George Walton Lucas is an American film director, screenwriter, and producer. He is one of the film industry's most successful filmmakers as well as a long time fan of Carl Barks and his comic book characters, which he also expressed in some of his adventure films*.
I grew up in a time when television was just beginning to present itself in the American living room. Prior to that, comics were my main form of home entertainment. Some of the very first comics I obtained were written by Carl Barks. I had a subscription to Walt Disney's Comics and Stories and liked the Scrooge character so much that I immediately went out and bought all the Uncle Scrooge comics I could find on the newsstand.
My greatest source of enjoyment in Carl Barks' comics is in the imagination of his stories. They're so full of crazy ideas - unique and special and bizarre - not in the sense that, to a child during the fifties, they were extremely exotic.
The stories are also very cinematic. They have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and operate in scenes, unlike many comic strips and books. Barks' stories don't just move from panel to panel, but flow in sequences - sometimes several pages long - that lead to new sequences.
Carl Barks' world view involves poking fun at the materialistic tendencies that all people have and praising their more sociable, brotherly aspects. Donald Duck and Huey, Dewey, and Louie (especially as Junior Woodchucks) are all other-oriented, generous, and charitable. While Scrooge is an individualistic miser, the others participate more in the family relationship. Scrooge uses Donald and the nephews for help, but he is really separate - yet never really opposed to them. The lure of material things is clearly a main theme throughout all of the Scrooge stories.
I think the reason Carl Barks' stories have endured and have had such international appeal is primarily their strength as good stories. Yet on a deeper level, they display American characteristics that are readily recognizable to the reader: ingenuity, integrity, determination, a kind of benign avarice, boldness, a love of adventure, and a sense of humor. Even the foreign reader is given a certain perspective on American culture.
Sociologists have studied comics as reflections of the society of their times. In addition to the artistic pleasure given by comic stories and drawings such as Carl Carks', comic art has something to say about the culture that produces it.
What I think I enjoy most about Uncle Scrooge is that he is so American in his attitude. These comics are one of the few things you can point to that say: like it or not, this is what America is. And it is for just this reason that they are a priceless part of our literary heritage.
* The world-famous filmmakers George Lucas and Steven Spielberg have been dedicated fans of Carl Barks and his comic books since childhood, and they have used some of Barks' ideas in a number of their films. In the Indiana Jones trilogy Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), The Temple of Doom (1984), and The Last Crusade (1989) the filmmakers used several booby traps from Barks' stories U$07 'The Seven Cities of Cibola' and U$26 'The Prize of Pizarro'. Examples are flying darts, a decapitating blade, a guardian idol, a huge boulder, and a tunnel flooded with a torrent of gushing water.