Carl Barks in 1938, four years before he made his first Donald Duck comic-book adventure.
Most of the changes described here are insignificant. Only interesting in a DCML-point of view (DCML is the Disney comics mailing list,see here).
Collectors and Barks' comic-books lovers of all horizons finally have a reason to collect Dell's original comics (or download them from newsgroups :). Many later reprints of some (many? a few? a lot?) of the Duck Man's best stories, especially the oldest ones, are not identical to the original!
I am not talking here about the notoriously censored Barks stories, like Darkest Africa (see my Barks censored page for more information), but instead about stories that where slightly (or more profoundly) retouched (I don't think they were actually entirely reinked though; I believe no one can possibly be that close to the original).
Although I don't know who, where and when these reinkings were done (a dig into all known reprints of these stories could give some hints), I assume they were re-made due to the lack of original proofs, as often is the case with Donald and Mickey's oldest adventures. It appears however that some changes were more than just part-reinking or retouching.
But enough speak, here I'll show a few examples of these alterations!
Pirate Gold's first original comic-book publication, Dell Four Color #9 (1942)
Gladstone's later ("prestige") reprint, The Carl Barks Library of Donald Duck Adventures in Color #1 (1994)
Unfortunately, I do not own the original comic, hence the left image is taken from a black and white photography reproduced in Michael's Barrier's Carl Barks and the Art of the Comic-Books.
Shadows behind Pete and one of his two sideckicks (panel 2) are added in version #2. Full-size versions of these two pages are available here and here.
It appears version #2 is quite old, as it can be found in another Gladstone's reprint, Donald Duck #250 (1987), the French La vie trépidante de l'oncle Picsou (Donald et le trésor de Barbe-Noire, 1974) itself probably taken from Io, Paperone (Paperino e l'oro del pirata, 1972). The later Picsou and Zio Paperone reprints also have version #2 (this of course does not take into account changes in the balloons shape that were adapted to local languages). My guess is that only very old reprints contain version #1, presumably Brazil's Seleções Coloridas Walt Disney 9 (?) and Italy's Topolino (Giornale) 633-641 (?) both from 1947.
List of known reprints: Inducks (COA).
Note : the "painting art" background line in the sky of the last panel of the original publication consist of colors only, which was not done by Barks. It seems that in those early days, "color drawings" were added to fill in many large blank areas.
The Mummy's Ring first original comic-book publication, Dell Four Color #29 (1943)
Gladstone's later ("prestige") reprint, The Carl Barks Library of Donald Duck Adventures in Color #2 (1994)
Some of the most obvious changes made are encircled in blue or pink. If you're not convinced, full-size pages (without circles) are available here and here.
Once again, version #2 seems the most current nowadays. For instance Italy's Zio Paperone #106, Paperino e l'anello della mummia (1998) contains version #2 (Inducks/COA has a list of all know reprints).
One can also discuss how much better the original comic-books' beautiful à-plat colors are compared to the ugly dégradés that modern comics are so fond of, but this is another story...
It may be easier with full-size versions, see here and here.
(It's not clear wether removing colors add anyhting, and it's especially hard to do on old reprints. But on small images that fit in web pages it seems a good way to see differences).
The Mighty Trapper's first original comic-book publication, Walt Disney's Comics & Stories #36 (1943)
Gladstone's later ("prestige") reprint, The Carl Barks Library of Walt Disney's Comics and Stories in Color #2 (1992)
Enlargment of the last panel below.
The Dutch didn't copy exactly as is every detail of the original. They slightly redrew most of the drawings, but there is no important change. An example is shown below.
I haven't put this well-known redrawn story in the censored page as no actual censoring was done.
Unfortunately, I don't own the original comic-book. Below are samples from the French weekly, identical to the original (except the panels were rearranged to fit into the big page of the French weekly).
First image is taken from the French Le Journal de Mickey #993, the second is from Gladstone's Carl Barks Library in Color.
Admittedly, the changes aren't that big. But it's nice (and maybe frightening?) to see the pages of most of our comics are not the original.
(This later added) I checked some later stories, Donald Duck Sheriff of Bullet Valley and Lost in the Andes, and could not see any difference. So it might be that only a few old stories were changed.