San Diego Comic-Con: Geektopia Just Over a Month AwayJune 7, 2015
It’s hard to believe that San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC), which now draws more than 130,000 guests annually, had truly humble beginnings. It began as San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con (it didn’t become San Diego Comic-Con until 1973) and that first multi-weekend convention drew about 300.
Those organizers must have been thrilled with 300 for their inaugural convention, and why wouldn’t they? It’s a fantastic number, especially for the 70’s where comics and pop-culture were not nearly as mainstream as they are now.
It’s impossible that they ever conceived what their convention would become.
SDCC is now a destination for geeks of all flavours: movie and tv nerds, cosplay masters, anime lovers, and more. Celebrities are even known to stalk the dealer halls in costume so they can take part in the show, basking in the atmosphere anonymously.
In fact, in one famous example, Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad walked the stalls in a Heisenberg mask, revealing himself to be…himself…only at the show’s panel.
[Image via duckduckgrayduck]
Marketing companies pour hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars into their displays both inside and outside the convention centre in an attempt to raise awareness for their show/book/event/anything.
Con attendees inject millions into San Diego’s economy eating, sleeping, drinking, buying, and waiting in lines.
Comic-Con International: San Diego (as it’s more formally known) has become a powerhouse.
There are other cons, certainly. SDCC isn’t alone.
New York Comic-Con is attended by more people than SDCC because the latter’s attendance is capped, limited by the size of its convention centre (which is apparently getting a massive upgrade in the near future.)
Fan Expo in Toronto is growing quickly as well, and is far and away the biggest convention in Canada.
But it was San Diego Comic-Con that arguably popularized the blending of pop-culture fandom into one super massive convention. It may not be the biggest convention anymore but it still holds a certain…something…for those people lucky enough to go.
There’s an allure to it; a certain ring it has that just isn’t shared when speaking about other conventions. Though it’s not the biggest anymore (for the time being) it may be the most well known.
I managed to get a ticket this year. It’ll be my second visit in a row, but my first time solo.
It’ll be a new way to see the con and I’m equal parts nervous and excited.
For now it’s worth reflecting on San Diego Comic-Con’s past and its exciting future; with a nod of thanks to to the late Shel Dorf, Ken Krueger, and Richard Alf who started it all back in 1970.