Some sad news out of the Philippines... Pioneer comic book artist Tony DeZuñiga passed away last week after suffering from a stroke, heart failure and brain damage. He was 79: Jonah Hex co-creator Tony DeZuniga passes away at age 79.
One of the first artists from the Philippines to work in mainstream U.S. comics, he is best known for co-creating Jonah Hex and Black Orchid for DC Comics in the 1970s. His work paved the way for many other Filipino artists to break into the international comic book industry:
Born in Manila, DeZuniga began his comics career at the age of 16 as a letterer for a weekly magazine then moved to the United States in 1962 to study graphic design. He returned to the Philippines to work in advertising before heading back to New York City, where he was hired by DC Comics editor Joe Orlando, making DeZuniga the first Filipino artist to work for a major American comics publisher.If you've seen any of Tony DeZuniga's work, you know he was an incredibly talented and influential illustrator with a bold, rich vision. He will be missed. More here: Comics artist Tony de Zuñiga dies at age 79.
He used the opportunity to open the door for other Filipino creators, convincing Orlando and DC Editor-in-Chief Carmine Infantino to visit the Philippines in 1971 to recruit such artists as Alex Niño, Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, Fred Carrillo, Vicatan and Gerry Talaoc.
That same year DeZuniga collaborated with writer John Albano to create Jonah Hex, the disfigured Western antihero with whom the artist is so closely associated. "[John] asked me to draw the concept for the character, and one day I was at the doctor's office and I saw this chart with a man, showing him half muscle and half skeleton," DeZuniga recalled in a 2010 interview with Comic Book Resources. "I thought to myself, 'This is neat,' and I got the concept. When John Albano saw it, he was very happy."