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Parting Shot: Happy 65th Birthday, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez

José Luis García-López turns 65 today. The celebrated artist has worked in the comic industry for more than 40 years, most prominently with DC Comics. Born in Spain in 1948, García-López’s earliest work in the United States was for Charlton Comics. He eventually moved to New York, where he met then DC Editor Joe Orlando. His significant contributions to the visual style of several iconic DC characters, as well as his influence on artists who would follow him, is undeniable. As such, 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.

While this new collection is certainly welcome, and should be considered an essential part of any Superman fan’s collection, it’s possible that García-López’s greatest contribution to DC was the DC Comics Style Guide, a virtual master class in how to portray DC Comics’ iconic characters.First released in 1982, the style guide taught many up-and-coming artists, and even some of García-López’s contemporaries, how to properly illustrate the major characters in the publisher’s canon. The book’s effect on the entire company — from the look of its comics to the production of its merchandise — cannot be overstated, and you could make a legitimate argument that its effects were still felt in some capacity up until the New 52.

García-López’s kinetic, effortlessly fluid style still make him the envy of many, and while the advent of DC’s New 52 initiative means much of what he produced is no longer in explicit use, it nonetheless remains essential viewing for any fan of the DC Universe, or superhero comics in general.

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