On March 21, 1970 several San Diego residents whose professional activity was somehow linked to comic books or publishing business organized a one-day comic convention to see if someone would be interested in such an event. The mastermind behind the Golden State Comic-Minicon (that’s how they named the convention) was Shel Dorf, a comic book enthusiast and freelance artist. The event drew about 150 people. The first three-day comics convention in San Diego, the Golden State Comic Con, was held from August 1–3, 1970. It was attended by 300 people.
Over the decades, San Diego Comic-Con International has become one of the largest and most popular entertainment and comic conventions in the world. For instance, in 2015 it drew 167,000 attendees. The convention takes place every year in July or August. It lasts four days, Thursday through Sunday.
Originally the convention showcased primarily comic books and science fiction/fantasy related film and television. However, SDCC has since included a larger range of popular culture elements across virtually all genres imaginable, including animation, anime (Japanese animation), manga, webcomics, collectible card games, toys, video games, horror, and fantasy novels.
The programming of the convention comprises an impressive array of events including panels, seminars, workshops, screenings, exclusive sneak-peeks at upcoming blockbusters, presentations held by comics publishing companies and video game publishers, cosplay contests, award ceremonies and many more.
During the first few years, San Diego Comic Con was held in various hotels across San Diego. From 1979 to 1991 it took place at the Convention and Performing Arts Center. Since 1992, the convention has been hosted at the San Diego Convention Center. There are at least 17 separate rooms in the facility used for panels and screenings, ranging from 280 seats to 6,100 seats. The two biggest are Ballroom 20 (4,900 seats) and Hall H (6,100 seats). Other venues (mainly neighboring hotels) also host some events due to crowding issues.
Photo: Chris Pizzello/AP