Tuesday, February 24, 2015

RIP Chris Barat

Terrible news.

There have been times when I’ve pondered, in an abstract way, the fact that many Disney-comics fellow travelers are considerably older than me and therefore at some point it was almost inevitable that I’d see something like the above—but I certainly never expected it so soon.  Far too soon.

Unfortunately, I never met Chris in person; I knew him exclusively through blog posts/comments.  I hope, therefore, that it won’t be considered presumptuous if I say that I considered him a friend—and, from all I could gather, an eminently decent human being.  As you may be aware, I can be a bit dogmatic about my politics; his were the opposite of mine, and in the ordinary course of online events I would tend to make ALL KINDS of assumptions about a person, few of them good, based on that.  But I simply could not do that with Chris.  Everything I ever saw from him put the lie to my Manichean worldview.  You can’t ask for much more than that.

His absence leaves a large hole in this community, as I will be reminded every time I read an IDW Disney comic, think “I should check to see what Chris thinks about this,” and then remember, oh yeah.  You will be missed, sir.

UPDATE: in his memory, you could do a lot worse than reading or rereading "The Great Paint Robbery," a...somewhat incoherent story that nonetheless benefits from some very nice art and, more to the point here, Chris's lively localization.


Blogger Joe Torcivia said...


As someone who knew Chris both long and well, I feel a profound sense of loss.

You may not have met him in person, but you sure have him down perfectly. I, too, did not always agree with him politically, but that never seemed to matter because, unlike most folks you might encounter on the Internet (much less in real life), Chris Barat never had a mean bone in his body!

Nothing negative ever showed in his conversations and in his actions! And he was the best type of friend you could have! The kind you could just enjoy things with! You couldn’t help but love the guy!

Regarding the new Disney comics form IDW and Chris, I will repeat a story I’ve already told privately…

The last night that Chris and I spoke, which is almost four weeks ago from this day; he was in the hospital and sounded very weak. We were discussing those comics and how I expected him to be home and well, long before they began. I had just finished my unedited first draft of the story for the second IDW issue of UNCLE SCROOGE, which I liked a lot. I ended up READING IT TO HIM, doing the dialogue, and describing the accompanying art. He got a lot of laughs out of that, and told me how good it made him feel.

So, he DID actually get to experience “something” from the IDW issues to come! And, when that comic is actually released in May, 2015, I will never be able to read it and not think of that great last interaction I had with Chris – and be forever happy about that.

As for something of Chris’ to read in his memory, try WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES # 690 from Gemstone. In it is the story he titled: "The Winter of Their Dissed Kismet", a title which I told him was one of the most wonderful things he'd written! I LOVE great pun titles and he outdid himself (and me) on this one!

February 24, 2015 at 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Oh yeah, I *love* the "Dissed Kismet" title. Thanks to Chris for everything: for his comics and cartoon reviews, for his positivity and decency and wide reading and gift of appreciation, for his sharing these with all of us. Who now will alert me to new books of cultural criticism that deal with Barks and his Ducks? I bought two in recent months that I only found out about from Chris on his blog: Michael Barrier's Funnybooks and Peter Schilling's Carl Barks' Duck: Average American.

I originally encountered both Chris and Joe in the letters columns of Disney comics, and only much later found them both online. They both did (Joe continues to do) so much to set the tone of online discussion of Disney comics in the US: very well informed and amazingly civil. Always a safe online space for newcomers and for women, as well as for the dyed-in-the-wool fanboys!

And I'll miss the conversation between Chris and GeoX, on Disney comics and on DuckTales. So sad that those conversations won't continue when the IDW comics come out. But I'm glad that thanks to Joe, Chris got such enjoyment from his sneak preview of the May issue of U$! There's a memory to cherish, indeed.

February 25, 2015 at 10:54 AM  
Blogger GeoX, one of the GeoX boys. said...

Yeah, it's a lovely story. I'm glad of that, at any rate. As for "Dissed Kismet"...stay tuned.

February 25, 2015 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger Richie said...

I'm at a loss of words. Holy crap. I followed his blog religiously, I looked forward to his thoughts in comics, book compilations, animated series...Just, what in the hell. It never, ever crossed my mind that this...you said it right, too damn soon. Holy Jesus...May he rest in peace, masterful wordsmith. Aah...

February 26, 2015 at 1:06 AM  
Blogger Joe Torcivia said...

Elaine writes:

“I originally encountered both Chris and Joe in the letters columns of Disney comics, and only much later found them both online. They both did (Joe continues to do) so much to set the tone of online discussion of Disney comics in the US: very well informed and amazingly civil. Always a safe online space for newcomers and for women, as well as for the dyed-in-the-wool fanboys!”

Thank you for those kind words, Elaine! I know Chris would have greatly appreciated them, because that’s exactly what he and I strived to do in our online presence. There are Blogs, message boards, and comments sections on any number of subjects (news, sports, animation, etc.) that I simply cannot bear to read due to the negativity and vitriol.

I can safely and proudly say, that’s not what Chris Barat was about!

It may be the ultimate irony that a new DuckTales series is announced during the week of Chris’ death.

No one will cover it the way Chris would have – and that is a loss for all of us.

February 26, 2015 at 4:48 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Yes, Joe, on the new DuckTales announcement: it's always painful when something new comes along which would have been exciting to someone we love who has died, and the coincidence of timing in this announcement makes it all the more painful for you, I'm sure.

I did just re-read "The Great Paint Robbery" (Thursday is my day off!), and my single favorite pun in Chris's dialogue is when Detective Clueless calls out "Maidy McDuck!" This story's dialogue is also where I found out that Chris was a Gilbert & Sullivan fan ("with cat-like tread..."). I already knew that in the Venn diagram of life, the circles of "Disney comics fans" and "Gilbert & Sullivan aficionados" had considerable overlap: David Gerstein ("Ten-Penny Opera"), Don Markstein (also "cat-like tread," in the dialogue for "Night of the Saracen"--and he actually sent me a copy of "HMS Pinfeather," a G&S-style Uncle Scrooge operetta he penned!). But it was fun to find out that Chris Barat apparently also lived in that overlap zone. I'm a Disney comics fan who happens to be a practicing Christian, from a family full of mathematicians for whom G&S records were the soundtrack to most family dinners, so I figure I'd have had a few things to share with Chris. Though my politics (and that of my family of origin) are at GeoX's end of the spectrum, so perhaps we would have needed to avoid certain topics! He would have remained civil, no doubt, but I can't vouch for myself. :-)

February 26, 2015 at 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Chris Chan said...

I only knew Chris from his posts, but my condolences to his family. Rest in peace, Chris.

February 27, 2015 at 5:03 PM  

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