Library Vol. 6: The Old Castle’s Secret was released by Fantagraphics in May 2013.
The illustrations that make up the cover of this book are both from The Old Castle’s Secret story.
This edition of the Carl Barks library is 226 pages, and it includes 22 stories that were published between 1948. There are also some supplement sections with a short biography on Carl Bark’s life as well as behind the scenes pictures and stories about each and every story that is included in this edition. It is full of great and interesting information. I am glad that it is included in this volume and every volume of the Carl Barks Library.
Carl Barks Library Vol. 6 is available in hardcover and Kindle\Comixology versions. A link to buy this book can be found at the end of this review.
This volume is also available in a set coupled with Carl Barks Library Vol. 5.
The next new release in this series Carl Barks Library Vol. 20, The Mines of King Solomon, will be released in May 2019.
There are 20 Disney Duck stories included in The Old Castle’s Secret:
- The Old Castle’s Secret
- Bird Watching
- Horseshoe Luck
- Wintertime Wager
- Watching the Watchman
- Going Ape
- Darkest Africa
- Bean Taken
- Sorry to Be Safe
- Spoil the Rod
- Rocket Race to the Moon
- Donald of the Coast Patrol
- Gladstone Returns
- Sheriff of Bullet Valley
- Best Laid Plans
- The Genuine Article
- Links Hijinks
- Pearls of Wisdom
- Foxy Relations
The Old Castle’s Secret marks the second appearance of Scrooge McDuck in comics. His first appearance was Christmas on Bear Mountain which can be found in the Carl Barks Disney Library Vol. 5. This is a popular comic as it is also the first time that Scrooge takes Donald and his nephews on an adventure for treasure. The story also reveals for the first time that Scrooge is from Dismal Downs in Scotland, and that he is the last of Clan McDuck. Scrooge is after Sir Quackly McDuck’s treasure which is believed to be hidden in the walls of Castle McDuck. Scrooge brings an X-ray machine with them to help in the search. Sir Quackly’s ghost tries to steal the treasure back, but is it really his ghost? He would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for the meddling nephews.
Bird Watching is a one page story about Donald taking his nephews bird watching in the park. Unfortunately for him, he identifies two old crows that don’t appreciate being called old crows.
Donald finds a horseshoe on the sidewalk in one page story Horseshoe Luck, but Donald doesn’t believe that throwing the horseshoe over the fence will bring him any bad luck.
On a warm picnic day in July, Donald made a wager with Gladstone that he would swim in a lake on Christmas Day. On Christmas Day in Wintertime Wager, it is 35 degrees below 0. If Donald doesn’t swim in the lake, Gladstone will own the deed to Donald’s house. Daisy saves Donald’s house by making a wager on that same July day that Gladstone has to drink two gallons of lemonade in an hour or he would need to give Donald his house back. Donald gets to keep his house. This is the first appearance of Gladstone Gander.
Donald has a new job as a night watchman at the docks in Watching the Watchman. He has the overnight shift so he has to be alert in case thieves try to steal the valuable silk at the dock. His nephews have to work through the night to keep him awake and on the job, but it turns out that Donald can do the job in his sleep.
Donald gets a job as a telegram messenger in Wired. He brags to his nephews about the big tips that go along with the job so they get jobs at the telegram place with him. Donald sends them to deliver a telegram far across town in hopes that he can get more tips then them while they are away. Huey, Dewey, and Louie end up with more tips than Donald by the end of the story.
Donald hosts a jungle themed social event in his backyard in Going Ape. Huey, Dewey, and Louie are in charge of entertainment, and Donald wants them to dress in monkey costumes for the party. They refuse to comply to Donald’s request so he tries to hypnotize them with some newly purchased hypnosis glasses. The boys turn the table on their Uncle, and they use the glasses to hypnotize him into thinking he is an ape. Donald gets the glasses back and in the process the boys and Daisy end up hypnotized into thinking they are apes as well. The hypnosis on Donald wears off right before his party starts so that he can witness the disaster that it is about to become. Donald might have to move out of town after this one.
