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Posted at 9:13 AM ET, 02/12/2010

BREAKING: 'Judge Parker' artist Eduardo Barreto is 'gravely ill'; new artist sought

By Michael Cavna

Beginning next week, readers will notice a significantly different look to the comic strip "Judge Parker." That is because Eduardo Barreto, the feature's artist since 2006, is gravely ill.

"Eduardo is not coming back," Woody Wilson, the longtime writer of "Judge Parker" and "Rex Morgan M.D." tells Comic Riffs. "He's gravely ill. He has told us he will not be able to [draw the comic for] the foreseeable future."

King Features Syndicate, which distributes "Judge Parker," says that Barreto is sick and that there's "a temporary replacement" artist.

"We are, at this moment ... conducting a search for another artist," Wilson says by phone from Phoenix.

A family member says that Barreto, a Uruguayan resident who is in his mid-50s, has meningitis, Wilson says.

"Two weeks ago -- this came on suddenly -- he had to go to the hospital" in Montevideo, says the writer, adding: "Eduardo sent us a note saying he wouldn't be able to continue."

Barreto, one of the comics page's flashiest stylists, has also drawn for DC Comics, Marvel Comics and Oni Press. Among his recent releases is the Dark Horse Comics graphic novel "The Escapists," created with Brian K Vaughan, Philip Bond and Steve Rolston. He is widely known for "The New Teen Titans," as well as "Superman" and "Batman," "Marvel Knights" and Dark Horse's "Aliens vs. Predator" and "Star Wars."

Barreto took over artistic duties for "Judge Parker" from Harold Ledoux in May 2006. Shortly after, he spent some time in the hospital after a very serious car accident and the strip needed to get a "ghost" artist during that period, Wilson says. The replacements included "Rex Morgan M.D." artist Graham Nolan and John Heebink.

"It's a sad loss for all of us," not having him do "Judge Parker," Wilson tells Comic Riffs. "Eduardo brought a sex appeal and panache to the strip and that was needed. ... It's all we can do that the person who takes over 'Judge Parker' will be able to do what Eduardo has been able with this strip. It's really come alive. It's really what these continuities need. The artwork has to be beautiful and appealing and to draw people to the page and be able to tell a story."

Wilson, who inherited the strip decades ago from creator Nicholas Dallis, adds of Barreto: "His love of drawing beautiful women brought something to the strip -- like in a story last year involving Dixie Julep [a murderous topless dancer]. He drew so appealingly, every woman would get more voluptuous."

Eduardo Barreto's style: "Every woman would get more voluptuous." (NAS) Enlarge Comic

Dallis -- writing under the pseudonym Paul Nichols -- created the soap opera-style continuity strip in 1952, featuring widower judge Alan Parker and his children, Ann and Randy. Many storylines feature young attorney Sam Driver and his wife, Abbey Spencer, as well as their children. (Dallis, a psychiatrist who died in 1991, also created "Rex Morgan M.D." and "Apartment 3-G.")

As for finding a replacement for Barreto, Wilson says: "We had a week of Eduardo's son, Diego, who is an artist and is also there in Uruguay. He did a week and got us out of the [deadline] hole. Then he said he couldn't continue."

"As far I know, today, we have John Heebink doing the artwork as a temporary replacement," says Wilson, adding that King Features is "looking at some other people and sending them strips and doing tryouts."

Barreto is "a true gentleman and a joy to work with," says Wilson, an Arizona resident who has never met Barreto in person. The writer adds: "I've been lucky to work with two of the best artists [Barreto and Nolan] around; they compel me to write a better story."

The Washington Post dropped "Judge Parker" from its print comics in 2009; an outcry from readers -- thousands of people voiced their displeasure through Comic Riffs, a Post comics hotline and ombudsman Andrew Alexander -- prompted The Post to restore the strip to its print lineup.


(NOTE: If you don't speak Spanish and would like to read the accompanying translated article, you can click here.)


STRIP REINSTATED: Here Comes the 'Judge'! Strip to Return to Post's Pages

MORNING LINE: On the Trail of the 'Judge Parker' Artist...

By Michael Cavna  | February 12, 2010; 9:13 AM ET
Categories:  Interviews With Cartoonists, The Comic Book, The Comic Strip, The Morning Line  | Tags:  Eduardo Barreto, Graham Nolan, John Heebink, Judge Parker, King Features Syndicate, Woody Wilson  
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Wow. This truly bums me out.

Eduardo Barreto had brought Judge Parker to life!

