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Top 5 Facts About Comic Con

VO: Chris Masson
Script written by Briana Lawrence We think we have time to talk about some facts before we go and sit in the line for Hall H. Welcome to WatchMojo's Top 5 Facts, the series where we reveal five nerdtastic facts about an interesting topic. For this list, we'll be delving into the comic archives of San Diego Comic Con, lovingly known as SDCC. Special thanks to our users MikeMJPMUNCH and tandee82 for submitting the idea using our interactive suggestion tool at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 5 Facts About Comic-Con


We think we have time to talk about some facts before we go and sit in the line for Hall H. Welcome to WatchMojo’s Top 5 Facts, the series where we reveal five nerdtastic facts about an interesting topic.

For this list, we’ll be delving into the comic archives of San Diego Comic Con, lovingly known as SDCC. The fans, the panels, the cosplay, the Misha Collins bringing people coffee, we’ve seen the Mojo signal in the sky, so it’s time for us to don our heroic capes and serve some facts.

#5: It Started in a Basement


San Diego Comic-Con is known for being one of the biggest -- if not the biggest -- assembly of geeks , so it’s hard to believe that it was once held in a basement. In 1970, comic book artist Shel Dorf, comic book store owner Richard Alf, and publisher Ken Krueger created SDCC, or rather, “San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con” . The three day event was held in the U.S. Grant Hotel’s basement where 300 people showed up . A small, humble number that’s been steadily increasing over the years. The convention hit 1,000 attendees In 1974, 10,000 in 1989, 50,000 in 2001, and an astonishing 100,000 in 2005. Now? It fills to capacity in less than two hours.

#4: Fans Saved Comic-Con After a Break-In


Fans are the lifeblood of any event, and no convention knows that better than Comic-Con. This goes deeper than cosplayers dominating the streets of San Diego , this is about fans coming together to help the convention out of a financial crisis. In 1979, the Comic-Con treasurer’s home was broken into and $12,000 worth of receipts were stolen. This might not seem like much considering how big the convention is now, but back in the early years, that amount was make-or-break for the Con. Organizers had to appeal to fans to help pay off the debt, and like a mighty group of Crystal Gems, they saved the day . The Comic-Con class of ‘79 didn’t just dress like heroes, they were heroes.

#3: It’s About More Than Just Comics


Despite the name “Comic-Con”, the founders always wanted the event to cover all aspects of pop culture, creating an inclusive playground for all fans to enjoy . This meant going beyond comics and including television and films. SDCC’s first Hollywood panel was, big surprise, Star Wars focused Charles Lippencott, the film's marketing director, showed off slides from the film to a handful of attendees. Yeah... it took a while for such panels to gain momentum, but gain momentum they did. Thanks to the success of Bryan Singer’s, “X-Men,” film panels became a must-have at the convention, hence “Spider-Man”and “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones” being featured in 2001. Yes, there was a time where “Episode II” was a selling point.

#2: The First Comic-Con Costume Contest Was in 1974


You can’t spell SDCC without C-O-S-P-L-A-Y... that might need a spell check. Costume play is the thing to do at Comic-Con – and conventions in general, because really, whether you’re fighting crime or walking the halls for fun, who doesn’t want to be Batman? Cosplay is such an essential part of the convention experience, that it’s hard to believe that it wasn’t until the fifth year of the convention that they inaugurated Masquerade, the annual costume and make-up contest. That was in 1974. We can only imagine the pain of finding picture references for your character without the internet.

#1: Comics and Costumes are Big Business



Not only de festival passes sell out in advance, but so do all the nearby parking spots! SDCC is just that important to fans. It’s also hugely important to the city. For one, it creates jobs; The Con requires all 500 of the San Diego Convention Centre’s regular staff, plus extra security officers, shuttle drivers and more. Estimates have it bringing in somewhere between $135 million and $193 million to the area, a few million of which goes to the city itself in the form of tax revenue. For a four day event, that’s pretty spectacular. In recent years the mayors of nearby Los Angeles and Anaheim have both reportedly jockeyed to get Comic-Con to leave San Diego, but thanks to some heroic negotiations, it’ll stay in the town that gave birth to it until at least 2018.

Does anybody else feel like there’s very little difference between sports fans like these and cosplayers? I mean they’re both dressing up like the heroes they are fans of, right? For more super-powered top tens and make-or-break top fives, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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