In April artist Tony DeZuniga suffered a stroke, but sadly there was too much damage and on May 11th, at the age of 79, he passed away.
Tony broke into comics at the age of 16 and became part of a ‘Philipino Invasion’ of comic book artists which included Ric Estrada, Nester Redondo and the brilliant Alfredo Alcala. But it was his pairing with writer John Albano that DeZuniga helped to create one of the longest running and one of the most important characters in my life, Jonah Hex!
In 1971 Albano and DeZuniga created a western bounty hunter character on Clint Eastwood’s ‘Man with No Name.’ But to give him a more interesting look, DeZuniga looked to a medical chart for inspiration. From an interview in 2010, he tells of how an anatomy poster; half muscle and half skeleton, gave him the idea of giving Jonah hex a scared right side of his face. And the rest is history!
His art style was well suited for the westerns, fantasy and war titles that he drew. He would use a lot of lines to create emotions and would take advantage of every inch of the panels he drew. He spent the next two decades working for both Marvel and DC and drew most of the big characters for each including Batman, Conan and Spider – Man.
Following his career in comics, DeZuniga later became a videogame conceptual designer working for the American and Japanese divisions of Sega. He also did work for TSR’s ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. In 2010, he returned to the world of Jonah Hex along with writers Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray for the graphic novel ‘No Way Back.’
Since I’ve been reading comics since the mid 1970’s, it’s only inevitable that many of the creators that I grew up loving would be passing. So please enjoy, support and reach out to the creators that you love and whose work means so much to you while we still have them. I have a lot of things I wish I could say to Tony but I can’t now. Thank you, sir!