Originally Posted by GM4Him
But again, just because some art shows elves looking that way, it doesn't actually mean that's how all elves are.

The very first example from the AD&D Player's Handbook (way back in the late 1970s) ->

[Linked Image from panzerleader.files.wordpress.com]

The Elf is significantly shorter and slimmer than the Human; the Elf features pointed ears and almond eyes (they're not blatant, but they are there).

Bottom line: you can point to pieces which were comparatively lazier attempts (e.g., Elves as Humans or Drow as African-Americans/standard old men) and I'll agree that they exist, but to argue that there wasn't a collective baseline representation over the years of Elves that looked properly otherworldly/sylvan is disingenuous.