Three hundred comic book enthusiasts attended Comic-Con's first event held at the U.S. Grant hotel in 1970. Organizers soon discovered that working with groups like the Society for Creative Anachronism and the Mythopoeic Society broadened its fan base and attracted a lot of new talent to their event. For the last several years, the gathering at the San Diego Convention Center has been at full capacity with 130,000 participants. The economic impact on San Diego is $180 million.
In the beginning, Comic-Con showcased primarily comic books and science fiction related items but soon expanded to include a wide range of pop culture including animation, anime, collectible memorabilia, video games, web comics, and fantasy merchandise.
|Tony Stark makes an appearance at Comic-Con.|
Comic-Con began awarding their Inkpot Award in 1974 to persons of interest in the Popular Arts industry. In 1988, organizers established the Will Eisner Award--named after the pioneering comic book writer and artist. Winners comprise the comic industry's Hall of Fame. Comic-Con has a large ballroom for exhibitors and an Artists' Alley for autographs and photo-ops from artists, writers, and celebrities.
The San Diego gathering is the Mecca of Geekdom. This year, their king--Conan O'Brien--will host a week of shows from San Diego's historic Spreckles Theatre. Rather than beginning the week with Monday and Tuesday night shows, Conan's week will begin Wednesday night and run through Saturday. Episodes will air on TBS at 11:00 PM nationwide and across their mobile and digital platforms the following day.
Comic-Con is suffering from its own success and has outgrown the present San Diego Convention Center facility. Because of overcrowding, organizers have capped attendance since 2007. In October 2013, the San Diego Coastal Commission approved a $520 million expansion to add another 225,000 square feet to the facility.
A new 80,000 square foot ballroom is planned, and a second tower will be added to the Hilton Bayfront Hotel adjacent to the convention center increasing its capacity by 500 rooms. Comic-Con is expected to remain in San Diego for many years to come.
Comic-Con 2015 is already sold out, so begin planning for 2016. Information about obtaining an authorized Member I.D. number and purchasing tickets for next year's event can be found at this link: http://www.comic-con.org/cci/purchase-badges