'Gravely ill' Eduardo Barreto leaves <i>Judge Parker</i> strip [Updated]

Longtime comics artist Eduardo Barreto is "gravely ill," forcing him to leave Judge Parker, the daily newspaper strip he's drawn since 2006.

Michael Cavna reports that strips drawn by "a temporary replacement" will begin appearing next week as King Features Syndicate searches for a new artist.

Barreto, who's in his mid-50s, has meningitis. "Two weeks ago -- this came on suddenly -- he had to go to the hospital," longtime Judge Parker writer Woody Wilson told Cavna. "Eduardo sent us a note saying he wouldn't be able to continue."

Barreto, who lives in his native Montevideo, Uruguay, is widely known for his work on DC Comics' The New Teen Titans and The Shadow Strikes, Dark Horse's The Escapists and Marvel's Marvel Knights.

Update: Alan Gardner talked to King Features comics editor Brendan Burford, who said that Barreto isn't "officially" being replaced. Instead, Barreto's son Diego and former Judge Parker ghost artist John Heebinks will pitch in as Barreto recovers.

"[Barreto's] initial conversation with me indicated the he intends to come back," Burford told Gardner. "So I’m taking this week by week. If I need to pad out the weeks to give him more time to recover I will. He’s been such a great guy to work with and the readers have really embraced his work.”

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