Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New Gig

You can read the official news release here in the following two links which hit the wires late today

here

and here

As of the week of March 15th I will be officially picking up the ball from Ed Barreto art wise on Judge Parker for King Features. This is one of those situations where on one hand you are happy and the other sad. I am very happy for the job but unhappy it's because Edwardo was ill. Barreto is retiring for health reasons after a long a really great run on the strip which really lifted the quality of the strip to new heights. I've got big shoes to step into. I've been a fan of Barreto for a long time, from his stint on Atari Force at DC onward through his varied career. He could do it all, super-jocks, pretty chicks, noir, pedestrian, detective stuff. His work had charm class and power. He made JP his own, something I hope to do in time as well.

Doing the "straight" stuff or soap opera strip is a lot harder than super heroes, there are less ways you can cheat or get away with a splash page or some jazzy layouts. But as an artist I am always up for a challenge. Comic strips are the hardest and most disciplined form of comics outside of the gag strip. Three little frames that have to tell an interesting story and capture drama on a pretty small stage these days. Drawing people in suits and locations and all of that really takes time and is hard work. The great artists like Alex Raymond, Stand Drake and Leonard Starr made it look easy, deceptively easy, and that easy is hard. Doing it 365 days a year is also hard and requires a depth of passion and work ethic that many artists are just not up to.
I'm thankful for the help of long time writer Woody Wilson and Brendan Burford in my first few weeks on the strip.

I've always been a big fan of the classic comic strip and have collected original art by some of my heroes like Raymond and Robbins, Drake and Leonard and learned quite a bit about them when I shared the studio of Al Williamson back in the 80's, so I'm looking forward to flexing my art muscles and hope the long time fans warm to my efforts. I'll be posting some more in the next few days and weeks about JP as I move further into the job.

25 comments:

LUD! said...

Congratulations on your new gig, Mike!

I hated to see Eduardo leave the strip, but if anyone can keep the rich style he put into that strip, YOU can!

Looking forward to March 15!

Lud Hughes

Chris said...

CONGRATULATIONS, MIKE!

Hope Eduardo is on his way back to health, too, but glad you are the guy to take on the Judge.

Would love to see anything you can share before March 15th. Like a kid waiting for a Christmas present it will be worth the wait.

BTW, the Detroit Free Press still carries the Judge in the daily (sometimes in color) and Sunday (fo' sure in color). Now, if the Philly Inquirer would pick it up.....

Andreas said...

Barreto did a great, very sorry to hear that he is too ill to continue the strip. However, I can't think of a better artist to fill his shoes. Do it like Eduardo did – in other words, let your own style shine through and be inspired, not restricted by what has been done before.

Richard Lindberg said...

I am a new follower because I am a JP fan. This is in good part because of the art, which is extremely good for that medium. I love the way it was drawn and suggest that you start off in Barreto's style and evolve to your interpretation.

ROB MORAN said...

Congratulations Mike!

Sorry to hear about Eduardo's health; he's a fine, fine artist.

I am a huge fan of your work though, mate and look forward to seeing your take on the strip.

Best.

J Leeds said...

Mike, best of luck on the new assignment. I've been enjoying Barreto's work on JP, and am glad that you seem determined to follow in his footsteps. He proved that it's still possible to do great work in the comic strip format - I'm looking forward to seeing you do the same!

Bobby Timony said...

Congratulations, Mike!

Steve Buccellato said...

Ed Barreto may be a tough act to follow, but I know you'll be a worthy successor. Congrats, Buddy!

Michael said...

Mike,

Congrats on the Judge Parker gig! Eduardo brought back the days a serial/soap/adventure strip looked GREAT in the paper. And, Woody Wilson gave him great scripts, with interesting characters. Eduardo brought them to life with sex appeal and panache (stealing a line from Woody Wilson).

Best wishes to you going forward with the Judge, can't wait to see how you treat Ms. Spencer and Mr. Driver.

SDTaxMan said...

Michael,

I'm sure you will do terrific on Judge Parker. The neat thing now is that with "Comics Kingdom" (on many newspaper websites), you can enlarge the comics to showcase them much, much bigger/better than they are printed in many papers.

Looking forward to seeing what you do with Judge Parker and lets see...Sam Driver, Abbey Spencer, Neddy Driver-Spencer, Sophie Driver-Spencer, Randy Parker, Alan Parker, Katharine Parker, Gloria Sanchez, Steve Shannon and Dan the Handyman.

Michael Chevy Castranova said...

Good luck, sir. I noted your announcement on my blog, http://the sparrowpapers.blogspot.com and linked to your site. Can’t wait to see your take on Sam Driver, et al.

NTuazon said...

Congrats & good luck!

MilkManX said...

