50 Years Of San Diego Comic-Con: A Retrospective Of The History Of Fandom

Nerd culture is powerful. A group of a little more than a hundred teens and a few adults meet up in the basement of a hotel to discuss comic books, and, 50 years later, the event is a massive, Hollywood-courting, society-defining, fandom-creating, international powerhouse that draws in more than 130,000 fans every single year. Like the blooming of a giant … and, at times, admittedly stinky … flower, the San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) has grown well beyond the visions of its original creators. But this tumultuous change didn’t happen overnight. This infographic created by HighRises.com maps out what’s been happening in the past half-century at San Diego’s most famous event, and shows how this tiny meet-up became one of the most important places for promoting new, nerdy stories.

Comic-Con: International turned 50 this year. (And, coincidentally, so did Sesame Street!) This might boggle the minds of many non-comic-book fans, who may have only started to hear the buzz about the con in the early 2000s. Between 2000 and 2005, the attendance of the con nearly doubled. There’s been a lot of cool stuff that’s been happening relatively recently, from literally shaking the roof of Hall H in 2006 during the showing of early 300 footage to the con’s biggest year in 2015, which drew in a crowd of 167,000, to the panel that assembled the real-life actors behind The Avengers. The press and coverage has also gotten pretty extreme lately, with A-list actors going in costume only to reveal themselves in panels and events.

5 Facts About San Diego Comic-Con:


But Comic-Con had a rich history before it became this intense, powerful hype-train. In the early 90s, for instance, Hellboy was introduced as a character officially via the official SDCC comic. Back then, comic-book fans would have recognized the Toucan as the official logo, rather than the now-famous eye. And, even before then, in 1976, a little film that was doomed to flop was promoted in a tiny panel at Comic-Con to a room of a few hundred fans. It didn’t flop, and you may have heard of it. (Or maybe not … it’s a really obscure, 1970s movie. It’s called Star Wars.)

Check out the timeline and learn about just how important Comic-Con has been for pop culture in its past 50 years!

50 years of san diego comic-con infographic

This project was spearheaded by Denny Oh for HighRises.com