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Yezbick Offers Context behind Classic Disney Comics

May 10, 2016

Daniel Yezbick  

Daniel Yezbick shares his love of literature and media with students through comics, film studies and writing courses.

Growing up, some of his favorite stories came from comics, including the “Walt Disney Comics & Stories” created by the globally beloved cartoonist and satirist Carl Barks.

While Barks’ tales of Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge were originally published between 1942 and 1966, Yezbick was captivated by these unique comedies as a kid coming of age in the 1980s.
Today, Barks’ classic comics are making a comeback, and Yezbick, professor in English at St. Louis Community College-Wildwood, is among an international panel of experts invited by Fantagraphics Books to assist with the project. “The Complete Carl Barks Library” is a series of hardcover volumes featuring Barks’ innovative and influential work on Walt Disney’s Donald Duck and Uncle Scrooge, a popular character he actually created. The volumes are being published as they originally were – in the traditional American four-color comic book format, with story notes from Yezbick and other Barks experts.

When the series is complete, it will represent a chronological collection of his most popular works as well as many obscure gems.

Yezbick’s first annotations appear in “Walt Disney's Donald Duck: ‘Terror of the Beagle Boys.’” In this volume, he annotates the March 1951 comic, “No Such Varmint,” and the May 1951 comic, “Knightly Rivals.” While the volumes are being published out of order, Yezbick is scheduled to contribute to at least two others.

“Some of the world’s greatest stories are told through comics, and as a kid, I really connected with these,” Yezbick explained. “I found the plots exciting, the artwork fascinating, and the humor timeless.”

Yezbick’s essays on Barks and Disney comics have appeared in a variety of anthologies, including “Icons of the American Comic Book,” “Comics through Time” and “The Critical Survey of Graphic Novels: History, Theme, and Technique.” He is also the author of “Perfect Nonsense: The Chaotic Comics and Goofy Games of George Carlson.”

Yezbick currently is examining the use of animal characters across international comics and graphic novels for an anthology expected in 2017. He has also lectured on media and comics at the St. Louis Science Center’s First Friday events and the St. Louis Public Library.

“As an artist and a social critic, Carl Barks is respected around the world, and his comics are as funny and poignant as ever,” Yezbick said. “It’s an honor to contribute to ‘The Complete Carl Barks Library’ alongside a number of esteemed scholars, colleagues and friends. This series will inspire new generations to appreciate his work. My own kids can’t keep their hands off of them.”

“Walt Disney's Donald Duck: ‘Terror of the Beagle Boys’” (Volume 10) was released on May 10. This volume can be purchased from Fantagraphics Books or Amazon.