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Saturday, May 12, 2012


MANILA, Philippines -- Legendary comics illustrator Tony de Zuniga, whose pen gave life to Jonah Hex and the superheroine Black Orchid, among others, died early Friday. He was 79.

Called simply “Mang Tony” in comics circles, Zuniga, the first Filipino to do illustrations for Marvel and DC, suffered heart and kidney failure after being rushed to the Las Pinas Doctors Hospital at 1:30 a.m.
He suffered a stroke on April 10 that paralyzed his left side. Fans and friends had earlier rallied to raise financial support for his hospitalization.

Formerly based in California, Mang Tony had decided to return to the country for good.
In 2010, Jonah Hex was turned into a multi-million dollar Hollywood film starring Josh Brolin and Megan Fox.

“He loves the Philippines. He wants to retire here,” Tina, his wife of 11 years, said.

Mang Tony is survived by two sons from his first marriage and three daughters from his second.

The wake is open to the public on Saturday at the Funeraria Paz in Sucat.

Mang Tony’s remains will be cremated on Wednesday.

(Internet source)

Tony DeZuniga was an avid comics reader as a child, Tony's favorites included Jack Kirby and Alex Toth, and he loved Alex Raymond's Rip Kirby and Flash Gordon. His love for comics inspired him to do comics on his own. He began his career as a letterer when he was 16 for a weekly magazine where he met Alfredo Alcala and Nestor Redondo, artists who he counts as those who have inspired and encouraged him, and became his friends.
Maestro Federico / Nobela ni Mario Mijares Lopez/ Guhit ni Tony Zuniga/ Inilathala sa Marte Komiks, Blg. 1, Marso 5, 1952

Tony moved to the US in 1962 to study an advanced course in Graphic Design and went back home to the Philippines to work in the advertising industry while at the same time drawing for comics like Hiwaga Komiks and Caravana Klasiks, and Romansa Komiks. At the end of the 60's Tony moved back to New York and met with DC Editor Joe Orlando and immediately he was given an assignment inking Ric Estrada on a romance story for Girl's Love Stories #153. His first story he penciled and inked on his own was most likely a Dr. Thirteen story for Phantom Stranger, published in April, 1971, and work soon followed regularly.

He was soon given the chance to co-create a new character with writer John Albano, which eventually became Jonah Hex, one of the more enduring modern day characters in the DC Universe.

Jonah Hex / All-Star Western/ 1972

Tony then paved the way for other Filipino comics artists to enter the US industry when he convinced DC Editor in Chief Carmine Infantino and Joe Orlando to visit the Philippines in 1971. Artists like Alex Niño, Alfredo Alcala, Nestor Redondo, Fred Carrillo. Vicatan, Gerry Talaoc and so many more found a lot of work on DC's stable of Mystery and War titles as a result.

Tony went on to draw Black Orchid, X-Men, Punisher etc. Retired, Tony spends his time painting in oil, watercolor, acrylic, charcoal and entering competitions. He also does many portrait commissions and teaches portrait, drawing and a how to draw superheroes class at the Lodi Arts Commission.
Source: The Philippine Comics Art Museum

De Zuniga did most of the movie poster ads and layouts of most of FPJ movies in the 1960s. These original movie posters/ads are well preserved and can be viewed upon request at the FPJ studio/compound at Del Monte ave, Quezon City.

Visit Tony De Zuniga Site

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