Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The "Real" San Diego Comic-Con

I attended every San Diego Comic-Con from 1985 through 2001.

Some time in the early 1990s, the Con moved to the new San Diego Convention Center from the much smaller (and tired) Golden Hall. In connection with that move, it re-named itself "Comic-Con International San Diego" and broadened its emphasis to include television shows, movies and other media. Attendance more than doubled the first year after those changes were made, and continued to grow rapidly in subsequent years.

But in the 1980s, it was a much smaller affair, more focussed on cardboard boxes of old comic books than on Hollywood celebrities and upcoming summer blockbusters like it is now. The Con only broke the 10,000 attendance barrier at the very end of the 80s. By comparison, it's total attendance now exceeds 125,000, and sells out entirely months in advance.

Could you picture Angelina Jolie, who attended the Con in 2003 to promote one of her "Tomb Raider" movies, walking through the San Diego Comic-Con in 1982 pictured above? Or participating in the "women in comics" panel held that year also pictured above? (Photos by Alan Light.)

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