The History of Comic-Con

Celebrating arts, aesthetics and Fantasies!

It was 1970 when for the first time some comic book fans organised a convention in the Grant Hotel of San Diego, California. Well, it wasn’t the start although! Since the mid-60s the comic book convention or meetings were started in the US. Shelf Dorf, a Detroit-born comic fan with other local enthusiasts had already started Detroit Triple Fan Fairs in 1965. But when shifted to California, he planned to do something bigger. 


How it all started!

Dorf, along with others like Ken Krueger, and Richard Alf organised a one-day convention cum meet, named as Golden State Comic Book Convention at San Diego on the 21st March of 1970. There were around 100 people on that day, which was a disappointment for the organisers who thought it would make at least 500 attending the programme. Two comic writers Forest J. Ackerman and Mike Royer attended the first convention of 1970. 


But a bad start doesn’t necessarily bring misfortune if you are an enthusiast! Just in a few months, the organisers, for the second time, launched another three-day long Comic-Con festive in the August of 1970, using the funds that they acquired from the first convention. This had drawn a better impact with 300 attendees and brought some famous artists like Ray Bradbury and Jack Kirby. 


Enter Richard Alf: In the 1970s

Richard Alf, the co-chairman for the first two meets of 1970 and chairman from the 1971 meets has great credit for organising and expanding the convention by developing strong bonding and networks with other cultural organisations like Society for Creative Anachronism and the Mythopoeic Society. Krueger made the organisation successful to be run as a non-profit organisation.  


Location of comic-con: Brief history

There had been several places other than the Grant Hotel, like golden Hall, El Cortez Hotel and the University of California, where the early days of conventions took place, before moving to the San Diego Convention Centre, permanently in 1991. The fest’s growing popularity gained much attention from the intellectual community that BobSchreck once recalled his first-time visit to the show as ‘I was blown away! 


San Diego Comic-Con

In the year 1973, the event was recognised with its official name as San Diego Comic-Con, which was changed to Comic-Con International: San Diego in 1995, as it gained international acceptance.  It is now almost impossible to believe that this convention was started with only 100 attendees when you see not only the comic authors but the intellectuals from varying genres attend the convention which comprised lakhs of people all around the globe. 

Debapriya Chakraborty

Author is an aspiring creative writer, food-buff and bookworm. Loves to travel, bunks in lesser known bnbs and loves her chai more than anything else. She adds her two cents to every idea and has been a scriber for more than a decade now!
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