The man who pretty much defined the look of DC superheroes in the 1980’s is 65 years old today.  Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez has worked in the comic industry for more than 40 years, and he’s still going strong.

Born in Pontevedra of Galicia in Spain in 1948, García-López emigrated to Buenos Aires, Argentina with his family when he was five years-old where he discovered comics becoming a fan of newspaper comic strips such as Flash Gordon, Tarzan, Prince Valiant, and Terry and the Pirates as well as became enamored with the art of José Luis Salinas, Alberto Breccia, and Joe Kubert.

He started art school at age ten (!!) and worked profesionally at around age fourteen for small publishers using a self-taught style before refining his skill at age sixteen with a more professional art school while continuing to work for local publishers. By his late teens, he was working for Charlton Comics – that began his work in the United States.  He eventually moved to New York, where he met then DC Editor Joe Orlando. To celebrate the profound influence he has had on the visual style of DC’s iconic characters, next month DC Comics is releasing Adventures of Superman: José Luis García-López, a new collection of the legendary artist’s work on the Man of Steel, the character he is perhaps most closely tied to.

The stories in the collection are all, of course, reprints. Most serious collectors already have these books in their original form.  Still, there is so much great art in this new paperback trade book that you should really think about picking up a copy of it anyway.   You could make a great case, though, for saying that García-López’s greatest contribution to DC was the DC Comics Style Guide. First released in 1982, it was a virtual master class in how to portray DC Comics’ iconic characters.

Presented here is a small gallery of images from this book, including a handy Pantone chart if you’re an artist and you want to get the exact colors he used.

Happy birthday, José.  We’re so glad you’re a part of the world we live in.

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