Donald and the boys travel to Africa in search of a rare butterfly for a butterfly collector in Darkest Africa. They are up against another butterfly collector, Professor McFiendy, in dangerous Africa in a race to find the last of butterfly species called Almostus Extinctus. The adventure ends with Donald catching the butterfly, but the boys don’t go home empty handed. They fill a jar with caterpillars for their teacher. On the way home, the caterpillars transform into the rare Almostus Extinctus.
Huey, Dewey, and Louie have a bean counting contest stand in one page story Bean Taken. Donald is the one that ends up being taken.
The boys search for the perfect place to play baseball in one page story Sorry to Be Safe. Donald is worried that they are going to break a window.
A professor gives Donald lessons in how to spoil the boys instead of disciplining them in Spoil the Rod.
Donald gets hired to pilot a rocket ship in Rocket Race to the Moon. The winner of the race will receive $100,000. Donald was chosen as a pilot because his size and weight was perfect for the amount of fuel that was available for the rocket ship. It would be a shame if Huey, Dewey, and Louie came along and get Donald stuck on the moon with not enough gas to get home.
Donald is put in charge of guarding Snarling Rocks Bay against poachers, spies, and smugglers in Donald of the Coast Patrol. Donald does not want his nephews help with this job, but he will need their help if he wants to be successful.
Daisy needs $5 for her social club in Gladstone Returns. She comes to Donald and Gladstone for the money, but they don’t have any money even though they are in the middle of an argument for which one of them is richer. Donald tries to swindle his nephews from the money, but the swindle ends up with the money going to Gladstone instead. So the boys will need to pull off a reverse swindle for them to get their money back.
Sheriff of Bullet Valley tells the story of Donald’s adventure as a deputy sheriff where he tries to track down cattle rustlers in Bullet Valley. Donald believes that he has the skills and experience to do the job because he has seen a lot of cowboy western movies.
Donald is tired of waiting on his nephews for meals in one page story Best Laid Plans. He pretends to be sick so that they can take care of him for a change, but that leads to the boys getting injured and Donald having to wait on them even more.
Donald shops for antiques in one page story The Genuine Article. He wants to prove that the worm holes in the antique cabinet are authentic. So he puts it to the test with the birds in his backyard.
Huey, Dewey, and Louie want to go fishing, but Donald has another plan to have them caddy for his golf game in Links Hijinks. To make the golf game go faster, the boys make Donald think that he keeps hitting hole in ones. Donald is so confident that he can hit hole in ones on demand that he makes a bet with Gladstone.
The boys find a pearl in an oyster in Pearls of Wisdom. Donald gets an idea to make Daisy a pearl necklace for Daisy’s birthday so he goes diving for pearls with his nephews. Finding pearls in oysters is not as easy as he thought it would be.
Scrooge needs Donald’s help to prove he is a good sportsman in Foxy Relations. Scrooge can close a deal buying oil lands if Donald does well in a fox hunt. Newsflash! Donald is not a good sportsman or fox hunter even when his nephews try to help him with a trained fox.
Every story that I read in the Carl Barks Disney Library feels like I am reading an entertaining text book of Disney Duck history. This volume starts off with Scrooge McDuck taking Donald and the boys on their first treasure hunt adventure which will be a theme used throughout Barks and Rosa libraries. We also have the treasure of fan favorite Gladstone Gander’s historic first appearance in Wintertime Wager.
The bonus content on Carl Bark’s life and the behind the scenes content on each story really completes this volume for a comprehensive experience. I can’t wait to read through the rest of the volumes in the Carl Barks Library.
As a reminder: It would take a lot of time and money to compile a comic collection that included all of these stories. Anything that takes a lot of time and money would not be approved by Scrooge McDuck.
Thank you to Fantagraphics for allowing us to go through this Disney Duck journey. I feel smarter for increasing my Disney Duck knowledge base by reading this volume.
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