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R.I.P. Tony DeZuniga

We are just losing too many good ones lately. Tony DeZuniga has passed away at the age of 79, following a stroke.

Most of the obits are probably going to mention his work on Conan and on Jonah Hex, and rightfully so. He was brilliant on those books.

I always have said black-and-white was the best way to see a DeZuniga job, so that's the way I thought I'd show him depicting his two signature characters. See what I mean?

But he could do other stuff too. Horror….

Here's DeZuniga from HOUSE OF MYSTERY.


Here's DeZuniga in GIRL'S LOVE.

Even science fiction.

DeZuniga does STAR WARS, in Marvel's short-lived PIZZAZZ magazine.

However, he was always at his best doing two-fisted macho adventure. That was what I liked best, anyway, especially the non-spandex stuff. I was tickled to see Tony DeZuniga doing a new Jonah Hex graphic novel a couple of years ago and I was one of the first in line to get it the week it came out. He hadn’t lost a step in all the decades since he first drew Hex.

This is a great, great book.

Anyway. Lots of people are going to be talking about DeZuniga’s western and adventure comics, but the one that hit me right between the eyes was his Doc Savage. It was just a few weeks ago I was looking back fondly on the run of Doc Savage that DeZuniga did with Doug Moench. That’s the only time I ever felt like the character actually looked like the super-adventurer promised on the Bantam paperbacks cover copy, and that was all Tony DeZuniga… he took that James Bama painted characterization of Doc and made it move.

Lots of the Marvel guys could do action... but Tony DeZuniga's action scenes had a visceral feel like nobody else's. They looked like they HURT.

DC’s got a nice Showcase volume collecting it and I’d recommend it, if you really want to see Tony DeZuniga at his best.

He always drew women that looked like real women, too.

I only got to meet him once, at the Emerald City show in 2009.

On the left is Mr. DeZuniga holding our friend Laura's Torvald the Troll; I was too starstruck to remember to get a picture, so I'm glad Laura got this one. And on the right is the book he signed for me.

He was a little brusque at first, until he saw that I’d brought one of his Doc Savage books for him to sign. That lit him up. “That was a good format,” he said. “I don’t know why they don’t do books like that any more.”

I didn’t know either. We commiserated a little about that, and then when he found out that I was a teacher and my students had a booth, he insisted I come back and bring some of the kids’ books. His wife Tina was also very interested in hearing about the class, and we had a nice chat. They introduced me to Ernie Chan, with whom they shared a table, and both Tony and Ernie then signed a Savage Sword I’d brought that they both had work in. Later that day I found a moment to run a couple of the student ‘zines over to them, and though both Mr. DeZuniga and Mr. Chan had a line of fans and were busy sketching, Tina DeZuniga made it a point to say thank you and that she knew Tony would like them.

It’s not much of a story, at least from the outside. But I was delighted to get to meet two of the guys whose work had made my turbulent teenage years bearable and thank them for that.

Recently, we got to make those thanks tangible by contributing to the DeZuniga hospital fund. Those bills are still going to be hanging over his family, so I hope fandom doesn’t lose interest just because they lost the patient. The link to contribute is here.

As for me, knowing I got to actually say that ‘thank you,’ at least, has made me feel a little better about Tony DeZuniga’s passing.

Thanks again for all the good stuff, Mr. DeZuniga. Our condolences and best wishes to his family.


he’ll be missed dearly, hes one of the good guys…


What a pioneer and all-around nice guy. I got a chance to meet him a little more than a year ago, at a signing in Manila. I’ll always cherish the two prints he signed for me, and for the pictures I was able to take with him. R.I.P. Tito Tony.

Damn – sad news indeed. My condolences to his family and friends.
You’re lucky to have met him, Greg, and thanks for sharing the story.

Mrs. Tina de Zuniga said Tony DeZuniga’s age is 79, not 71 as news sites have reported. Mang Tony did not want to disclose his real age when he was still alive.

Man, these have been a rough couple of years for this industry. Tony DeZuniga was one of the greats and will be sorely missed. He actually inked one of my favorite books, DC’s Infinity Inc., even over McFarlane’s pencils!

I fondly remember his work in Inifinty Inc. Sad news.

He was a joy to work with and be around. Getting to work with one of my heroes will always be a highlight of my life. I will miss him each and every day.

I was really amazed by his ability to still draw great pictures at an advanced age. I met him in a con in Manila twice last year and got two sketches on the spot from him. He was really a nice guy once you get to know him. He was a fixture in the Philippine convention scene and his presence will definitely be missed.

Don’t forget that Tony DeZuniga co-created Black Orchid with Sheldon Mayer.

And, wow, I have to say, that Doc Savage page featuring Doc’s cousin Pat is absolutely beautiful.

That Girl’s Love page is particularly amazing, along with that Doc splash. Mr. DeZuniga was not a guy who faded away, he was an artisan who kept crafting.

I own that particular Doc Savage book and Greg Hatcher is right: the numerous fight scenes are well-staged and painful to look at. Tony DeZuniga will be missed.

My biggest regret was the failure of having two books signed! One is Marvel’s Thor where he first illustrated and then inked the pencils of Walter Simonson (a rookie then) and a single issue of Aquaman. He really continued drawing, conducting workshops to young aspiring artists, and probably looked forward to the comics convention in Manila, Philippines until he succumbed and confined. Gonna miss this Pinoy comic trailblazer!

I knew nothing of DeZuniga’s background, but looking at these panels it struck me they resembled the look of many Philippine artists. Wikipedia not only verified that, but added that Tony was the first, paving the way for all the talent that followed. Another thing to remember him for,

Loved Tony’s Doc Savage artwork, best wishes to his family and loved ones–he’ll be missed by everyone.

Damn, yet another of my all-time favorites gone. :(

I’m so sorry about that talented artist leaving the planet. I knew Tony and his wife when they lived in Hawaii. Heckuva nice guy! Aloha, Tony. /\

One of my childhood heroes…that copy of Doc Savage next to the great man’s image will always be a personal favourite in my 70s B/W mag collection.
An amazing talent. RIP Tony.

Man really sad news ,I was hoping as im sure hs family did that he would recover. Tony wasy always a favorite of mine. A REAL MASTER! He will always be my favorite PHILIPINO ARTIST! CONAN, Jonah Hex, THOR, DOC SAVAGE, DRACULA LIVES, and nver lost his artistic fire. RIP TONY DEZUNIGA!

And now Ernie Chan is gone also. Both greats within one week of each other.

Damn. :-(

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