In October, 1957, the USA went into a panic when the news came out that the Soviet Union was the first nation to launch a satellite into space. This caused President Eisenhower to support the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in order to catch up with the Soviets. Some very hard and disastrous learning years followed before the Soviet Union was overtaken by the determined Americans. In May, 1962, President Kennedy declared that 'this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal - before this decade is out - of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to earth'. The rest is history. Everyone knows that the USA succeeded in this gigantic task.

It is no wonder that Carl Barks was also swept along in the patriotic wave and that his thoughts circled around the new frontier. He recognized the vast possibilities in comic book stories dealing with the mysterious and totally unknown space, not to mention the profound appeal the very subject would have on the common earthling. In the surrounding years he produced more than a dozen stories originating from his beloved duck world in which he made his contribution to this glorious chapter in his nation's history.



This is a brief review of most of the space stories Barks dreamed up; shown in chronological order.

Donald is hired to fly the first rocket ship to the Moon but a villainous guy is competing in another vessel...

Gyro invents a thought machine by which one can travel wherever he wants. The ducks visit Jupiter!

Gyro and Scrooge travel to the asteroids in order to obtain a metal strong enough for the Money Bin.

U$24 The 24 Carat Moon
Scrooge hears of a small moon of solid gold behind the Moon. He immediately blasts off to claim the precious object!

Donald accidentially invents the explosive Weemite. Maybe the army would be interested in it for its space rockets?

FC1025 Dream Planet
Gyro and Gus Goose travel to a far-away planet where everybody does nothing but relax. Just the thing for Gus...

U$29 Island in the Sky
Scrooge decides to hide all his money on an asteroid far away from thieves. But the asteroid is inhabited...

WDCS244 Missile Fizzle
Donald is a broom sweeper at a missile base and he is very busy, because all the new missiles explode at take-off.

U$34 Mythic Mystery
The ducks are blown up in the air to a nearby, small planet. It seems to be Valhalla, the home of the ancient gods!

U$49 The Loony Lunar Gold Race
Scrooge is talking about the folly of gold-thirsty people when it is announced that gold is found on the Moon...

U$53 Interplanetary Postman
Scrooge takes over the job as postmaster. His first job is to deliver a letter to Venus!

U$65 Micro-Ducks from
Outer Space
A prize is offered to whoever can find a flying saucer. Scrooge can...


Although Barks primarily created his comic book stories to entertain people he was always very interested in getting things right. This meant that he was studying the era's space technology in order to draw his panels as accurately as possible (of course with due respect to the comics' medium). Below are some of the more scientific of Barks' panels. You should bear in mind that the examples shown were not all common knowledge at the time!




Space Wheel

Asteroid Belt

Astronaut gear

Less gravitation

Different life forms



In 1962 Barks came up with a novel idea that started a new franchise. He suggested that the popular story Swiss Family Robinson should be changed into a space odyssey. His publisher at Western, Craig Chase, at first filed the letter away, but later he decided to give the idea a chance. Since then Space Family Robinson ran for many years in comic books, and as a TV-series named Lost in Space. It was later made into a film.







Apart from one long trip to Europe, Barks rarely left his native country. Still, his name is known outside Earth because he had a small asteroid named after him. In 1982 Ted Bowell of the Lowell Observatory in Arizona discovered an asteroid which was officially called (2730) Barks by the Cornell University. In a later interview Barks commented on the event:

In one of my later stories, called Island in the Sky, sometime in the sixties, the ducks try to find a place to hide Uncle Scrooge's money, and they passed a bunch of these small asteroids on the way there. One of the men there at Cornell University, where they had a whole laboratory for the study of the asteroids, read that comic book and thought that was quite a thing, that these ducks could run onto a bunch of peculiar asteroids on their way to the asteroid belt.
Anyway, they thought that was pretty good. My stories made the asteroids interesting, and opened a possibility that there might even be some among them that would have a few vegetables growing on it. And so they named one of their discoveries after me. He wrote to tell me that the surface was approximately 100 hectares
(nearly 250 acres or 1 square kilometer (Editor's remark)) in size. In any case it would be big enough for a money bin...

See a copy of the official letter HERE.   Date 2004-01-19