Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy 7th Anniversary!

Though time in the world of Judge Parker moves at a snails pace, it seems like time has flown in my world. In a way the idea that I am starting my 7th year on Judge Parker this week seems kind of crazy, but the huge stack of 2555 originals tells me this is true.

Here is my first daily and my first Sunday strip from way back in 2010. The strip came along at a great time as I had just been burned by a comic project that went south and left a huge hole in my finances and I was still in my undergrad at PAFA, which made that hole even deeper.

But the first few months, even the first few years were a lot of growing for me as an artist in getting used to the characters and Woody Wilson's stories as well as comic strips vs comic books, the big difference in the restrictions in format, but I feel very comfortable now on the strip. It was tough to follow Baretto's run on the strip as he passed away so suddenly, and he did great work. You never like to inherit a job in that fashion but the reality of a comic strip is that even death or sickness doesn't stop the deadlines.

I feel very comfortable drawing the strip now and the characters are real for me and live in my imagination now, which is great, as it helps me draw the strip in a way I couldn't when I started it, the characters are like actors for me now. This is never an easy job to be sure, many days or weeks its really just having to sit in the chair and push the pencil, but its much easier than my first few months where every week was more of a challenge as I didn't know the world of Judge Parker or characters as well.

Jungle adventures, marriages, break-ups, retirements, kidnappings all have swirled by in the past few years, but I still figure since we have never had a change of seasons, any holidays or Sophie going to a dance or going to the 11th grade we are actually still somewhere in 2010, the year I started on the strip.

We did however age her the most of any character in the strip to make her a more modern teen girl. The strip has been pulled and put back in some papers, it seems we are lucky to have some real loyal fans who bombard the papers if we are dropped of fall victim to an editor who tries to nix us from the comic section. Its a yearly fight for all of us comic strip makers as it seems the newspapers are always trying to dump the strips, or even worse sometimes, shrink us down to the size of a stamp. But the Judge still has is white streaks in his hair--so here's to maybe another seven years!


MoseBusby said...

Congratulations, Mike. What an incredible run you have heard, turning "Judge Parker" into the must-follow story strip in the paper. Nobody else comes close.

MoseBusby said...

oops -- meant "run you have HAD"

A reader of JP said...

Actually you are celebrating your 6th anniversary since you started in 2010. The stack of originals is closer to 2190 plus 2 for leap years. Still a remarkable run.

King Viswa said...

Stunning, to say the least.

All the very best, Mike.

benilhalk said...

Many congratulations for the 7th anniversary! Really liked reading this post. I will be hosting our 6th wedding anniversary next month and planning a grand party at our favorite venue NYC. Hoping to have a great time on our special day.

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