Judge Parker

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The second of the three soap opera strips created by Nicholas P. Dallis, Judge Parker first started running in 1952 and initially told the story of the titular judge, widower Alan Parker, his two children, Randy and Ann, and later, his new younger wife Katherine. The strips initial storylines revolved around the dashing young Parker's pursuit of criminals, but in the 1960s, Dallis felt the character had become too distinguished to be getting his hands dirty. To remedy this, he introduced up and coming attorney Sam Driver to do the exciting stuff and Judge Parker was essentially phased out of his own strip. Wealthy, self-absorbed heiress Abbey Spencer entered the strip to be Sam's girlfriend and eventually his wife. In the early 1990s, her character shifted to become more maternal when she adopted two orphan girls, Neddy and Sophie. The family lives on Spencer Farms, Abbey's horse ranch, with a maid, Marie, and the comic mostly revolves around their daily lives, be they related to law, teenage angst, or crazy exotic dancers and celebrity marriage counseling.

Dallis wrote under the pseudonym of Paul Nichols, possibly to distance himself from his medical themed strip, Rex Morgan MD. Dallis retired in 1990 just before his death and passed the strip on to assistant Woody Wilson, who tried to revitalize the strip, even daring to bring old Judge Parker back every once in a while and adding Neddy and Sophie to the strip's cast. The strips first artist was Dan Heilman. Heilman handled the strip until 1965, when he retired to launch a strip of his own. For the next 50 years, Harold LeDeaux handled artistic duties. He retired in 2006, passing on the strip to former D.C. comics artist Eduardo Barreto, who became noted for his incredible art on the strip and his love of extremely attractive women making sexy poses while the action of the strip continued to do nothing. Barreto's run was also marked with disaster - not long after he took over the strip, he suffered a grave car accident and had to take time off the strip. Rex Morgan artist Graham Noland and artist John Heebink filled in while he recovered. Sadly, Barreto was struck with meningitis in 2010 which left him unable to continue the strip, leading to a brief period in which Diego Barreto, his son, and Heebink filled in. Mike Manley carries on the torch permanently.

Tropes used in Judge Parker include:
  • All Elections Are Serious Business: The plotline in which Randy ran for his father's open spot on the bench got so corny that it even featured a television crew appearing as Randy's opponent filed his intent to run.
  • Artifact Title: Judge Parker was phased out of the strip in the 1960s, though sometime after Wilson took over, he began having Alan Parker check in from time to time. A 2006 storyline featured the Judge retiring, while his son, Randy Parker, still a regular in the cast, won his seat on the bench. While Randy is not the main character, the title is at least accurate again.
  • Battle Butler: Cedric, who worked for Rachel, whom Neddy moved in with to go to school in Paris. Despite being a one-shot temporary character, he proved to be handy when Abbey and Neddy dealt with some french punks.
  • The Beautiful Elite: The Comics Curmudgeon website refers to the Judge Parker cast as "The Pretty People Posse" who, in spite of doing virtually nothing (even by realistic serial-strip standards), routinely get huge sums of money dropped into their lap.
  • Bound and Gagged: Neddy had this happen to her during a 1995 storyline.
  • Funny Foreigner: Raju, who came all the way to India to propose to Sophie, his online girlfriend...only to learn she was 12 at the time.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: Neddy and Sophie started out like this.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Sam and Abbey
  • Male Gaze: Barreto was extremely fond of this, likely to try and make something interesting happen when the characters are simply standing around talking about legal briefs.
  • May-December Romance: The aforementioned Cedric even describes himself as having a weakness for younger women.
  • Most Common Superpower: Though it's done in kind of a retro fashion, artis Mike Manley is a fan of providing his female characters with more than ample bosoms.
  • Silent Offer: Sam and Abbey make a silent offer on a recreation vehicle. The offer is made [dead link], and accepted [dead link].
  • Suicide by Cop: Dixie went out in a hail of bullets, refusing to be taken in and choosing instead to force the police to end her life by charging them with a switchblade.
  • Super Window Jump: Dixie Julep pulled one of these in a rare strip with actual action.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Neddy and her kid sister Sofie, respectively.