That is great news! I am sure you will do awesome work.

Rich said...

My wife 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.

My hope is that you will bring back the sexy that Mr. Barreto brought to Judge Parker. I look forward to seeing your talent, Mr. Manley.

Kathy said...

I have read Judge Parker for over 35 years. Harold LeDoux was THE artist on Judge Parker. He set the standard. Eduardo Barreto raised it. Excited to see what you do with Judge Parker, Mike!

:)

Rob Davis said...

Congrats on the new gig, Mike! What an exciting opportunity for you to stretch your artistic muscles like this. If anyone is up to the task, you are. Best of luck.

Sean said...

Congratulations, Mike! Looking forward to seeing what you can do with Judge Parker. Ed set the bar high, but I am sure you will jump over it.

Love to see anything you can post early here at your blog, before it debuts in the paper and online.

Best wishes!

Michael Manley said...

Thanks for the good wishes everyone, I'm currently finishing the third week of the strip and about to start the 4th and working hard to build up a bigger lead as traditionally we should be about 8 weeks ahead, and that will take a little longer as things had slipped with barreto being sick. I don't think King will want me to post anything until my first strip debuts on the 15th, in two weeks. By then I should be working on late April's strips.

Once the strips are running I will post some process stuff to show you all how I'm handling the strip and I will doing a feature on it in DRAW!

I had King send me Barreto's entire run so I will have plenty of reference to get caught up on and Woody Wilson has really been fantastic with helping me get up to speed.

This week I'm getting better feel for the characters, and like every assignment it takes a while to find your rhythm and for the characters to become real people to you. On any job, whether it was Batman or Kim Possible, it takes a bit to get into the meat of something and make it yours, sort of marry to it in a way and then make it your own. In time I will make the strip my strip as Barreto made it his. every assignment has different criteria, different demands and JP is no different in the regard. It's clear that many fans are looking forward to seeing what I do and have a great love and fondness for the strip, it's history and the characters, I am having fun adding my work to the JP train.

Chris said...

Mike,

Longtime reader of Judge Parker. I know Eduardo tried to emulate Harold LeDoux's style, early on, but then took off with his own style. He really did make it look great. It will be fun to see how you do it and would be fascinated at the process you are going through with the strip and how to draw it. For that alone, I will be getting DRAW!

Dennis said...

Mike,

Very much looking forward to your debut week of JP and seeing what you do with it moving forward.

Maybe you can't answer this until your work starts on March 15th, but I am curious how you are going to letter the strip? LeDoux used a font that was from his long-time letterer, but then he had it in a computer. Barreto went through several styles, even using the LeDoux's lettering. Eduardo also at times, changed the size of it, sometimes making it so it was fairly small in the paper, but then also it appeared to big. I liked what he used at the end. Not sure what that was called. Graham Nolan's computerized font is pretty good.

Or dare I say, are you going to do it, like John Heebink has been doing in the fill-in weeks?

Michael Manley said...

Dennis, right now I am using a font, though i draw the balloons by hand and place the lettering in by hand in pencil to fit. They balloon placement is essential. I might be able to get the font Barreto was using, I'm not sure. I might change the font--that is all still a work in progress as the main thing is to get further ahead.

I'll broke no heebink bashing here. I thinks some fans have been very unkind. First John is a hell of an artist and one of my oldest friends. When Barreto was sick a while back, a few years back, I recommended him to King to do the fill-in work. Jumping into doing a strip, in another artist's style to boot--has the be probably the hardest thing! It's a scrap to just get the strips done, and fast, pick up that ball which is always tangled.

John is more of a man than me here as he's actually lettering the strips by hand and trying to match the style. My lettering is only OK, as I hardly ever letter--I mostly did logos when I did or sound effects.

I know fans don't like change, especially long time fans of anything, but there are going to be changes and we should never assume somebody is changing things on purpose to make them worse--nobody is doing that and everybody is running as fast as they can trying to do the best they can.

JB said...

Mike,

I took a look at Ed's font that he was using on JP. It's called "Crimefighter". It's at Blambot:

http://www.blambot.com/font_crimefighter.shtml

FWIW

Germund said...

Good luck! You're the right man for the job.

Bill White said...

Mike-

Very sorry to hear about Eduardo, but I am really excited to see your work on the strip.

A straight adventure strip like this must be one of the hardest challenges a cartoonist can face. I am sure you will have lots of frustrating fun in the days/weeks/months and hopefully, years to come.

Chris said...

Mikr,

Best wishes with Judge Parker. Eduardo was terrific on the Judge. So, smooth and fluid, with great looking backgrounds (and ladies). I am sure you will deliver a similiar style, but in a way that puts yourself in the same class as Stan Drake and Al Williamson. Go get em.