Quite hits: Barks and Tomine


Saturday, November 14, 2009

1. I’m a regular reader of The New Left Review and a constant re-reader of Carl Barks’ duck comics. So I was naturally delighted to see in the latest issue of NLR has a long disquisition by the German belles-lettrist Joachim Kalka on the disappearance of money as a material object, reflections that lean heavily on the writing of Leon Bloy and the comics of Carl Barks. Kalka’s essay can be found here.
An excerpt:

Carl Barks’s comic-book stories of Uncle Scrooge—a spin-off from the Disney cartoon series—offer a canonical encyclopaedia of libidinous relations to money. His Scrooge is obviously related to Dickens’s miser and kindred topoi of European comedy from Molière to Antiquity; but he far surpasses these classical embodiments of avarice. Uncle Scrooge’s famous money-bin contains a hilly landscape made out of coins, interspersed with banknotes, in which he spends his time. He likes to announce the ritualized programme of actions the money-drive imposes on him with reiterated phrases: ‘I dive around in it like a porpoise—and I burrow through it like a gopher—and I toss it up and let it hit me on the head.’ Clearly recognizable in this trio of money joys are three movements of any playful child: leaping into the pond, rummaging under the duvet and—the earliest gesture of delight—tossing toys high up into the air. The impressive massif of Uncle Scrooge’s money, the backdrop and punch-line of so many of Barks’s stories, might by its sheer volume obscure the crucial fact that for Scrooge McDuck (‘world’s richest duck and darn well going to stay that way’) all coins are individual. This gigantic accumulation of ‘dough’—to use the idiom of Scrooge’s disrespectful antagonists, the Beagle Boys, a gang of safe-crackers for whom indeed only its volume counts (which, according to the magical laws of this narration, in the end prevents them from pulling off a successful robbery)—is for Uncle Scrooge a concentrate of intimacy, in which every item is
saturated with memory.

2. This Canadian Business article has already received some attention from the comics world. I just wanted to point out that for any Adrian Tomine completists out there, the print edition of the magazine is worth acquiring since it has a fine full-page Tomine illustration of Chris Oliveros, a portion of which I’ve pasted above.

Labels: , ,

One Response to “Quite hits: Barks and Tomine”
  1. afdumin says:

    "A spin-off from the Disney cartoon series"???

Leave a Reply