Croatian illustrators Tonči Zonjić (pronouced TAWN-chih ZAWN-yitch) has been called “a master of cinematic comics”, which, I am inclined to agree with.
Zonjić was born in 1986, originally studied Math at the Natural Sciences High School, with the intentions of going into Computer Programming. Then one fateful day the wonderful word of art took hold of him. Originally Zonjić studied Graphic Design, but found it was not a good fit for him due to a desire to draw more, so after a year he switched gears and joined the Fine Arts Academy to study Animation. Though happier there, the course did not sustain him and Zonjić dropped out after two years to become a freelance illustrator.
During his time as a freelancer Zonjić worked on storyboards, advertisements, book covers, and had a weekly newspaper slot drawing portraits. He dipped his feet into comic via Darko Macan’s fanzine Q strip.
Working as a freelancer, and having the chance to grow as a comic artist through shorter strips, Zonjić became very comfortable handling all parts of the comic process from story to pencils, inks, color and letters. So when he entered the American comic world with Marvel’s The Immortal Iron Fist series by Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction, he was already exhibiting confident clear storytelling. Since then he has worked on both Marvel and DC titles, Mike Allred’s Madman, Mike Mignola’s Lobster Johnson and Ales Kot’s Zero.
2011 saw the release of his collaboration with writer Nathan Edmondson, Who Is Jake Ellis? The spy thriller, entirely drawn and coloured by Zonjić, really allows him to explore a more cinematic approach to storytelling. Using colour heavily to help differentiate scenes, reminiscent of 100 Bullets. In the follow-up, Where is Jake Ellis? Zonjić just blows it out of the water. Everything is tightened, from the design and layouts to the pacing, and showing much more confident as a colourist. With the fifth and final issue of Where is Jake Ellis? yet to be released with no annonuced release date, the complete trade paperback however, is set for release in July 2015.