After its humble beginnings in the ambitious minds of its founders — who created one of the first events for geeks to hang out and talk about their passion and meet the artists they loved — the San Diego Comic-Con has established itself as the premier convention of its kind. For half a century now, it continues to celebrate the contribution of comics, films and related media to our culture. What was once just a 300 attendees gathering event, now reaches an outstanding 150,000-plus number every year, with a fast growing audience that’s eagerly waiting to come back. While you wait with them to return, we brought some interesting tidbits, so you don’t miss a thing about the beloved event!
The history behind the logo
The iconic logo that’s seen at every corner of the San Diego Convention Center wasn’t the first to represent the event. It was designed in 1995, when the event was rebranded as “Comic-Con International: San Diego” in an effort to show its growing universal appeal. Three other logos came before, with the last one even having its own mascot: a Toucan.
The current logo of the convention was designed by Richard Bruning and Josh Beatman, veterans of the comic industry who also helped to create the new DC comics logo “The DC Spin” in 2005.
The Star Wars debut
The Comic-con represents a great opportunity to show off your new franchise to the public and get your first fans, and it was especially crucial in an era where there wasn’t social media. In 1976, Charles Lippincott (Lucasfilm’s head of marketing and publicity) showcased a humble panel of a little big space adventure movie that was coming next year, with early scenes, cheap promotional art (which now sells for hundreds of dollars!) and a lot of emotion. Conventions seemed like the only places where Star Wars could get attention, and it was a really smart move. When the film finally aired in 1977, there was already a big line waiting to buy the tickets for what was the beginning of a new powerhouse in pop culture.
Jack Kirby influences
Co-creator of the most popular Marvel superheros and one of the fathers of the medium, Jack Kirby was actually one of the reasons the event came to be. Sheldon Dorf, the oldest founder of the Comic-Con, was able to befriend Kirby through a mutual acquaintance. They then brought the rest of the team to his house to present the idea and get inspiration. Back then, comic artists were far more open to the public, as there weren’t a lot of doting fans. Because of this, creators and fans easily developed connections. Jack Kirby happily received them multiple times and answered all of their questions. He was the one who came with the idea of adding other media and focusing the convention in the fandom, rather than just comics.
The rise of cosplay
It is no surprise to find the event filled with thousands of cosplayers every year. It is one of the few social settings that pushed the world of cosplay — the art of dressing up and role-playing as your favorite character — to new frontiers. Cosplay is a way of self-expression and identity, who shows appreciation for the media in a very cool way. Although some of the dresses are a bit exotic, they’re also complex and creative, and helped to boost the creativity of a new generation of youth. It’s even transforming its passion into a prosperous design career, in some cases. Conventions gave a safe place to cosplayers, and they keep showing their gratitude with their amazing creations.