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Posted at 12:22 PM ET, 02/22/2010

'Judge Parker' Minus Barreto: Readers speak out about the art -- and the artist

Reader "samalexander" wishes "Judge Parker" artist Eduardo Barreto well. Her sincere good thoughts go out to the gravely ill illustrator. Oh, and on a personal note artistically:

Please return. The strip isn't the same without you!

And ever since "Judge Parker" artist Woody Wilson told Comic Riffs that his strip was seeking a replacement artist as a result of Barreto's meningitis, samalexander's sentiment has been shared by many.

Samalexander wrote 'Riffs last week to say: "Get-well-soon wishes to Mr. Barreto" and later: "I hope Mr. Barreto knows he has fans who wish him well."

She also notes, though: "I have been spellbound by his artistry and the rug has been jerked out from under this strip by his absence. It's like all new funky bad actors just showing up in the middle of a movie -- or being forced to look at the preliminary story boards for the rest of the show."

Then, pointedly: "The subs have no business even trying to draw this strip."

Beyond our collective best wishes for Mr. Barreto, there is the indelicate matter among fans who demand: Then who shall draw our "Judge Parker"?? Well, after a couple of weeks of replacement artists, let's take a closer look:

"JUDGE PARKER" (with Eduardo Barreto):

[click on comic to enlarge]

Here's a "Judge Parker" strip from early this month, as reportedly drawn by the masterful Barreto. This is the eye-catching art -- gorgeous lines, deft textures -- that has revivified the strip's look since 2006. (I also note what my retired colleague Henry Allen has uttered over the transom about Barreto's style: It's the only reason I read the strip.)

"JUDGE PARKER" (with Diego Barreto):

[click on comic to enlarge]

Two weeks ago, in a deadline pinch, Eduardo's son Diego, an artist in his own right, drew a week's worth of strips (including the one directly above). Diego obviously has some of his father's flair. I'm struck by two particular differences: (1) Diego likes to heavily "outline" some of his figures, with bold lines that especially frame some of the faces; and (2) Over the course of a week, the facial features sometimes "floated" a bit -- understandably without the "snap-to" perfection that marked Eduardo's practiced "JP" hand.

JUDGE PARKER (with John Heebink):

[click on comic to enlarge]

Last Monday, the strip began featuring the work of veteran soap-comic artist John Heebink. Perhaps over time, his style will begin to more closely mirror Eduardo's. For the first week out of the gate, though, the style displayed rounded, less angular lines that made up the second-most distracting element (for me) last week. The first? The enlarged lettering. My-my. Those balloons are growing so fat with rounded letters that I wish I could just take a nib-pen and "pop" them. Gleefully.

Obviously, Mr. Barreto's recovery is what's truly important. But as samalexander so passionately put it: Oh, right now, how we also miss his art.

Do you have an opinion on the matter? Feel free to fire away.

NOTE: For anyone who wants to send their best wishes to Mr. Barreto, King Features informs Comic Riffs that readers may deliver a message at:
Or send the syndicate a note via snail-mail to:
Eduardo Barreto
c/o King Features
300 West 57th St., 15th Floor
New York, NY 10019-5238

By  |  12:22 PM ET, 02/22/2010

Categories:  The Comic Strip | Tags:  Diego Barreto, Eduardo Barreto, John Heebink, Judge Parker

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