jkcarrier: me, at my old office (Default)
[personal profile] jkcarrier posting in [community profile] scans_daily
If you follow the comics news sites, you've probably already heard about the untimely death of legendary artist Tony DeZuniga:


DeZuniga was probably known best as the co-creator of Jonah Hex, and for his work on Conan the Barbarian. But my personal favorite was the decidedly off-beat superheroine he created with writer Shelly Mayer: The Black Orchid.

What made the Black Orchid unique was that the stories never mentioned her true identity or origins. She was super-strong, bulletproof, and could fly, but we weren't told how. Here's a typical story from ADVENTURE COMICS #429, 1973:
(5 pages from a 15-page story)

The target, a rich scumbag named Barry DeMorte, thinks the Black Orchid saved him because she's attracted to him: "Chicks just can't resist power!" But the truth is, she wants to help the shooter, a ship's captain named Sam Hendricks. She knows why he's after DeMorte, and knows that he's not really a killer.

One foggy night, Hendricks was piloting a freighter carrying a cargo of valuable antiques. They picked up a castaway, a woman named Mala, who claimed that she jumped ship to get away from the "drunken degenerates" on a nearby yacht.

Hendricks recognized wealthy playboy Barry DeMorte before he passed out. DeMorte and Mala stole the antiques, sank the ship (with the crew still aboard), and left Hendricks alive to take the blame. The Black Orchid promises that she'll bring DeMorte to justice.

Barry DeMorte, meanwhile, is convinced that the Black Orchid is someone he knows:

While his guests are partying below decks, DeMorte prepares to attack another freighter.

The Black Orchid tears her way out of the steel net and disappears. DeMorte races back to the main salon to see if Cindy or Daphne are missing. They aren't, but Mala is. When she finally shows up, DeMorte confronts her, and she admits that she is the Black Orchid. Barry finds this a major turn-on (apparently, it's not just chicks who dig power), but before they can make any sexytimes, Mala insists that it's now his turn to prove himself. She challenges him to take out the nearby freighter single-handedly:

But when the police search DeMorte's yacht for more evidence, they find Mala tied up in her cabin, and the wig and rubber mask Black Orchid used to impersonate her. So the Orchid's true identity remained unknown (at least until Neil Gaiman got ahold of her).

Most Black Orchid stories followed a similar formula: a crook would be tricked into revealing his guilt, and then suddenly realize that someone close to him was really the Orchid in disguise, manipulating him all along. Very gimmicky, but a fun little series.

Rest in Peace, Mr. DeZuniga.

Date: 2012-05-11 08:05 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: Sad Nightwing (Sad Nightwing)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I'd heard he wasn't well, but I hadn't heard of his passing. A loss, and I loved the whole look and concept of Black Orchid and Jonah Hex too, come to that.

RIP Mr DeZuniga.

We also have a theme: in memoriam tag you might like to add.

Date: 2012-05-11 09:06 pm (UTC)
mastiff: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mastiff
How sad. I loved his work on Conan when I was a kid; he always seemed to spend a little more time on the details than some of the other regular artists.


Date: 2012-05-11 09:18 pm (UTC)
riddler13: (Default)
From: [personal profile] riddler13
Shame. Rest in peace.

On a lighter tone, jkcarrier, is that you on the 4th panel? ;)

Date: 2012-05-12 04:37 am (UTC)
lilacsigil: Jeune fille de Megare statue, B&W (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilacsigil
RIP - he was a very dynamic artist and I have a lot of respect for his mentoring of the next generation of artists.

Date: 2012-05-12 05:51 am (UTC)
kraesil: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kraesil
RIP... so many artist deaths this year :C

Date: 2012-05-12 06:06 am (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
That's a bummer--he was one of the great old-style meat-and-potatoes action cartoonists. Had no idea he'd co-created Black Orchid--I'd always assumed from the costume that it was Ditko or Neal Adams.

Date: 2012-05-12 12:45 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask
Oooooh that's good art. And I love the tone!

Do you have more?

Date: 2012-05-14 02:28 pm (UTC)
greenmask: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greenmask

Date: 2012-05-12 03:46 pm (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
Sana po'y mabuhat kayo sa kalangitan.

;_; This came up on Yahoo Philippines. Man. I remember how I found out about him--a funny little sound effect commonly found in Filipino comics that I noticed in Jonah Hex.

He was a blessing. RIP.

As for Black Orchid, the first and last I'd read of her was that Neil Gaiman piece.... I think?

Date: 2012-05-13 05:26 am (UTC)
lieut_kettch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lieut_kettch
The "BLAG!" that indicates a door being slammed, right?

R.I.P., Mang Tony.

Date: 2012-05-13 05:52 am (UTC)
blackruzsa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blackruzsa
BLAG indeed
And I think it was a sign hitting a dude at the time :)
Man. He looked like a Pinoy Stan Lee. Wish he'd lasted the same.

Date: 2012-05-14 04:44 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] philippos42
Wasn't DeZuniga the first of a wave of Pinoy artists that got work in NYC comics, including Ernie Chan?

DeZuniga was one of those artists I remember noticing and liking when I was young.


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