Harold LeDoux's Judge Parker (January 10, 1967)
|Author(s)||Nicholas P. Dallis & Dan Heilman
Woody Wilson & Mike Manley
|Current status / schedule||Daily|
|Launch date||November 24, 1952|
|Syndicate(s)||King Features Syndicate|
Judge Parker is a soap opera-style comic strip created by Nicholas P. Dallis that first appeared on November 24, 1952. The strip's look and content were influenced by the work of Allen Saunders and Ken Ernst on Mary Worth.
Characters and story
Alan Parker was a widower with two children, Randy and Ann. Later, Judge Parker married a younger woman, Katherine. Initially a dashing figure who solved crimes and chased criminals, Parker became an upstanding and serious judge who rarely strayed from his courtroom during the 1960s. Instead, the spotlight began to focus on handsome, successful young attorney Sam Driver, and Parker was almost entirely phased out of his own strip.
Most stories revolve around Driver, his wealthy client and now wife Abbey Spencer, and their two adopted children: volatile Neddy (who left to study art in Paris) and her precocious but sensible younger sister, Sophie. The family lives with their maid Marie at Spencer Farms, where Abbey raises Arabian horses. Some of the cast may not be seen for some time because Judge Parker stories tend to be long; an apparent week in the plot may last for months in publication time. The characters have gradually (and gracefully) aged over the years. Alan's son Randy, now grown, is Driver's law partner, and a 2006 storyline focused on Randy's campaign for the judicial seat from which his father is retiring, ensuring that the "Judge Parker" name will continue. The February 15, 2009, strip stated that Randy would be "the new Judge Parker."
Dr. Dallis, a psychiatrist who also created the comic strips Rex Morgan, M.D. and Apartment 3-G, used the pen name "Paul Nichols" when writing the strip. Shortly before his death, he retired in 1990, turning over the scripting chores to his assistant Woody Wilson. The strip's first artist was Dan Heilman, who left in 1965 and was replaced by Harold LeDoux. LeDoux's last strip ran on May 28, 2006.
Comic book artist Eduardo Barreto replaced him; his first strip appeared the following day. Barreto suffered a near-fatal injury in a car accident in Uruguay shortly afterwards and was unable to illustrate the strips for December 2006; as a result, Rex Morgan artist Graham Nolan did the strip for a week, and John Heebink took over the following week. Barreto resumed drawing the strip in January 2007. Barreto fell "gravely ill" from meningitis in early February 2010 and had to withdraw from drawing the strip for "the foreseeable future". Barreto's son Diego drew the strip for the week beginning February 8, 2010, with John Heebnik stepping in again on February 15, 2010, for four weeks while Barreto recovered.
Artist Mike Manley assumed the art duties permanently beginning with the four weeks beginning with the March 15, 2010, strips. Initially announced as another fill-in artist, Manley revealed that he'd been given the ongoing assignment on February 23, 2010. The syndicate held a "two-man tryout" with Manley being offered the full-time job over Heebnik after Manley turned in his second week of art for the strip.
- "Dr. Rex Morgan Owes Life to Psychiatrist". Los Angeles Times. August 28, 1983. p. 15. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- Goulart, Ron (January 29, 2002). "Mary Worth". St. James Encyclopedia of Pop Culture. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- Ballard, Larry (February 13, 2006). "Ballard: Woe to the boss who fired 'Judge Parker'". Des Moines Register. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- Peters, Mike (January 29, 2006). "Keeping it 'realistic,' for 50 years; Cartoonist Harold LeDoux is ready to lay down his pen". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- "Judge Parker". Houston Chronicle. February 15, 2009.
- "Nicholas Dallis; Creator of 'Apartment 3-G', 'Rex Morgan'". Los Angeles Times. July 8, 1991. p. A18. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- Davenport, John C. (October 2, 1998). "Woody Wilson and Harold Ledoux". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- "SAM". Winston-Salem Journal. July 25, 2006. p. B2. Retrieved February 9, 2010.
- Cavna, Michael (February 12, 2010). "Breaking: 'Judge Parker' artist Eduardo Barreto is 'gravely ill'; new artist sought". Comic Riffs (Washington Post). Retrieved February 13, 2010.
- Gardner, Alan (February 12, 2010). "Barreto son, Heebniks briefly take over Judge Parker". The Daily Cartoonist. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
- Cavna, Michael (February 22, 2010). "'Judge Parker' Minus Barreto: Readers speak out about the art – and the artist". Comic Riffs (Washington Post). Retrieved February 23, 2010.
- Manley, Michael (February 23, 2010). "New Gig". Draw!. Retrieved February 25, 2010.
- Cavna, Michael (March 15, 2010). "Artist Mike Manley makes his 'Judge Parker' debut today". Comic Riffs (The Washington Post). Retrieved March 15, 2010.
- Manley, Mike (February 21, 2010). "Work Break". Draw! (Mike Manley official website). Retrieved February 23, 2010.