|Born||Antony de Zuñiga|
November 8, 1932
|Died||May 11, 2012 (aged 79)|
Las Piñas, Philippines
|Adventure Comics (Black Orchid)|
Arak, Son of Thunder
Weird Western Tales (Jonah Hex)
Antony de Zuñiga (November 8, 1932 – May 11, 2012) who worked primarily under the name Tony DeZuniga, was a Filipino comics artist and illustrator best known for his works for DC Comics. He co-created the fictional characters Jonah Hex and Black Orchid.
DeZuniga was the first Filipino comic book artist whose work was accepted by American publishers, paving the way for many other Filipino artists to enter the international comic book industry.
DeZuniga was born in Manila, Philippines, and began his comics career at the age of 16, as a letterer for Liwayway, a Filipino weekly magazine whose contributors included comic book artists Alfredo Alcala and Nestor Redondo, who would later become his mentors.
He eventually received a Bachelor of Science degree in commercial art from the University of Santo Tomas in the Philippines. In 1962, he came to the United States to study graphic design in New York City. He returned to his native country to work in advertising and to freelance for Filipino comics.
When he returned to New York City in the late 1960s, DeZuniga entered the American comic book market under editor Joe Orlando at DC Comics, inking pencil art by Ric Estrada on a romance comics tale for Girl's Love Stories #153 (Aug. 1970). DeZuniga's U.S. debut as a penciler came with a self-inked horror story for House of Mystery #188 (Sept./Oct. 1970).
DeZuniga became a regular contributor at DC. With writer John Albano, he co-created the long-running western character Jonah Hex, and with Sheldon Mayer the first Black Orchid. DeZuniga served as an introduction to what would be a 1970s influx of Filipino artists to American comics, prompting Orlando and DC publisher Carmine Infantino to visit the Philippines in 1971 to scout talent. Among the artists found there who would soon become mainstays of both DC and Marvel Comics were Alfredo Alcala, Alex Niño, Nestor Redondo, and Gerry Talaoc. He was responsible for the discovery of artist Steve Gan and was Gan's United States art agent in charge of importing his artwork to Marvel from the Philippines. DeZuniga inked John Buscema's penciled artwork for MGM's Marvelous Wizard of Oz (1975). This comics adaptation of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film was the first joint publishing venture between Marvel and DC Comics.
DeZuniga relocated back to New York from the Philippines in 1977. Around this time, DeZuniga formed Action Art Studio, which was a group of New York-based Filipino komiks artists who inked various Marvel Comics titles under the collective pseudonym of "The Tribe." Members included DeZuniga, Alfredo Alcala, and Rudy Nebres, among others. DeZuniga worked for industry leaders Marvel and DC for 18 years.
DeZuniga later became a videogame conceptual designer, spending a decade with the United States and Japan divisions of Sega. He did freelance work for McGraw Hill and the Scholastic Corporation, and illustrated for TSR's Dungeons & Dragons game in books such as In Search of Dragons. In 1989, he illustrated The DragonLance Saga Book Three, written by Roy Thomas.
Upon retirement, DeZuniga began to do commissioned paintings and to teach art. His work has been the subject of at least one gallery exhibition.
He returned to Jonah Hex with Jonah Hex: No Way Back, a graphic novel released to coincide with the Jonah Hex film.
DeZuniga was married three times. He and his wife Mary were co-owners of Action Art Studio in the mid-to-late 1970s. His third wife was named Tina.
In April 2012, DeZuniga suffered a life-threatening stroke. Doctors were able to save him, but numerous complications quickly arose. Both the Philippine and international comics community made an effort to raise funds for his treatment. During Free Comic Book Day on May 5, 2012, Filipino comic book artists banded together and launched a sketch drive, T-shirt sale and auction to help raise funds.
On May 11, 2012, at 1:25 a.m., DeZuniga died from the stroke having led to his subsequent brain damage and heart failure.
After DeZuniga's death, Marvel Comics issued a statement saying, "Tony DeZuniga stands as a historic figure in comics, a singular voice of his own making. His legacy will be seen and felt in the multitude of fans he leaves behind and the incredible body of work of which he remained justifiably proud to his final days."
Most of his work at comics was an inker, except where noted:
DeZuniga also broke into the lucrative videogame industry, working as a conceptual designer at Sega for 10 years. Among his other freelance accounts were McGraw Hill, Scholastic, and TSR.
Various news sites have initially reported that De Zuñiga, locally known as 'Mang Tony,' was 71 years old, probably basing on previous records that he was born in 1941. But his wife, Tina, clarifies that De Zuñiga was actually 79 years old and was born in November 1932.
As the first Filipino to ever do illustrations for comic book juggernauts Marvel and DC comics, De Zuniga is dubbed the 'Father of Filipino Invasion in US Comics.'
In August , Tony quite literally received his own stamp of approval after the United States Postal Service honored one of his works, Spider-Woman, and is now part of Marvel Superheroes’ stamp collection.
The Western comic had all but ridden off into the sunset, until the arrival of Jonah Hex gave the genre a new face...A tale by John Albano and drawn by Tony DeZuniga immediately presented the bounty hunter as a cold-blooded killer.
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DeZuñiga accompanied Infantino on a recruiting trip to the Philippines in 1971, beginning the recruitment of talented contributions from one nation's comics industry to another's.
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Lots of news, first and foremost being, Tony DeZuniga's art exhibit at Megamall. I went there for the opening last night and it was like a reunion of old and new comics people.
Zuniga, the first Filipino to do illustrations for the Marvel and DC brands, suffered heart and kidney failure after being rushed to the Las Pinas Doctors Hospital at 1:30 a.m., Tina, his third wife, told InterAksyon. He suffered a stroke on April 10 that paralyzed his left side.
De Zuñiga died at 1:25 a.m. after suffering from stroke, heart failure, and brain damage, his wife Tina told GMA News Online. She said the doctors attempted to resuscitate de Zuñiga but could not because his heart and brain have already malfunctioned.