It is well-known that Barks painted many canvases after he retired from active comic book work. His multiple, marvellous paintings with duck motifs have been seen and admired by all fans, but it may come as a surprise to many of them that Barks also finished a handful of paintings in which characters from the mouse universe are seen along with the ducks.



WDCS148 -
020 Christmas Carolers -
Barks never used Pluto in a story, but his front cover of WDCS148 depicts a dog who - apart from the dark colour - resembles Pluto. In 1972 Barks made a painting of the gag cover, and this time there can be little doubt that he painted Pluto. The painting was intended for republication as cover for another comic book but that never happened. This also explains why Barks' layout leaves the upper part of the painting bare; he simply left room for the Disney logo...


029 Reading the Scandal Sheet -

Barks depicts what seems to be the nephews' playroom filled with different types of toys. You can see Mickey in the lower foreground, and a Pluto toy in the upper right corner. The dog is also present on the front cover of a paintbook in the lower left corner.

128 In Uncle Walt's Collectery -

Many different Disney characters are present. From the mouse universe Mickey is in the center and on a balloon in the lower left, Minnie and Mickey is in the upper right, and Goofy stands in the far middle left.

119 July Fourth in Duckburg -

The painting commemorating USA's bicentennial jubilee is practically crawling with different groups of characters; some of Barks' personal friends and many of his famous characters and objects. In the lower left corner he also made room for Pluto.


In 1971, one year before he got permission to paint the Disney ducks, Barks wrote the following (excerpts from a letter to his friend Donald Ault):

...we discussed my doing Mickey or other Disney character in a painting ... All that was ever mentioned to Disney's in our correspondence was that I would do paintings of my old comic book covers, panels from story pages, and possibly a few arrangements of the duck characters in original compositions. Nothing about Mickey or other funny animals was even thought of.
The Studio might not object to my Mickeys - if they considered the work of acceptable quality, but the fact that a duck man got away with painting Mickeys could open a whole can of worms. Mickey men could apply for licenses to do Mickey paintings plus the Barks ducks. I don't want to do anything that might in any way annoy the Disney legal staff. So I think it's best that I stick to the ducks and the other characters that I invented and used in the comic books...   Date 2005-08-14