The 1982 DC Comics Style Guide Is Online: A Blueprint for Superman, Batman & Your Other Favorite Superheroes

DC Style Guide 1

Even if you don’t like com­ic books, think of names like Super­man, Bat­man, and Won­der Woman, and you get a very clear men­tal pic­ture indeed. Clas­sic super­heroes live, breathe, bat­tle supervil­lians, and even die and return to life across decades upon decades of sto­ry­lines (and often more than one at once), but we all know them because, just like the most endur­ing cor­po­rate logos, they also stand as sur­pass­ing­ly effec­tive works of com­mer­cial art. But giv­en that count­less dif­fer­ent artists in var­i­ous media have had to ren­der these super­heroes over those decades, how have their images remained so utter­ly con­sis­tent?

DC Style Guide 2

That owes to doc­u­ments such as the 1982 DC Comics Style Guide, scanned and recent­ly post­ed to a Face­book group for fans of com­ic-book artist José Luis Gar­cía-López. Hav­ing spent most of his career with DC Comics, care­tak­er of Super­man, Bat­man, Won­der Woman, and many oth­er well-known and much-licensed heroes and vil­lains besides, Gar­cía-López sure­ly knows in his very bones the sort of details of cos­tume, physique, pos­ture, and bear­ing these style guides exist to con­vey.

DC Style Guide 3

Being 33 years old, this par­tic­u­lar style guide does­n’t per­fect­ly reflect the way all of DC’s super­heroes look today, what with the aes­thet­ic changes made to keep them hip year on year. But you’ll notice that, while fash­ions tend to have their way with the more minor char­ac­ters (long­time DC fans espe­cial­ly lament the head­band and big hair this style guide inflict­ed upon Super­girl), the major ones still look, on the whole, pret­ty much the same. Sure, Super­man has the strength and the flight, Bat­man has the wealth and the vast armory of high-tech crime-fight­ing tools, and Won­der Woman can do pret­ty much any­thing, but all those abil­i­ties pale in com­par­i­son to the sheer pow­er of their design. You can flip through the rest of the Style Guide here.

dc style guide 5


(via Metafil­ter)

Relat­ed Con­tent:

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Down­load 15,000+ Free Gold­en Age Comics from the Dig­i­tal Com­ic Muse­um

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Col­in Mar­shall writes on cities, lan­guage, Asia, and men’s style. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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