Ghost Artists on Judge Parker and The Phantom

Beginning today Mike Manley has handed over his comic strips to other artists. Hopefully this is a temporary issue until Mike’s health improves.

A couple weeks ago Mike posted on his Facebook page that he was feeling very bad, though a Covid test came up negative.


Beginning today (June 13, 2022) Mike’s name has dropped from The Phantom and Judge Parker daily comics, while the new artists are not signing the strips.

© King Features Syndicate

Comments on The Phantom page suggest that Sunday Phantom artist Jeff Weigel is now doing the dailies.

Tony DePaul mentioned the change in a June 8, 2022 blog post:

Finally: we’ve had a rough couple of weeks on the Phantom enterprise, hence you can expect to see a bit of news break by Monday, at the latest. I’d tell it if it were my news to tell, except it ain’t.

Watch for the June 13 strip.

And in a response added:

About Monday, I may have given the wrong impression in the blog post. What’s coming up Monday has to do with the art, not the story. It won’t be Mike Manley’s art. I shouldn’t say more, that’s up to Mike.


© North America Syndicate

Judge Parker writer Francesco Marciuliano has not yet mentioned the artist change.

My first thought was that maybe Mimi Simon, Mike’s assistant from 2017 – 2020, was filling in his panels, but that is probably not so.

Privately a respected Judge Parker historian has expressed the opinion that John Heebink, who filled in as artist between Eduardo Barreto’s death and Mike Manley taking over in March 2010, is again filling in as Judge Parker artist.


In any case we are wishing only the best for Mike.

7 thoughts on “Ghost Artists on Judge Parker and The Phantom

  1. The timing confuses me. I thought all these strips were finished weeks or months before publication, and yet the Facebook post implies that this unfortunate illness is current.

  2. Mike comes across as a very talented artist and great guy. I’ve had some online dialogue with him and in particular the chats we had soon after Francesco Marciuliano took over the writing at Judge Parker helped me through a tough hospital stay. Get Well Mike!

  3. @Boise Ed…yes, it is recent. Yes, most strips are done with serious lag time. However, Mike Manley may have been working with shorter lags. Hence, the announced illness at the end of May, very well meant he only was a couple weeks ahead.

    Assume Sundays are affected too with Judge Parker. Looking at his Facebook, he had a post from a few days ago, but no other status update regarding this and/or his health.

    But, here is hoping he is doing better health wise. Very talented artist, who does a great job with both strips. However, I do think Francesco has taken Judge Parker way off track. It’s not a humor strip and/or Sally Forth. He jumps around too much. How about just write a serious, suspenseful, realistic story strip. I wonder how much of this is King Features induced from an Editor standpoint?

  4. I would guess that we will see a few more Sunday Judge Parker pages by Mike Manley before those go to a ghost artist.
    Sundays having a longer lead time than the dailies.

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