Judge Parker Under New Penmanship

Posted by on March 5th, 2010 at 8:37 AM

Eduardo Barreto, who has done such a magnificent job drawing Judge Parker and showing how today’s cramped comic strip space can be deployed to great effect, is giving up the strip because he is too ill too often with meningitis to continue it.  John Heebink (as I understand it) filled in for a month or so; his temporary gig will end March 14, and on the 15th, Mike Manley will start drawing the strip. I’ve long admired Manley’s work, and I scarcely think his arrival represents any sort of step down—although it remains to be seen whether he can do the sort of eye-enthralling layouts and compositions Barreto did.

Said Brendan Burford, comics editor for King Features: “All of us at King Features are sad to see Eduardo go: he gave the strip a classic look with a contemporary edge, and he drew the strip with great passion and professionalism. Mike Manley’s work has great verve and panache, and we’re confident that his stunning compositions and slick line will win over the Judge Parker readers. During his career in comics and animation, Mike has worked on great titles like Batman and Superman, and we feel fortunate that he’ll be filling the role of Judge Parker artist – the readers are in for something special.”

That’s all hype, of course, the kind of thing we must expect from a marketing enterprise (which is what all syndicates are). But I agree with most of it, and I look forward to seeing Manley make the grade.

As I said before (at the end of December—in case you’ve forgotten), Barreto has been drawing Judge Parker since May 29, 2006. He started drawing DC comics in 1983 and has also done graphic novels. His work on Judge Parker was distinguished from all other illustrated comic strips these days by Barreto’s playful treatment of layout and breakdowns: he wrings more out of the daily strip format than anyone now working in the medium, making himself a lot of extra work in the process. Barreto was born and raised in Montevideo, Uruguay, where he has been living in a nearby seaside town.

I don’t know what kind of meningitis Barreto has, but some kinds are fatal. Whatever the kind he suffers from, I hope he recovers and can return to doing the work he so obviously loves.

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One Response to “Judge Parker Under New Penmanship”

  1. Mike Hunter says:

    That description of Barreto’s “Judge Parker” art sounded pretty tantalizing! Unfortunately, all I could find online was well-rendered yet not exactly striking to me:

    http://www.lambiek.net/artists/b/barreto_eduardo/barreto_e_judgeparker080309.jpg

    http://blog.oregonlive.com/steveduin/2009/01/large_Judge_Parker.gif

    http://comicsworthreading.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/08/judge_parker.gif

    http://joshreads.com/images/0609/i060926jp.jpg

    http://media.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/photo/2008/11/30/PH2008113001817.jpg

    http://joshreads.com/images/09/02/i090208jp.jpg

    …I’d appreciate your pointing out what I’m missing!

    (Meantime, what a contrast there is with Barreto’s comic-book work! See http://www.comicon.com/ubb/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=540860 . Am reminded of Will Eisner calling daily comic strips like “conducting an orchestra in a telephone booth.”)

    The Wikipedia entry on the strip – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judge_Parker – reminds how good Harold LeDoux’s art was on “Judge Parker”…