I shudder to think what Heebink will do with it. If it is anything like before, it won't be anything like Barreto's work.

I really hope King Features can find someone GREAT.

How about: Neal Adams, George Perez, Jose Garcia Lopez, John Romita, Jr, Alex Ross?

Hope Eduardo can recover. His health is top priority. But, maybe he at some point could return?

Posted by: brainiac1077 | February 12, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Awww, this sucks. The strip sprang to life with his artwork.

BTW, he also did The Shadow Strikes for DC around 1987 or so.

Posted by: Mrhode | February 12, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

I'm not a huge Judge Parker fan, but I'm sad to hear this. What this post really did for me, though, is teach me that even in the print comics world (which I think of as pretty old-fashioned) there are people working with people they've never met, thousands of miles away! Amazing.

Posted by: RKaufman13 | February 12, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Hey Michael,

Alan Gardner over at the Daily Cartoonist, is reporting that Brendan Burford at King Features is saying that Eduardo could return to Judge Parker. If he gets his health back. But, he is also looking for a replacement.

But, Woody Wilson, is saying "he isn't coming back". Any idea why the disconnect? I get Woody is in Phoenix and Eduardo is in Uruguay, probably not a great line of communication.

Again, hope Eduardo can recover and return to the Judge.

>> brainiac1077:

When The Post contacted Brendan Burford on Thursday, he would only officially characterize it as a "temporary replacement" situation. Until we hear back from Mr. Burford's office again, I can only conclude that in addition to the deep personal level, the sudden illness is also very hard to cope with on a professional level -- for both Mr. Burford and Mr. Wilson.

Mr. Barreto is so gifted, I would certainly hope he's earned a wait-and-see approach. And I, too, wish him a full and speedy recovery.


Posted by: brainiac1077 | February 12, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Speedy and full recovery Eduardo! Your art is the class of the comics!

Posted by: owl-hoo | February 12, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

This is very sad news. Mr. Barreto is among the finest artists working in the comics today and I know I join his many fans in wishing him a full and speedy recovery.

Posted by: Seattle_Dave | February 12, 2010 7:36 PM | Report abuse


What depressing news about Eduardo Barreto. I really hope he can pull through and get healthy. Any way of reaching him via email or through the syndicate to send well wishes?

I wonder why his son couldn't continue on the strip? His work is very much like his Dad's. The apple didn't fall far from the tree. Diego's work is very good too.

Here is a list of artists who would be great on JP: Neal Adams, Jose Garcia Lopez, Rags Morales, Dick Giordano, George Perez, Alex Ross and Adam Hughes.

Feel free to pass those along to Brendan Burford.

But, I hope it can still be Eduardo Barreto. HE IS DA MAN!

Posted by: Jam893 | February 13, 2010 12:06 PM | Report abuse

What sad news. His work is quite stylish. Best wishes for his recovery.

Posted by: RachelGatwood | February 13, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse


ps- Woody Wilson never wrote Apartment 3-G. That was Dr. Nicholas Dallis, who created all three strips (Judge Parker, Rex Morgan and Apt 3-G). FWIW.

Posted by: Jam893 | February 13, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

>> Jam893:

I recommend going through his syndicate, King Features. Here's a link to its contact information:

And judging by this past week's strips (including today's), I would most like to see his son Diego pick up the art duties. (Beginning Monday, the lines are more rounded and the lettering is looser, bigger -- changes I find both jarring and distracting.)

Diego, of course, may very busy, especially given his father's illness. Here's to Eduardo's full recovery.


Posted by: cavnam | February 13, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

This is such bad news. Let's hope that he recovers fully - whether he returns to the strip is immaterial compared to that.

Posted by: Blurgle | February 13, 2010 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I've spoken to Eduardo's family, and he's already at home, and well, recovering from his illness.

Posted by: lordmagnusen | February 15, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse



Hopefully his recovery goes well and he can resume his work on Judge Parker.

If not, the syndicate needs to find someone more capable than John Heebink. Way off the mark in terms of "ghosting" Eduardo Barreto.

Posted by: brainiac1077 | February 15, 2010 8:10 PM | Report abuse


I hope Eduardo is doing well. That is very, very good news. Regardless of whether or not he returns to Judge Parker or not.

I am not liking what I am seeing with this week's art. I hope Brendan Burford at King Features is trying to find someone who can do Judge Parker justice, provided Eduardo cannot come back. Yes, pun intended.

Posted by: Jam893 | February 17, 2010 11:17 PM | Report abuse

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