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Posted at 7:25 AM ET, 02/24/2010

'Judge Parker' names Mike Manley as strip's new artist [UPDATED]

By Michael Cavna

[Note: This Tuesday-evening post has been updated with more details on Mike Manley and Eduardo Barreto.]

On Monday, Comic Riffs noted -- with a tip of the cap to reader "brainiac1077" -- that artist Mike Manley said he was ghosting a month of "Judge Parker."

On Tuesday, word comes that it's more than a monthlong gig: Manley is officially the new permanent artist for "Judge Parker," according to the strip's writer, Woody Wilson.

"It was a short list" of candidates, Wilson tells Comic Riffs by phone from Tempe. He and King Features -- particularly comics editor, Brendan Burford -- looked at several people. Artistically, he says of Manley, "It's going to be Eduardo all over again."

Eduardo, of course, is "Judge Parker" artist Eduardo Barreto. Comic Riffs broke the news this month that Barreto was "gravely ill" with meningitis and that he would be unable to continue drawing the strip.

Manley's artwork is scheduled to grace "Judge Parker" by mid-March. Wilson said for him, the decision "was a no-brainer."

The Philadelphia-based Manley co-created the Marvel Comics character Darkhawk in the early '90s. He's also drawn for Captain America, Marvel Universe, Quasar, Batman and The Power of Shazam! He created and edits Draw! magazine, and has also worked on such TV projects as "Samurai Jack" and "The New Batman Adventures."

This is the artist's first foray into comic strips, says Wilson, who notes that Manley came touted by Wilson's "Rex Morgan, M.D." artist, Graham Nolan. "What Graham recommends carries a lot of weight with us," the writer says.

"It'll take a little while to make the strip his own," Wilson says of the Detroit native, "but I think he's already well on his way."

Adds Wilson: "I like his attitude. I look for someone who has the same passion for the continuity strips that I do. ... He's jazzed about it and we're jazzed about it."

parker26.gif One of the final "Judge Parker" strips to be drawn by Barreto. (NAS)

As for Barreto, Wilson says he recently spoke to the Uruguay resident "and there was no chance he was coming back." The artist is going to spend the South American summer convalescing, the writer says.

"I know Eduardo has received hundreds of e-mails from people wishing him well," Wilson says. "I've been in this business a very long time, and it's rare you see this kind of outpouring and affection for a comic-strip artist. It takes you back to the old days. People really respect the work and the effort and the details.

"It really is neat for me to be able to say that I worked with Eduardo Barreto. He's the best in our business ... and I expect by late in the year, he'll be back [drawing in some capacity]. He just has to get well again."

By Michael Cavna  | February 24, 2010; 7:25 AM ET
Categories:  The Comic Strip  | Tags:  Eduardo Barreto, Graham Nolan, Judge Parker, King Features Syndicate, Michael Manley, Woody Wilson  
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I looked at Manley's blog and he definitely is supremely talented (heck, the guy has his own magazine called "Draw"). Some of his work on Secret Agent X-9 is probably what his work on Judge Parker will look like. He also says he is a big fan of the strips like Judge Parker and studied under Al Williamson. The fact that he knows about legends of serial/soap strips like Stan Drake and Leonard Starr is a major plus, too.

Can't wait to see his work on JP. MC, how about an interview with Mr. Manley, with perhaps a sneak peek of Judge Parker characters? Another WaPo exclusive, perhaps?

Posted by: Jam893 | February 23, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

So why is Sophie growing younger? How young is he going to make Neddy. I realize that every artist style is different but at least he could be a little closer to Eduardo Barreto.

Posted by: MARKHAGNER | February 24, 2010 9:17 AM | Report abuse


Manley isn't drawing JP yet. Today's strip is by John Heebink, the fill-in artist until March 14th.

Posted by: Jam893 | February 24, 2010 9:54 AM | Report abuse

My husband and I have always enjoyed Judge Parker until this last change. I'm sorry, but the characters are not attractive or appealing which does not fit the way they have always been presented. Sophie is downright ugly and the "movie star" couple do not look like movie stars.

It's just not something we enjoy reading anymore as the looks don't fit story. They were fun because we are ordinary people but Judge Parker and his wife and family were glamorous. No fun them being just ordinary looking. Other cartoons have ordinary, Judge Parker has always been different.

Posted by: joann_jacksonhotmailcom | February 25, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse


Let's give Mike Manley a chance. I think he will bring more of Barreto look to the strip than what is in the paper now.

Posted by: alevine76 | February 25, 2010 8:17 PM | Report abuse

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