Like most kids I grew up reading the wonderful Donald Duck stories that appeared in the comic book, Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. These delightful stories were written by a Disney master named, Carl Barks. Mr. Barks was a brilliant storyteller and would remain a major influence for the remainder of my career. His duck stories, both fanciful and adventurous would always be an inspiration. It was little wonder that the editors led every new comic book with a Donald Duck story brilliantly penned by Barks.
If you remember the Bark’s stories, Donald Duck’s nephews, Huey, Louie and Dewey were always able to garner information on any subject by simply going to their handy guidebook. That special book was known as, The Junior Woodchucks' Guide, and it had information on everything imaginable. In a sense it was the Internet before the Internet. It was Google before Google. Detailed information on any subject imaginable was contained in this handy pocket sized guide.
Carl Barks had created this marvelous conceit and he used it in many of his stories. Whenever Donald and his nephews found themselves in a tight situation and needed specific, instant information, The Junior Woodchucks' Guide provided the answers our characters needed. Many years later, I was charged with creating Donald Duck adventure stories myself. You can bet that this novice Disney comics writer made good use of The Junior Woodchucks' Guide whenever I found myself painted into a corner.
Back in the nineties, Disney Publishing created a scaled down version of The Junior Woodchucks' Guide. It hardly contained the amount of information the Bark’s stories suggested but it was simply a nod to the amazing booklet that appeared in the stories. A photograph of that book we created can be seen down below.
I can’t help but wonder what Mr. Barks would think of the magical devices we have today. And, should Huey, Louie and Dewey need instant information what would they do in today’s world? More than likely they’d simply reach for their smart phone and Google whatever information they needed. A practical solution, I suppose. But hardly the truly cool experience given us by a master story teller like Carl Barks.