Yet, what is it about this event that makes it a wildly popular destination every year? What causes people to flock to Southern California in the heat of July?
It began in 1970 when Comic-Con was created to be an event where “nerds” could gather and share their love for all things comics. One hundred attendees came to the first event as comic books were exchanged and sold, conversations were held about characters and other nuances, and people could just be themselves with other like-minded peers. The purpose of the first event was to raise funds and generate interest for an even bigger convention dreamed of down the road.
From there, the event exploded and Comic-Con has since grown to host thousands of people every year. Its growth was so large that it outgrew the San Diego Convention Center and spilled out into the downtown streets. The convention still holds to the initial nerdy spirit, but now on a much larger scale.
“The convention is an outlet to inspire creativity and energize others while also being able to appreciate other’s work,” said mural artist Alexander Ditimus.
Fans flock into town in hopes of spotting their favorite actors, to see the announcements for television shows and movies, and be the first to experience new comics. The Exhibit Hall, infamous Hall H, and more, all call to those who share a passion for the world of comics and pop culture. It also creates a community in which people who love comics can gather without a care in the world.
One individual, known only as Mr. Esplanade from the Bay Area, said he comes for the comics, the artists, and creators.
One of the biggest appeals to people is the cosplay community that has sprung up around the convention. Dazzling and intricate cosplays can be seen throughout the convention. For those who cosplay, it is a vacation allowing them to participate in something they love to do — both those who do it as a hobby, and the professionals.
“It’s so much fun to cosplay. You get to see people dressed like you and those who take pictures of you make you feel like you’re a celebrity,” said Erin Peterson. She was dressed as Wonder Woman, one of the most popular cosplays at this year’s convention.
Brook from Los Angeles was another cosplayer on the showroom floor. Dressed as the character McCree from the “Overwatch” video game, she said conventions like this one have brought her many new friends. Although she has participated in many other events, San Diego’s Comic-Con is “the one” she’s been dying to attend, she said.
“You can be unabashedly passionate about nerdy things here,” said Brook. “That’s what makes it fun to be here, you are surrounded by like-minded people.”
Many say they all come with an eagerness to see the new comics, movies, television shows, and all things nerd and geek; and there is something for everyone that allows the world outside to fade away for just a minute as the focus turns to people’s fantasies.