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DC Comics' 1982 style guide is a perfect reminder of what's great about superheroes

Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

With Batman, Superman, and even Wonder Woman currently receiving the dark and grim treatment on film courtesy of Christopher Nolan and Zack Snyder, it's worth remembering that superheroes, DC's in particular, weren't always so gloom and doom. They were bright, happy, hopeful. There was a time when something being fun didn't make it uncool.

Case in point: the 1982 DC Comics style guide. Featuring the art of José Luis García-López, the style guide was a blueprint or legend for artists, as well as marketing and licensing teams, to get characters' looks and colors right:

(José Luis García-López Fans/Facebook)

But the guide also showcases García-López's talent as an artist. There's a crispness and breeziness to his illustrations. And even in triptychs like this one of Wonder Woman, he brings personality to each character:

(José Luis García-López Fans/Facebook)

Flipping through García-López's illustrations is nostalgia at its finest, like looking at these superheroes in their prime. It'll bring back memories of the first time you were introduced to Superman, the first adventure you went on with Batman, and the villains you took down with Wonder Woman. It's also a look at how different — for better or worse — the characters we know from current blockbusters have come from their shiny, happy origins.