Certain comics creators - be they writers, artists, or both - have been instrumental for their own work as well as for the shape of comics as a whole. The comics' form with its blend of image and text, repeated and often serial publication, and frequent collaboration on those publications have fostered an environment wherein certain creators have shaped their own work, the work of others, public reception, and comics in general. These pages highlight selected comics creators as they relate to the Comics Digital Collection.

Carl Barks

Carl Barks Drawing with Donald Ault standing in the backgroundSteven Spielberg and George Lucas cite Carl Barks as their inspiration for the opening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark; a Cornell scientist named an asteroid, 2730 Barks, for Carl Barks; most Disney comic artists, and most comic artists and many, many others cite Carl Barks as a major influence; when Karl Krøyer lifted the sunken freight vessel Al Kuwait in the Kuwait Harbor in 1965 by filling the hull with 27 million tiny inflatable balls of polystyrene, many thought that he had been inspired by a Carl Barks story, even though he claimed never to have read it.

Carl Barks is legendary for his work on the Disney Ducks, leading to his nickname the Duck Man. Barks illustrated and created comics, inventing Duckburg and many of its characters, including Scrooge McDuck (1947), Gladstone Gander (1948), the Beagle Boys (1951), Gyro Gearloose (1952), Flintheart Glomgold (1956) and Magica De Spell (1961). While Barks is famous for his writing and art, his impact extends far beyond his work by reverberating through comics, film, video games, and academia, and his full impact on many fields is yet to be known.

Carl Barks' work has been chronicled through the work of scholars like Donald Ault. Donald Ault's love of comics is due in part to his understanding and appreciation of Carl Barks' work. Donald Ault created the first popular culture classes at Berkeley (1972-74), and went on to teach comics at Vanderbilt and the University of Florida. At the University of Florida, Donald Ault founded the Comics Studies Program, the ImageTexT journal of comics scholarship, and an annual comics conference.

The photos and interviews that will be added cover the work of comics legend Carl Barks and of scholar Donald Ault. These materials, and especially the interviews are important for their cultural and historical information, and for their chronicling of a life-long friendship that grew from academic inquiry and a passion for comics. The capture the genuis of Carl Barks and Donald Ault, their important work, and the significance of their friendship. Donald Ault has generously donated these interviews, in audio and video format, along with photographs and slides.

Will Eisner

Will Eisner is perhaps best understood through his legacy, with the many comics he created, his influence on other cartoonists and on writers and artists in other fields, his impact on readers, and his impact on comics themselves. Eisner's exemplary work in comics and for the promotion of comics greatly influenced comics as an art and a literary form, as well as comics' reception and critical analysis. The Will Eisner Comic Industry Award, which awards creative achievement in American comics, is named for him because of his importance to comics.

Eisner's many accomplishments include writing the popular comic strip series The Spirit, instructional comics like P*S The Preventive Maintenance Monthly collected here, and establishing the graphic novel with A Contract with God and Other Tenement Stories. While Eisner is generally regarded as the father of the graphic novel, he often corrected others to note that he was not the first to coin the term. However, Eisner did bring the term graphic novel into its current popular usage.

As such an important figure in comics, literature, and art, many archival and research projects have focused on Will Eisner and his work. More information on Eisner and his work can be found on many sites, including the official Will Eisner site, Denis Kitchen Art Agency site, and on The Ohio State University's Cartoon Research Library site. OSU's Cartoon Research Library houses the Will Eisner Collection and their site includes a finding aid among other resources.

Harry Lampert

Droopy (First Comic) from 14 August 1942

Harry Lampert is best known as co-creator of the DC Comics superhero The Flash. Lampert began his career at the Fleischer studios and worked on comics - including Betty Boop, Popeye, and KoKo the Clown - wrote humor comic books, worked on gag cartoons for many periodicals - including The New York Times, the Saturday Evening Post, and Time - and taught cartooning at the New York School of Visual Arts. Harry Lampert's Droopy the Drew Field Mosquito was published in the Drew Field Echoes, the newspaper for the Drew Field Army Airbase (in Tampa, Florida). The Digital Collections contain the first strip, published in August 1942, and all following strips through February 3, 1944, as well as an article on Droopy from August 13, 1943.

Antonio Prohías

Antonio Prohias from 7 April 1961 Antonio Prohías is best known for creating the comic strip Spy vs. Spy for MAD Magazine. Even before he began work on Spy vs. Spy, he was a famous political cartoonist publishing his work in newspapers in Cuba. The cartoons collected here are from the 1960-1961 issues of El Avance Criollo, published in Miami, Florida.

Fun & The Comic Almanack

Because Fun, The Comic Almanack, Punch, and other comic and news writings of the time shared so many of the same writers and illustrators, many resources on one of the publications or authors also informs the others.

  • George CruikshankHenry J. Byron (1835 - 1884) was the founding editor of Fun, actor, playwright, and theater manager.
  • Tom Hood (1835 - 1874) was a writer, playwright, novelist, and the editor of Fun after Byron. He was also the son of poet Thomas Hood, who was the first contributor to Punch.
  • Sir Francis Cowley Burnard (1836 - 1917) wrote plays, operas, books, contributing to Fun, and serving as an editor of Punch from 1880 to 1906.
  • T. W. (Thomas William) Robertson (1829 - 1871) was a playwright and stage director most famous for his innovative work in realism—creating plays that deal with contemporary problems and issues.
  • Sir William Schwenck Gilbert (1836 - 1911), a playwright, director, writer, and illustrator, best known for his comic operas produced with Sir Arthur Sullivan, commonly referred to as “Gilbert and Sullivan” and including The Pirates of Penzance and many others.
  • Ambrose Bierce (1842 - c1914) wrote as a novelist, poet, and journalist under his name and under the pseudonym Dod Grile. His prolific writing includes writing for Fun as well writing many short stories, news stories, poems, and novels, many of which are available online.
  • Clement Scott (1841 - 1904) was a theater critic, playwright, and travel writer, as well as a contributor to Fun. His papers are in the Rochester University Library.
  • H. Savile Clarke (Henry Savile Clarke, 1841 - 1893) contributed to both Fun and Punch and created the book and lyrics for the theatrical musical Alice in Wonderland, which opened at the Prince of Wales Theatre in London in 1886. H. Savile Clarke was the father of Clara Savile Clarke, author of The Poet’s Audience and The World’s Pleasures. H. Savile Clarke’s contributions were often verse on medical and scientific subjects, and many are also available in The Doctor’s Window: Poems by the Doctor, For the Doctor and About the Doctor (edited by Ina Russelle Warren, Buffalo, NY: Charles Wells Moulton, 1898). For more on Henry Savile Clarke and the family, see North Yorkshire History: Henry Savile Clarke (1841-1893).
  • The Comic Almanack included contributions from:
    • William Makepeace Thackeray (1811 - 1863)
    • Albert Smith (1816 - 1860)
    • The Brothers Mayhew: Henry Mayhew (1812 - 1887) and Horace Mayhew (1816 - 1872)
    • Gilbert Abbott Beckett (1811 - 1856)
    • John Camden Hotten (1832 - 1873)
    • George Cruikshank (1792 - 1878)