The history of San Diego Comic-Con dates back to 1970 with a group of comic book fans in the Golden State area looking to showcase their comic books, science fiction and fantasy related collectibles. This was the very beginning of comic book collecting, shops were obscure, fans were disconnected from another, and parents were more likely giving away their childhood collections at garage sales, than selling them for any value.
Then came the Marvel Age in the mid-1960’s, a new type of storytelling had emerged and comic books were once again popular since their downfall in the late 1940’s. New titles were being released every month, and it wasn’t long until new comic fans started organizing local conventions, drawing small crowds and placing value on vintage books.
It wouldn’t be until 1970, when Shel Dorf, a comic fan from Michigan, would move to San Diego and start running a number of successful local mini-cons with fellow collectors Richard Alf, Ken Krueger, Mike Towry, Barry Alfonso, Bob Sourk and Greg Bear, that comic book collecting would get it’s niche audience and following.
On August 1st, 1970 located in the dingy basement of the Grant Hotel in San Diego, Dorf and friends caught the break they were looking for. With the help of Jack Kirby, Ray Bradbury and A.E. van Vogt all attending the show, the San Diego Golden State Comic-Con brought in a staggering 300 attendees. Setting a trend in modern comic book fandom.
Dorf didn’t do it all on his own, founding members like Richard Alf, who helped finance and organize was considered a pioneer in the cons early success and growth. He later went on to become the chairman and broke off in the mid-1970’s to open a local San Diego comic shop.
1970 marked the first year of the San Diego Comic-Con, and for the first time comic fans and artists were brought together in a public forum like never before. Kids that only dreamed of meeting artists like Jack Kirby could now have that dream come true.
For nearly 50 years, the San Diego Comic-Con has been a part of American tradition. With it’s debut movie trailers, cosplay characters, public artists and writers, the San Diego Comic-Con has always been the forefront leader in nerd culture.
Part 2 Coming Soon