DC Comics Style Guide: The Holy Grail You Didn’t Know About

Among comic book collectors there are certain items that become the holy grail of collection items. It tends to vary from collector to collector, but some are almost universal, such as Detective Comics #27 or Action Comics #1, but we’re not talking about comics, we’re talking about products that were licensed. A lot of items that collectors seek out have the stock graphics that were given to manufacturers by the comic book companies. Then there are those items that have an almost mythic quality to them because they are items that were never meant for collectors.  Here’s where those items cross: The 1982 DC Comics Style Guide.

DC Comics Style GuideIn the 1980s, licencors were given a loose-leaf binder that had pages of images for various DC characters to use for making licensed merchandise featuring DC Characters. The exact number of pages that were made for this binder are unknown, but easily numbers at over one hundred. Over time, new pages would be sent out and added to the guide. Over time, the guide saw revision up to the late 2000s and eventually turned completely digital. However, individual pages go for several dollars and a binder with multiple pages will go into the hundreds of dollars. While many collectors don’t actively seek it, the sight of one will quicken one’s pulse.

The majority of the artwork was done by José Luis Garcia-Lopez, one of DC’s cornerstone artists in the 1980s. Chosen because he did what many at the time considered the best Superman, he created a unified look for all merchandisers. It was not given to artists to reference characters, so it remains unique among collectibles, since it was not intended to remain complete, constantly updated, and never sold to the general public.

Browsing through the guide, many fans will see images from their childhood, whether it be from t-shirts, lunch boxes, toys, drinking glasses, or any number of items that were officially licensed by DC in the 1980s. Featuring the art of José Luis Garcia-Lopez, it’s artistic quality is excellent, and amazingly most still remain as the standard, despite some of them being dated to the time period. Below, find some pages out of it the style guide, just click to embiggen.

dcsg035 dcsg054 dcsg060 dcsg064
 dcsg071  dcsg080  dcsg094 dcsg097
 dcsg100  dcsg105  dcsg139 dcsg171
 dcsg128  dcsg140  dcsg169 dcsg176
 dcsg205 dcsg206

Recommended Reading if you need more by or about José Luis Garcia-Lopez:

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